The Devil Wears Prada – Color Decay (Album Review)

the devil wears prada - color decay

The Devil Wears Prada – Color Decay
Released: September 16, 2022

Line-up:

Mike Hranica // Vocals
Jeremy DePoyster // Vocals, Guitar
Kyle Sipress // Guitar
Mason Nagy // Bass
Jonathon Gering // Keys, Synthesizers
Giuseppe Capolupo // Drums

Online:

Official Website
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The Devil Wears Prada for me, are a band that sometimes I love and sometimes I don’t care for. This relationship is essentially album based and partly because they are quite an experimental band whose sound has constantly shifted over the years, though somehow remained instantly recognisable. I definitely prefer their heavier releases, and ZII was a very welcome surprise, as the past few albums hadn’t really done much for me. The band has already released four singles from Color Decay and three were relatively heavy, hinting that the upcoming album might be a heavier one and creating quite a bit of hype amongst fans. Do The Devil Wear Prada deliver?

‘Exhibition’ opens the album and listeners are rapidly drawn in as each of the band members join in one by one, beginning with a repeating guitar riff, synth layers jumping in next, quick drum fill and then Mike Hranica’s signature vocal tones, completing the full band’s sound. This combined with the fast pace of the track and Mike’s rapid vocal delivery throughout the verses creates tension that just builds and builds until the chorus drops, and it’s a big one with some slower yet anthemic vocal lines. This track is very rock and roll but does feature a pretty gnarly riff down complemented by some screams from Mike to give it a bit more guts.

Third single Saltfollows, and as the softest and most radio-friendly of the singles, continues the rock-y sound. The riffy/synthy section gives me some very BMTH vibes. Mike and Jeremy showcase their connection during the chorus, and this song feels like the next level of ‘Chemical’ from TDWP’s last album The Act. There is quite an ambient soundscape in this track and overall, it really demonstrates the band’s versatility.

Watchtower’, another of the album’s singles is up next and sees the band return to their heavier side. It’s furious straight off the bat and would not have been out of place on ZII. Giuseppe Capolupo pounds the drums, Kyle Sipress shreds an aggressive riff, and Mike’s screaming vocals tear through the verses, all dropping beautifully into a melodic chorus that sees Jeremy DePoyster taking the lead on the vocals. Jonathon Gering hits the listener’s ears with some haunting synths that kick in over the post-chorus prior to the breakdown, giving a very end-of-the-world feeling. The band all come together to close out the song with a filthy breakdown. This is top-tier Prada in my opinion.

Continuing the ZII vibes is ‘Noise’. This one has a two-part verse that starts violently with a guitar riff full of harmonics, before settling back into a softer section driven mainly by Mike’s drawn-out screams, though Mason Nagy’s bass line and Jeremy’s backing vocals really fill it out. This pulled-back second half of the verse really allows the chorus to hit hard and is probably one of my favourites on the album. Later, everything drops away except an almost angelic group choir vocal: “I cant sleep cause the sky is falling, rest in peace the noise is calling” that lulls the listener into a false sense of security, as it precedes a super chunky and sludgy breakdown that just crushes everything and makes you feel an imminent doom. Another fine example of top-tier Prada.

The band then slow the pace right down and sink into the melancholic ‘Broken’. Simple chord progressions and drumbeats flow through the song and allow Mike and Jeremy to sit in the spotlight with both duelling and complementary vocals. This is the track that will see punters getting out their lighters and phones at gigs and swinging them back and forth as they sing-along – hopefully just to catch their breath between heavier songs from the band’s catalogue.

‘Sacrifice’ was the first single dropped for Color Decay. They released it shortly after ZII and got fans pumped that they were going to continue down a heavier path. This track again highlights the band’s musicianship and ability to pull the listened back and forth between Mike’s hellish screams and Jeremy’s soaring cleans. Guitarists Jeremy, Kyle, and Mason and drummer Giuseppe shine on this track some monster riffs and beats that sit in some tight grooves. Jonathon’s keys are especially haunting throughout this track too. Mike’s straining scream “wiiiiith thaaaat saaaaame kniiiiiife’ really sounds like he has a knife in his back. The band do a bit of a fake-out before pummelling the listeners with one of their sludgiest breakdowns to date that I’m sure has caused many a stank face. 

