Review Summary: Exploring the cosmic realms in which one band's sound can travel.
I have been a die hard fan of The Devil Wears Prada for years. From those first awestruck moments playing Plagues half a dozen times a day, through all their experimentation thereafter to 8:18, I thought it couldn’t get any better. I wondered how, not just with a new release, but a new EP, the band could reinforce everything they’ve lived up to be. I even tried avoiding the singles in prelude to the Space EP, and honestly, I was gradually becoming… scared. Scared that after the Zombie EP (which is one of my top ten favorite EPs of all time), this new EP would make or break my choice of least favorite release by the band. Everyone as immersed in a band’s discography as I can be will know the harrowing (or sometimes relieving) feeling. I didn’t want this to be the “day” of that decision.
But I’m done grovelling or wallowing in nostalgic memories of delicious music now. Heck, I may just be over-exaggerating. The Space EP: Six songs (one interlude track, though, so essentially the same amount as Zombie), 18 minutes of music. Here’s what we’re up against.
From the first opening minute of “Planet A,” I recalled the unique production value that made Zombie and 8:18 so fun to listen to. The concept in this first song alone dug deep alongside its counterparts, and to little surprise kept that metaphorical and intrinsic lyricism flowing throughout the entire record.
The riffing, which is reminiscent of 8:18, shines with its own quality, in which I had to totally discard the comparison. I feel this because (and many might dispute this) the ambient guitar work on “Asteroid” or the sparkling effect that lead from “Planet A” seems more like true “space-metal” than what most modern djent/progressive metal bands have been aiming at lately, at least in terms of atmosphere and lyricism. The craftiness of the lyricism and The Devil Wears Prada‘s driven desire to mesh together new intricacies with a reminiscent sound ended up killing my over-exaggeration prior to delving into the record.
Mike Hranica, supplying his own clean vocals here and there, along with his standout desperate screaming, almost made him sound like an alien (coincidence? I think not), but in a good way. Jeremy DePoyster‘s clean vocals have progressed over time to the point where I never thought they could keep maturing. These two together have made for some of the best contrasts in vocals in modern metalcore while contemplating the disastrous nature of, for instance, The Zombie and Space EPs.
By the time the Space EP was finished, there was only one thing I asked of it: Why couldn’t they have made an entire album? (I asked this same question for the Zombie EP too.) This is just my selfishness as a fan speaking, because all in all, I absolutely love the Space EP in its entirety and wholly respect the band’s decision in exploring and furthering their sound, even with a short release. Their production value since Plagues has continued to grow and I believe most have been enthralled by their progression. To say the least, I’m left wanting more, as is the dilemma with phenomenal EPs. Albeit many might be antsy about the Space EP sounding too similar to 8:18, I also believe a vast majority of the band’s fan base will rejoice in the devotion to experimentation and connection to their rest of the The Devil Wears Prada‘s diverse discography.
So, in actuality, my final question (possibly with more or less fear, who knows at this point), is this: