Review Summary: Zombie EP is exactly what TDWP needed to get back on the right track.
The Devil Wears Prada has all the makings of a generic metalcore band. The screams on top of clean vocals, the “chuga chuga” breakdowns, total lack of any technical guitar playing, ridiculous and immature song titles, etc. The band already has a terrible reputation amongst the respectable music community due to the fact that a majority of their fans are preteen scene kids who think that all of their music is a masterpiece. Ever since TDWP’s debut self titled LP, they’ve not done much to exclude themselves from the “generic metalcore” stereotype. The first time I saw any news regarding a new album from TDWP, I immediately thought that it would be no different then anything else they’ve ever put out. Whether it be the slightly above average Plagues
or the slightly below average With Roots Above and Branches Below
, I thought Zombie
would be the same boring music that they’ve always put out. I literally laughed out loud at the thought of them doing a concept album about a zombie apocalypse, and I didn’t think they would be able to pull off something so… different.
As I clicked the play button to the opening track, “Escape” I was getting ready for the usual cringe-worthy screams and synths, but what I heard when the musical part kicked in was shockingly decent. The entire EP showcases something that this band has never shown they had any capability of showing with previous works, musical creativity. It flows brilliantly with perfectly placed clean vocals, ear shattering breakdowns, and special effects (skits, chainsaws, car alarms, etc.) that compliment the music making the entire thing extremely fun to listen to. The songs all transition into each other very well making the album seem whole. The special effects (soundbits, alarms) give the whole album a very eerie feel, and make it sound as if it would fit perfectly on the Dawn of the Dead soundtrack. For example, the song “Outnumbered” begins with soundbits of a Public Service Announcement stating the virus was spreading rapidly and how it was unavoidable, giving the album yet another fun, eerie touch.
From a musical standpoint, this is nothing amazing. There isn’t much technical work from the guitars, but it’s very fitting and complimentary towards the theme and structure of the album. The drumming is superb, and the breakdowns are some of the best I’ve ever heard from any band, especially the fast paced car alarm breakdown towards the end of “Escape.” The clean vocals have always been something I’ve liked about TDWP. Jeremy DePoyster’s high pitched vocals have always saved some of the cringe worthy screams produced by Mike Hranica, and DePoyster’s better on this album than he has been on recent works. For those who (like me) have always considered Hranica as an annoying screamer, this album may change some opinions. His screams have gotten miles better than they have been, and on this album there is a lot more low growling instead of the high-pitched scream he is more commonly associated with.
The Best Song
– This is the perfect representative song of this EP. Like I said before, it beings with an eerie Public Service Announcement regarding the virus spreading around the world, and from there the song escalates into a viciously heavy song about how to deal with the infection. The chorus is a vocal duo of Hranica’s high screams on top of DePoysters clean vocals, and it is very well orchestrated. The breakdown after the second chorus is one of the bands best, and it’s enough to bypass any other song from any other record they’ve ever made in terms of musical creativity and song structure.
The Bottom Line
This EP is the sound of a band pulling themselves away from the “generic” label and turning into a band that has a lot of future potential. This album is fast, it’s ridiculously heavy, it’s fun, and honestly… I could fight some fu
cking zombies while listening to it.
PROS- Massive vocal improvement, all the fun stuff (car alarms, chainsaws, skits), the ridiculously heavy breakdowns, and creativity that they’ve never shown in past works.
CONS- The sometimes annoying high screams from Hranica, there are some unnecessary parts to some of the songs (notably “Survior”). This should’ve been a full LP, and I have no idea why they didn’t make it longer. It could have been better as a full release.