For Fans Of
With 2015 marking a decade in the history of The Devil Wears Prada, one could confidently say that the band has well and truly grasped the essentials of metalcore. It makes sense, therefore, that with their latest offering, ‘Space’, the group aims to push the tight boundaries that both surround and oppress fellow peers in the genre. Supported by a vision aiming for the stars and beyond, the (now) veterans provide their first taste of new material since 2013’s vicious long play ‘8:18’.
It comes as slightly underwhelming though when this assertive takeoff is not achieved on EP opener ‘Planet A’. A tale detailing the adventures of a character known as ‘Elizabeth’, the song begins with a soaring breakdown, before all too abruptly dropping off the pace, stalling the momentum of the intro. It is clear however, that frontman Mike Hranica has lost none of his sincere aggression. The chorus showcases his talent at mixing harsh vocals with touches of melody, with the lines, “Elizabeth had a dream, maybe like you, maybe like me” drawing the listener up into this intended atmosphere together with the band. Although, this is as far as the song goes, with momentum never really exceeding momentary points of interest.
All this changes with second cut ‘Aliens’. Right from the song’s introduction fans are reminded why TDWP are considered one of the heaviest contemporary metalcore bands. Drummer Daniel Williams showcases his talent for the double kick, providing furiously paced machine gun rhythms to accompany an aggressive, thrashy back drop. This same kind of aggression is found in ‘Supernova’. A catchy, southern guitar riff is established before the song explodes into a chorus that allows clean vocalist Jeremy DePoyster to offer some vintage TDWP melody. The busy guitar work beneath the chorus highlights the different shades contained within the band, with the song continuously moving between the dark but poppy melodies of the chorus, and the deafening trademark breakdowns that have characterised the band.
Despite the promise shown with both ‘Alien’ and ‘Supernova’, there remains an undercurrent of dryness. ‘Moongod’ takes nearly a minute to kick in with its groove, and never really gets going. DePoyster attempts to lift things in the chorus with the lines, “Watch from anywhere, listen without regard.” Despite the driving rhythms that accompany the aforementioned lines, it lacks the passion found on earlier outings. This is particularly evident in the breakdown, which seems inserted purely for convenience sake, and the lazy outro screams offered by Hranica to close out the track. EP closer ‘Asteroid’ has things end on a positive note however, with its enjoyable but generic first half giving way to a spacey vocal break, lined with beautiful harmonies. The song then slowly builds to a climactic fanfare that finally sees the EP achieve this ascension, with Hranica‘s screams spiralling around DePoyster‘s vocals, which results in a chaotic yet epic finish.
At the end of the day, one can take a lot of positives from ‘Space.’ However, after five studio albums, two EPs and a career spanning a decade, the stocks might be starting to run dry.
‘Space’ has some excellent moments, particularity on ‘Alien’. The EP will satisfy TDWP faithful for a significant time, but not long enough to make this unquestionably flawless . Hopefully they are just cleaning out the cobwebs before album number six.