The Devil Wears Prada - ZII
Band: The Devil Wears Prada
Label: Solid State
Location: Midwest, USA
FFO: Norma Jean, Oh, Sleeper, Phinehas
The Devil Wears Prada is a classic name in the metalcore genre. At one point or another, every listener of this music has at least come across them at some point. It’s at that moment you decide on loving or hating their blend of groovy rifts, hard hitting breakdowns, and those signature raw vocals paralleled with soaring choruses. TDWP has always been a band that experiments and does what they want with their music, all while having impactful metaphorical messages behind them, or often thrown in the forefront. Ever since the early beginnings of their debut LP, they’ve kept with a production that suits them and compliments their music, even if not the most pristine. Whether that be the brighter ‘The Act’ or in this case, the dark and gritty ‘ZII’ EP.
Some quick background for those unaware, Prada released an EP almost 11 years ago titled “Zombie EP”. To my knowledge, it was never meant to go anywhere further at the time; just exist as its own concept about zombies. Well here we are in 2021 where the band has had their most experimental years within the past couple records, and they are bringing us back in time to revisit an old story. A story told with some of the hardest songs the band has ever made, while still offering very creative writing. Structures that are hard to follow at times but flow super well. It feels like nothing is truly repeated. A chorus will always have a change about it the second time around. A verse rhythm might shift or abruptly come to a transition. It all feels just as chaotic as it should, as if they wrote this 10 years ago. It goes to show that not all bands change because they have to. They change because they want to. Right now, this is what Prada wants to do, and they are killing it.
Since this is only a 20 minute project, I’ll quickly go through each track. Possibly my most favorite song on here, ‘Nightfall’, is the opener to the EP. It brings you all the qualities I have been mentioning along with a couple very cool breakdowns. ‘Forlorn’ continues the heaviness and breakdowns but possibly even more sporadic in nature with quick turns speeding into each new section of the song. In between these twists are of course those melodic vocals that pop up here and there. The way they integrate the cleans into this EP is very unique. They are clearly present but work in almost underneath the chaos most of the time. We then get to the third song, first single, ‘Termination’. One of the more comprehensible structured songs on here, which makes sense why it would work well as a single. ‘Nora’ is the first song to begin with some breathing room on the slower build up intro. This song has a different vibe overall too that I like a lot. Very ominous instead of a direct attack on your ears, but still incorporating great riffs. I also want to point out a very specific moment at 1:59 in the song, Mike does a scream unlike I’ve ever heard from him in a long time. It’s not the only time he does some crazy stuff like that on here, but I loved that moment. ZII then wraps up with the longest song on here, ‘Contagion’. One of the couple songs with a stronger chorus shining, but still gets covered up by the screams and atmosphere at times. It sounds like that would be dumb, but it actually works very nicely. Obviously I’m not going too deep into the songs, but to be honest, these are some of the best songs TDWP has created. They have made a lot of great music in my opinion, but this hits a very high mark within their discography.
The lyrics/theme are as to be expected of course, zombie themed. I can’t help but assume a lot of this writing has undertones and influence involving the past year+ in our world, or specifically the United States. I wouldn’t doubt current events are what made them want to go back to it in the first place. I could be wrong, but those comparisons are easy to make while listening to this EP.
Being this is the first heavy heavy body of music front to back from TDWP in a while, I will of course be enjoying this for a while to come, but it’s not just some heavy metalcore record. It has clear elements they have been working on in recent years mixed in with the old style. There is melody and electronics within the instrumentation more so ‘The Act’ inspired, while keeping a very raw sound. It’s almost a “best of both worlds'' sorta deal. It leaves me very curious to what could possibly be next on a full length.
This concept, both the first and second releases, work very well in EP formula. Sure I’d love to get another heavy hitter from Prada but this specific concept and story telling works much better this way. Besides, put the 2 together and you pretty much get a full LP anyway. This thing was a great treat for the fans and I’m glad they not only did it just to do it, but clearly put a lot of effort and talent forward.
Strongest Song: Nightfall, Nora, Contagion
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/the-devil-wears-prada/189224243