It’s not much of a secret that I’m not a big fan of the current crop of post-hardcore that slips into the screamo or metalcore sound. For the most part I think it’s repetitive, unimaginative and unlistenable. I mean they play some metal riffs while one guy whines about his broken heart and another guy screams along in an unintelligible stream of nonsensical gibberish? Count me out.
But every so often, you find a band that takes this sound, embraces it and realizes what it’s truly about, and then channels into a unique, effective concept album – which is what The Devil Wears Prada has done with the Zombie EP.
Zombies and Metalcore? It Works.
On it’s surface, it could just be so much silliness. Take a story of the upcoming zombie apocalypse (sad truth, kids, it’s coming whether you like it or not), and tell a story about it. Specifically, in the case The Devil Wears Prada is telling a story about a man who loses his girl to zombies and is forced to fight off zombies and loneliness.
Sure, the broken hearted boy sets the record up to be like 8 billion other screamo/metalcore albums, but adding the walking dead and their relentless desire for the flesh of the living adds an element to the record that makes it a complete game changer.
Over the course of five tracks, the Zombie EP carries it’s protagonist through a bleak violent landscape, telling the story through it’s song titles (“Escape,” “Anatomy,” “Outnumbered,” “Revive” and “Survivor”) as much as through the story itself – it’s a story arc that would befit a low-budget zombie goreflic, and this is no small compliment on my part. The band has truly found a way to hone their sound in a way that’s quite new to them, and in a way that simply works well.
To begin with, the record is brutal, as brutal as a record based on an uncontrollably violent and gory aspect of our upcoming future needs to be. It’s definitely faster and harder than what one would expect from TDWP, but doesn’t destroy their sound. The metal-influenced riffs are sweeping and strong, but there’s an assaulting nature that carries with it the darkness of living a day-to-day existence that heavily involves smashing the skulls of your newly undead relatives.
Interspersed throughout the music are well-chosen samples that impart a necessarily horrific vibe, that then drop into liberal musical allusion to seriously metallic Slayer-influenced riffs, that then just as effortlessly become juggernauts blasts of thrash metal power and overly majestic metal melodrama. The concept is solid, the execution flawless. It’s sort of like what one might expect from the merging of classic Skinny Puppy records with the Dethklok – the true fictitious masters of brutal metal.
As befits any concept album about the living dead and their desire to devour your flesh, the album will be released with an accompanying comic that depicts the band as zombie fighters in what we can only hope will also be brutally vivid detail.
While this album hasn’t made me accept all of the painfully bad bands out there who are trying to replicate this sound, it has made me realize that there is a place for this music – and that’s serving to tell us what our lives will become once the walking dead are here.
Release Date: August 24, 2010