October 9, 2019 The Devil Wears Prada – The Act (Album Review)
Since the 2006 release of Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord, Ohio-based Metal band The Devil Wears Prada, named for the book of the same name, have hit hard with the release of six studio albums and many more EPs. Now The Devil Wears Prada is onto big things with the release of their newest album, The Act, on Friday, October 11th through Solid State Records.
With a current lineup of Mike Hranica on lead vocals, Jeremy DePoyster and Kyle Sipress on guitar, Andy Trick on bass, Giuseppe Capolupo behind the drum kit, and Jonathan Gering on keyboards, the sextet are hitting harder than ever. Their seventh overall studio album, and first since 2016’s Transit Blues, The Act is a strange exploration which auditorily resembles all of the parts that comprise it and yet none at all. To the ears of some it may feel incoherent with its eccentric vocal varieties and explosive drumming, while other ears may identify a special eloquence and wicked genius in the details.
Complete with 12 tracks, The Act opens with riffs in “Switchblade” that pulse and swirl like the noises of a whale as distorted synth lays over the entirety of the track in a heavy veil. The breakdown is unnerving but withholds an inert appeal from a rhythmic standpoint. Meanwhile, “Lines of Your Hands” enters with buzzing guitars overlaying spirited, slamming drums. The track raises and crashes with a vivid ambience, including a gorgeous melodic respite, and the appearance of female vocals – performed by a band friend, Sierra – are insatiably charming with her wispy tone only serving to add to the track.
The next song, “Chemicals,” is a gentle, airy track with backing vocals that swirl and drums that pop and thump alongside stirring guitar work. It comes together with many pieces that layer and snap together with the easily surmised lyric “It’s only chemical.“ Following up, “Wave of Youth” tears through with an off-kilter guitar riff and a frenetic mood. There is a hollow taste to the surrendering vocals with lyrics like “It’s my fault, there’s nothing left to give, you have it all.“
The Act breaches a new heaviness with “The Thread” as it lords over existence with its gravelly, bellowing bass and guitar. The triad is complete with the inhuman shrieks reminiscent of songs like “Escape,” off their 2010 Zombie EP, and withering synth effects. The album takes a slower resolve with “Numb,” initially approaching with echoing melodic work and delicate piano keys. The vocals are stripped and open before everything strikes back with a vengeance. The staccato rhythm in the chorus is brief but hardly ineffective in hand with the vexing shrieks of Hranica.
Furthermore, the singing provided by DePoyster is lucid and tangibly complete, while the heavily off-key portions are often released by Hranica, followed by strained, half-raspy vocals that are a striking contrast on the riveting album. The angstful, troubling moods presented exist as they always have for The Devil Wears Prada, despite the instrumental taking an eclectic and savage route, differing from the brutality of previous works. In this, the band embraces a grittier overall resonance and a more enterprising instrumental composition with The Act, continuing an evolution that began with the aforementioned Transit Blues.
Thus, The Act can be an acquired taste as it plays with aspects of lighter Alt Rock, Contemporary Pop and R&B, and newer aspects of Metalcore and Deathcore. For this, Cryptic Rock give The Devil Wears Prada’s latest efforts 4 out of 5 stars.