Sound — 9
Zombies have figuratively eaten their way through media and society, taking no prisoners and leaving no limbs behind. The Devil Wears Prada supports that statement, which is more of fact. Inspired by the flesh-eating, sometimes dead-as-nail cultural phenomenon, the Ohio metalcore group have uncaged Zombie, a five-track EP that pushes the invisible limits on talent and experimentation. Instead of making the music as witty as their past song titles, the work encompassed on the extended play is a bold testament at how creativity drives an artist.
The relentless throttles of adrenaline shadowed by the splinters of influences from dignified acts like Slayer and Hatebreed show The Devil Wears Prada take the themed record very seriously. Almost to a point where vocalist Mike Hranica's growl trickles over each riff's razor-sharp blow to the head, leaving nothing but a ringing emphatic thud from drummer Daniel Williams' kit. But before the curtains close, the group take the artistry to another level, plaguing ears with tormenting sound effects, like that found towards the end of "Survivor". Horrific in a sense, but remarkable as well.
Lyrics — 8
Combine speed with noise and a vocalist better have the ability to quickly adapt to his environment. Fascinated with the central theme of zombies, Hranica holds nothing back, changing tones to clash with Jeremy DePoyster's clean vocals and to overpower each dramatic dive into another squeamish hardcore breakdown. There are clear improvements in his abilities, but his work across the EP fails to put a bullet in the head of what to expect as his vocal chords seem to force a louder pitch on certain tracks. The dive into generalizing the release around the concept of an merciless zombie apocalypse does work to his benefit. Lines like "The cure is a shotgun / The cure is whatever blunt instrument one can salvage" off "Revive" rip pages out of books like Max Brook's The Zombie Survival Guide but they present a whole new perspective to the genre's endless cliche of songwriting.
Overall Impression — 9
Zombies and metalcore seem like an incomprehensible match, but the undead seem to fit anywhere (see comic book superheroes, video games). The fascination behind it is what has driven The Devil Wears Prada to produce the fastest and most impressive music to date. Not only does it stretch the boundaries of a sound that's been overplayed by an abundance of acts with similar thoughts but various personalities, but it offsets the idea that EPs aren't worthless recordings. An extended play is meant to give birth to realistic expectations. Let's just pray The Devil Wears Prada doesn't let their new-found sense of imagination get eaten alive.