Over the last 17 years, The Devil Wears Prada have carved a niche for themselves making arty, post-hardcore tinged metalcore that always subverts expectation. The light and shade of last year’s Zombie II, a sequel to 2010’s monstrous Zombie EP, proved just how far they had come since the days when bludgeoning heaviness was the only weapon in their arsenal.
But even now, on their eighth album, the Ohioans are finding new ways to challenge themselves. The material on Color Decay falls somewhere between Zombie and the dynamism of 2016’s Transit Blues, pushing the familiar into new realms. Each of the opening three tracks – Exhibition, Salt and album highlight Watchtower – are expertly structured to show off every aspect of the band’s range, with huge choruses sitting aside filthy grooves and walls of dense, apocalyptic post-metal.
This band’s discography is littered with vocalist Jeremy DePoyster’s excellent clean choruses, but Time is surely one of their catchiest, its glittering refrain nestled amongst spiky, serrated riffs, breakdowns and glitchy electronic effects. The band know when to pull back as well as let go too; Fire bubbles along on spacey, clattering beats, while the doomy, back-breaking Hallucinate offers little in the way of warmth.
The quality on display is top notch throughout, but many of the album’s most powerful moments land with vocalist Mike Hranica’s poetic lyrics which, delivered in his distinctive, off-key style, pack real emotional punch. ‘When was the last laugh we had?’ he asks on Twenty-Five, which contemplates change and the sad, slow decay of relationships – while for all its undeniable bounce, Watchtower is steeped in regret, Jeremy singing, ‘I climbed the stairs / And we grew apart.’
After years of solid and consistent evolution, The Devil Wears Prada have nailed a sound that ticks all the boxes: thought-provoking, anthemic and belligerent, Color Decay might just be their finest hour.
Color Decay is out now via Solid State