The Devil Wears Prada – 8:18
Describe 8:18 in one word? Creepy. Wonderfully, wonderfully creepy metalcore. From eerie guitar scales and discordant beatdowns to ambient white-noise and haunting church bells, this is an edge-of-your seat experience that cements Prada’s place among the kings of the genre and more than justifies their new Roadrunner partnership.
With a production team consisting of Killswitch Engage’s Adam D and Matt Goldman (Underoath, The Chariot) it’s hard to go wrong. While perhaps still not as raucously destructive as 2010’s Zombie EP, the chunky guitar tones on 8:18 give a much more realistic representation of the band’s sound than the Sturgis-ised With Roots Above… ever did. This is the band’s first record without founding keyboardist James Baney, so while there’s still synth aplenty, those with a fine-tuned ear might hear some new sounds in there.
Check out “Gloom” for its surging electronics, or the intro of “Black And Blue” to see what we mean. Vocally, this might be Prada’s finest work yet. One welcome change is that the trademark soaring cleans of guitarist Jeremy Depoyster are much more sensibly and realistically pitched this time around, meaning when you see these tracks performed live, you should expect to hear all notes hit with precision. The infectious chorus of “Sailor’s Prayer” won’t be leaving your head without a fight.
The fast-paced “Home For Grave” is another definite album standout for this reviewer. For perhaps the first time ever, the lyrics spat by Mike Hranica can be clearly understood, allowing listeners to hear their full poetic potential without having to consult the lyric booklet. Hranica’s fetish for the cryptic generates gems that might cause even your English teacher to pause for thought, such as “Promise the lake/Don’t try, don’t be/Exist just like me/Promise shame”.
Where the subject matter on 2011’s Dead Throne was largely directed outward in a preach of anti-idolatry, 8:18 is a darkly introspective and enthralling journey of misery and woe, made all the more impactful by a new level of raw, throat-breaking vocal intensity. There’s a lot to be said for beauty in imperfection. A thrillingly disconcerting listen.
The Essential Track: “Home For Grave” A potent chorus and an ending that will chill to the core.