The Devil Wears Prada

ZII EP

Written by: MAK on 31/05/2021 23:57:35

Ten years on from the release of “Zombie EP”, one of the highest praised EP’s in the world of metalcore, Ohio based Christian metalcore crew The Devil Wears Prada has unleashed the unexpected, but highly requested sequel. As a direct follow up to 2019’s “The Act”, the band consider this as a tribute to a fan favourite, while also leaning on the characteristics of modern heavy music.

What made the “Zombie EP” so favourable was how different it was for that time, a theatrically theme metalcore EP that delivered angst and intensity while listening to it, with samples of news reports, suggesting various stages of what might have happened during a zombie takeover. At the same time musically it had pure catchy elements to hook in those that love some melody, it was a masterpiece concept piece that is yet to be mimicked. Interestingly “ZII” doesn’t have any of that. This is very much its own EP, not a zombie, a whole different monster completely.

There are some similarities. “Nightfall” for one opens things with pure tenacity, force double pedals, beastly deep riffs and Mike Hranica’s notable harsh vocals that sound as monstrous as ever. It’s an all-out onslaught for the first minute or so. Then we are treated to soothing, atmospherics and melodic cleans that add a gloomy tone to the track before an arrow of big booming breakdowns. The outro pricks your ears the most with a heavy as hell bang worthy passage and chanty shouting vocals primed for crowd reaction. Right away I can feel a live favourite on our hands based on the heaviness alone.

“Forlorn” follows up with even harder hitting, djenty style erratic riffs and some more chaotic breakdowns thrown in, balanced out by more of the atmospheric cleans. There feels like a strong Architects feel to this, a trait that seems to have started on previous release “The Act” and carried over to this EP. “Termination” comes in as one of the most balanced songs on the release, featuring some of the heaviest elements. The grooves are so deeply tuned and Hranica sounds incredibly ferocious, yet the vocal to and fro between him and Jeremy DePoyster pays off even better with his big epic singalongs.

“Nora” is perhaps my favourite track of the release, it’s an all-out banger, relentless riffs and double pedals, for the most part, designed to get the circle pits moving even with the subtle atmospheric elements. There are slight traces of the TDWP of old with synth melodies seeping through the dominant riff work, and grooves that just make you want to nod your head. “Contagion” then closes trying to give us the same theatrical feeling from the original EP with soft piano clinks before yet more incredibly deep chugging hooks assault the ears. The clean segments add epic value and enhance the heavier elements. It’s undoubtedly up there as some of the band’s harder-hitting material, but I was expected something a bit more chilling to cap things off.

I have very mixed feelings about “ZII” as a whole. The EP ticks a lot of boxes in terms of heaviness and melody and it works well in the world of modern metalcore. There are some incredible riffs and that’s probably the strong point of the release. However, being a sequel to one of my favourite EP’s, it lacks so much about what made me love that EP to the point I’m more disappointed about what this lacks more than impressed about what it contains. I can deal with no samples, but even musically the originally contained more theatrical synths and contained a pure sense of dread, it told a story like a proper concept piece. This just sounds like a selection of fair decent heavy tracks put together, and even those don’t quite match up to Zombie tracks individually. I did also find that the softer elements took away a lot of energy that the hard segments built, to the point i found myself getting bored in places. I understand this seems to be a trait in modern metalcore, especially with bands like Architects. But for this release I found this was the biggest downfall when ignoring any comparisons to previous TDWP work.

6

Download: Nightfall, Nora, Forlorn
For the fans of: Architects, The Plot In You, Blessthefall
Listen: Facebook

Release date 21.05.2021
Solid State Records

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