The contrast between tracks on the album continues with ‘Trapped’, as the band return to melancholic rock. The track is very simple musically, with pulled-back verses consisting of a simple clean guitar melody and a withdrawn but driving drumbeat that builds into a radio-friendly chord-driven chorus with basic rock drums. Vocally Mike channels some emotional screams during the verses and Jeremy delivers some anthemic melodies for the chorus. 

Time, the fourth single from Color Decay follows and this one’s a bit of a mixed bag swaying back and forth between super melodic and melancholic and chaotic heaviness. Jeremy opens the track with some solo clean vocal melodies that become the chorus, repeating throughout the song. The track quickly gets filthy though, with Kyle Sipress smacking you in the face with a very groovy and heavy riff. This strips away for the verses though and a very haunting guitar melody takes over while Mike screams his lungs out, also letting out a sick little “oo” the second time that groovy riff hits again, and it makes me smile every time I hear it. The boys get their groove on again, kicking into a pretty djenty bridge. Again, this style of song is where TDWP really excel.

A slow haunting keys melody greets the listener to start ‘Twenty-five’. This one’s an emotional number and lyrical themes cover relationship break-ups, so is sure to tug on a few heart strings. Mike complements the themes of the song with some very drawn-out and pain-infused screams. The full band joins in towards the end of the song to complete the emotional charge and Kyle takes the lead here for a guitar lead that further adds to the haunting and emotion-filled feeling of the song. The Devils Wear Prada keep it slow for ‘Fire’. This track is super stripped back, lo-fi drums and all. It’s another melancholic track and has a synthy ambience throughout. A little bit boring for my tastes.

What’s real? What’s fake? Black temple, Hallucinate! is the questioning vocal line that opens the next track ‘Hallucinate’ and is something I’m sure many people have been asking themselves over the last few years. This track continues the very haunting theme of the album, with a super eerie slow synth melody throughout. Add in the massive chuggy guitars and the song has a huge industrial vibe. The post-chorus is particularly huge as the chuggy guitars, eerie synth, and ‘four to the floor’ drumbeat come together. A heavy track wouldn’t be heavy without a breakdown, and this one delivers. I envision this song will be a crowd-mover if they add it to the setlist. My fingers are crossed. 

The album closer ‘Cancer’ is another super melancholic feeling track. It’s got some pretty emotional lyrics with the chorus vocals being “I hope that it’s cancer, and not something else, cause I don’t need any more things I don’t wanna talk about”. The main melody of the track is pretty simple and largely revolves around alternating back and forth between two repeated notes. Vocally, we’ve got the classic The Devil Wears Prada recipe of dualling scream and clean vocals. Everything fades away and a short burst of acoustic guitar closes the album.

This album definitely showcases the band’s diversity and musicianship. Color Decay can be massively heavy at times, super rock-y at others, and also very slow and melancholic. I think it’s going to be divisive amongst fans, with the OGs liking the heavy tracks, and newer fans liking the more rock and melancholic flavoured tracks. Personally, as a fan of heavier music it makes me a little sad that a band that can write such unique and top-tier metal tracks (ala the recent ZII and half the tracks on this album) then writes half an album of mellow rock songs. If it were up to me, they would start a side project for the rock and melancholic tracks and stick to the heavy stuff for The Devil Wears Prada, or switch to EPs and really focusing in on one sound for each.

the devil wears prada - color decay

The Devil Wears Prada Color Decay tracklisting:

  1. Exhibition
  2. Salt
  3. Watchtower
  4. Noise
  5. Broken
  6. Sacrifice
  7. Trapped
  8. Time
  9. Twenty-five
  10. Fire
  11. Hallucinate
  12. Cancer

Rating: 6.5/10
Color Decay is out Friday, September 16 via Solid State Records. Pre-order/pre-save here
Review by Anthony Santoro Insta: @anthonysanturtle

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