Having embodied many late 00s metalcore cliches with silly song titles, a synth player and separate clean and screaming vocalists, The Devil Wears Prada were dismissed fairly early on by many metal fans. Particularly here in the UK where their touring was more sparse. As a result, the solid run of form the band have been on since 2011’s ‘Zombie’ EP has rarely been given the notoriety it deserves. Now a decade into their career, the band are back with what could be their bleakest sounding record to date.
While its immediate predecessor the ‘Space’ EP was more fantastical in its exploration of a concept, ‘Transit Blues’ explores themes of road weariness, loss and separation through its eleven tracks in a far more personal manner. This is of course a path well trodden, but the musical canvas on which it sits makes for a far more engaging experience than one might expect. This is no more apparent than on blistering first single ‘Daughter’, a continuation of the darkness explored on their most recent LP ‘8:18’, while Mike Hranica’s shrieking “I never loved her” refrain is both memorable and chilling.
What makes The Devil Wears Prada stand apart from their contemporaries on ‘Transit Blues’ is the way in which they manage to eschew the dull and predictable heavy verse into pretty chorus formula. Hranica’s vocal range is utilised to great effect, from full on paint stripping fury to a ragged spoken word reminiscent of La Dispute; the emotional rawness of which is only bolstered by Jeremy DePoyster’s melodic vocals. Although fairly unremarkable on their own merit, their deliberate sparseness makes tracks like ‘Submersion’ and album highlight ’The Condition’ all the more memorable.
On this release, The Devil Wears Prada do what few of their peers have managed to achieve by successfully expanding their sound without compromising on heaviness, and while it is unlikely to expand the band’s fanbase a great deal, ‘Transit Blues’ is both effective and affecting in its delivery.
‘Transit Blues’ by The Devil Wears Prada is released on October 7th on Rise Records.
Words by Josh Graham (@jollyboyjosh)