Reaching for something outside their comfort zone

The Devil Wears Prade has been focused on an evolution in their sound since 2011’s heavy and directed Dead Throne.  This evolution has come with (predominantly positive) varied results, gradually losing their metalcore roots as they became something all their own while still remaining recognisable for older fans.

The Act is a continuation of a band experimenting with heavy sounds, adding more electronic elements and growing into a different kind of aggression. Fear not, they haven’t done a full 180 and removed any trace of their previously trodden path, like some of their contemporaries. This is still heavy in the right places, but the clean vocals and electronics add a texture to a sound from a band guilty of a formulaic approach in the past.

Opening and closing with the strongest tracks Switchblade and Spiderhead feel like book ends to an adventurous chapter, exemplified by the way the heavy dynamic drops off slowly towards Please Say No. This is as clean as this band gets, but is more about telling a short story than the chaos theory of lyric writing Prada have often fallen back on. The Thread dives back into warmer, more familiar, waters with shades of melancholy created by the slow descent of the previous tracks.

Isn’t it Strange takes the loud/soft dynamic to its most diverse, opening with a pulsing electronic beat that quietens so Mike Hranica can bark over the top, then builds again, before a piano break changes the direction of everything once more.

Albums of this nature are sure to challenge the older listener looking for the same old from bands they enjoy.  It is great to see this form of music receiving  some long overdue recognition, but without the kind of quality growth and heaviness on display here, by a band that can still be considered modern, the scene will eventually go back to the same, boring formulas.

The Act reaches for something outside the realms of what The Devil Wears Prada is known for while at the same time keeping a foot in the warm waters of listener comfort. It is an album worth 45 minutes of your time, and if you have always given them a wide berth, now just might be the time to investigate something a little out of your comfort zone.

  1. Switchblade
  2. Lines of Your Hands
  3. Chemical
  4. Wave of Youth
  5. Please Say No
  6. The Thread
  7. Numb
  8. Isn’t it Strange
  9. Diamond Lost
  10. As Kids
  11. Even Though
  12. Spiderhead