2011's Dead Throne was a huge success for The Devil Wears Prada, not just for cracking the US top 10 and for establishing themselves among the elite, but also for moving away from the geeky concepts and dick jokes in favour of razor-sharp bludgeoning metal, atmosphere and hooks. It’s to their credit that they haven’t simply followed the winning formula, with Roadrunner debut 8:18 a far more introspective, challenging listen with ugly tones and brooding ambience, and thin on the cleanly sung vocals that sometimes failed to distinguish them.
Though the likes of First Sight and Sailor’s Prayer effortlessly show the choruses are still there, they’re offset by unconformable waves of dissonance and Mike Hranica’s tortured screams. While it’s not as immediate as its predecessor, the highlights gradually emerge as you peel back the dense riffs and swathes of synths.
The lush electronic wash of War descends into another claustrophobic passage, the rhythmic assaults Black & Blue and Martyrs show the band can deploy huge hooks without the need for overt melody while Transgress’s restrained harmonies just rear their heads enough to reach heart-tugging peaks. If Sempiternal is your highlight of the year, you’d be wise to give 8:18 your full attention as well.