June 8th, 2010
Release Date: August 21st, 2007
Label: Rise Records
In recent years, the more underground rock genres such as metalcore and grindcore have become more popular and recognised in today’s modern music culture. One genre of which is Christian metalcore, and one band in the rise of this is The Devil Wears Prada from Dayton, Ohio. Their second full-length album to be released on Rise Records is ‘Plagues’, and is clearly a step up from their previous efforts.
‘Plagues’ doesn’t fail to pack the listener a punch, and features almost everything, through catchy melodic choruses, harmonising vocals, banshee-like shrieks and screams, and atmospheric yet brutal breakdowns. Through all these layers, the six-piece aren’t afraid to speak up about their faith and religion.
One of the more recognised tracks from the album is ‘HTML Rulez d00d’, which was uploaded onto their MySpace profile earlier in the year as a rough demo version. During that time they’ve managed to perfect it, and now it sounds more crisp and moving than before. From the opening harmony section to the ending screams of the breakdown, it’s one of the album’s more pop-like tracks.
In keeping with what is their usual random sounding track titles, which no doubt have a deeper meaning than what is said on the surface, ‘Reptar, King Of The Ozone’ is one of the finer moments on ‘Plagues’. A song that is very possibly about how each day we’re all coming closer towards our demise, and how we’re composing it just like a song we’d have played at our funeral. The chorus line of this track also reveals some extent of their vocal talents, as Jeremy DePoster and Mike Hranica combine excellently with “We’re composing our funeral songs, note by note.”
‘Don’t Dink And Drance’ is a track with a few surprises here and there, infected and dense with disorientating guitar riffs, keyboard/synth effects, and belting screams and growls. From the opening section it’s quite clear that this track is one of their more heavier attempts of songwriting, and also shows an improvement in the composing area too. The layer of keyboard notes over Jeremy DePoster’s vocal section is quite a sudden and moving attempt from this band, and one they’ve rarely, if ever done before. They also have a guest appearance from Craig Owens of Chiodos in the track ‘You Can’t Spell ‘Crap’ Without ‘C”, whose vocal talent flows nicely with their style.
Though The Devil Wears Prada make clear of their religious beliefs within their songs, they also add a gore and violent side within their lyrics, particularly in the record’s closing track, ‘Nickels Is Money Too’. With lines such as “Here’s a farmer that hung himself on the expectation of plenty” and “Welcome to the museum of the dead / Endless gore becomes reality” their lyrics do blend both the light and darks sides of their religion and faith.
‘Plagues’ brings about the next step in the band’s development, both as a band and as songwriters. This album contains almost everything you can expect from a metalcore band today, along with including Christianity as their main song subject. A good purchase for almost all metal fans out there, and if you’re not too keen on the idea of six guys talking about religion, then that can be set aside and overlooked in favour of some choice tunes.
Written by Zach Redrup