I think I’m justified in saying that The Devil Wears Prada have chosen one of the most ridiculous band names of recent times. The music found on their sophomore album Plagues, however, is not quite such a laughing matter.
Plagues is a metalcore album – but that’s a genre label that’s already showing signs of being stretched to breaking point by being forced to contain such a variety of sounds.
The Devil Wears Prada certainly have the “core” component sussed out, with blastbeat attacks and lead-heavy muted guitar chugging providing a bludgeoning power to the heavier sections. There’s no disputing the intensity at this end – nor, for that matter, the technical skill of the musicians.
However, I found the “metal” side of the equation to be much the weaker of the two. I’d even go so far as to say The Devil Wears Prada would be far more accurately described by the term “emocore”. That’s not to be derogatory, as such – it’s more an observation that the melodic passages between the hardcore savagery owe a lot more to the pop-punk market than they do to what I think of as contemporary metal.
The overproduction has a large part to play in this; for example, using vocoder treatments on voices that are already high and clear seems like overcooking the joint. I think the melodies could have carried it better on their own without the aid of the studio bling.
The song structures aren’t too shoddy, even if the lyrics are largely incomprehensible (especially the guttural bellowed stuff), and the fetish for oddly inappropriate names carries over onto the song titles, too, giving us tunes called “HTML Rulez D00d”, “Reptar, King of the Ozone” and “Goats On A Boat”. There’s either a very sharp wit behind those titles, or they’re a smokescreen to cover up a lack of lyrical substance. I just can’t tell which is the case after a couple of listens – and I’m not keen enough on Plagues to give it more attention than that.
As baffling as it may be to me, the band certainly sound like they have the courage of their convictions – and there’s no escaping the instrument skills on display in Plagues. So if The Devil Wears Prada don’t do it for me, it probably says as much about my age as it does their style.