Maturing and making better and better albums

The Devil Wears Prada keep maturing and making better and better albums.

I have followed this band with some interest since I first heard them back on their With Roots Above and Branches Below album in 2009. They could be very cringeworthy with the over produced Auto tune clean vocals, and strange-on-purpose song titles, but thankfully album by album they have grown out of most of the early misgivings into a very good modern heavy band.

Right from the outset they come out of the gates swinging with big drum beats and vocalist Mike Hrancia on absolute top form vocally, and lyrically. Then second track ‘Daughter’ changes it up a bit with small electronic flourishes underneath all the heavy guitar tones.

After such a great one-two opening, the band drop the ball quickly on ‘Worldwide’. It just sounds like someone had a great chorus melody, but nothing to put the great hook too, and wrote a filler song about touring the world. The next track, ‘Lock and Load’ is the most overt political song the band have ever tried on, written about the current state of gun violence, and the need for laws to change in the US. Another modern metal banger of a song.

And then the album just sort of settles into a formula. The next few tracks just pass by, all similar, but not quite the same. The most noticeable aspect is the lack of any clean vocals, only popping up once or twice. When it comes along, it is almost a refreshing change from the crushing heaviness of Mike’s dry heavy vocal style, and the heavy guitar tone.

‘To The Key of Evergreen’ is the next big change in style for the band. Opening with a drum roll, and a lighter guitar tone, at about the 2 minute mark at Mike’s refrain of ‘I’m not tired’ the whole song just opens into a luscious soundscape that sees out the last few minutes of the track, with vocals coming in sparsely to disturb the quiet, displaying the band’s musical maturity, and tight grasp on a decent melody. The final two tracks show the best they have for this album. ‘Home For Grave Pt. II’ features a great almost spoken word approach. This band has an exciting future. They are just getting better and better.

1. Praise Poison
2. Daughter
3. Worldwide
4. Lock & Load
5. Flyover States
6. Detroit Tapes
7. The Condition
8. To the Key of Evergreen
9. Submersion
10. Home for the Grave Pt II
11. Transit Blues