The Devil Wears Prada – ZII (EP Review)

The forced downtime of the past year has given rise to many a passion project throughout the music industry, and The Devil Wears Prada are the latest band to revisit their past while providing a mirror into their future. Returning to the conceptual storytelling behind their much-loved Zombie EP, the band revisits the apocalypse with the pulverizing ZII EP. Solid State Records delivered the collection on May 21, 2021.

It was all the way back in August 2010 that the band dropped the original Zombie EP, though to this day it continues to be a beloved portion of their catalog. In a press statement, the band noted, There’s no question that the Zombie EP is a fan favorite and a record that really set the pace for us as a heavier band. Using the concept as a springboard, they set a goal to pay tribute to ZI while honing in on the characteristics that we enjoy about heavy music today and the directions we want to see it heading.

The result sees The Devil Wears Prada—Vocalist Mike Hranica, Guitarist/Vocalist Jeremy DePoyster, Guitarist Kyle Sipress, Bassist Mason Nagy, Drummer Giuseppe Capolupo, and Keyboardist Jonathan Gering—trampling over the constructs of genre and formula, all while brutally defying expectations. Which comes as a special surprise considering the sextet, who delivered their seventh full-length, The Act, in 2019, only recently had their first song break onto radio (“Chemical”).

Thankfully all assumptions that the group intends to soften their bite are murdered in cold blood with the very first notes of the ferocious ZII EP. Its 5-song campaign of hopelessness begins with the sinister crush of “Nightfall,” as Hranica challenges us to survive until dawn in his nightmarish world of horrors. And though this scenario is fictitious, there are clear parallels between our present pandemic and the outbreak at the center of their concept. This is especially evident in the slamming “Forlorn,” a look at humanity’s mismanagement of the gravity of its situation. Juxtaposing death howls and deep, Djent-flavored bass with hauntingly melodic laments, it hints at a more emotional response to the dire circumstance.

This affecting quality is echoed in the final transmission of “Termination,” as well as in the character study that is “Nora.” Then as we, much like Nora herself, flee the killers, we find ourselves at an end that is merely a new beginning. Here, piano weaves into the clean vocals of “Contagion,” but don’t be fooled into believing that this is some weepy ballad. Once again toying with our assumptions, The Devil Wears Prada delivers a finale that is a two-fold promise: boundless suffering for Nora and her world as well as an exceptionally diverse future for these talented musicians.

It’s definitely hard to revisit a muse that sparked your creativity over a decade ago, though with the ZII EP the sextet builds on what they unleashed in the original EP and offers fans a truly epic sequel. Neither a carbon copy nor a divergence so extreme as to be unrecognizable, their latest sees the band playing off their strengths to produce a new soundtrack for your nightmares. If you love The Devil Wears Prada and heavy music that tells a ghastly story, or if you simply adore having your brains devoured through your ears, may we suggest the ZII EP? Trying to outrun the undead hordes, Cryptic Rock gives The Devil Wears Prada’s ZII EP 5 of 5 stars.



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