Review || The Devil Wears Prada - "ZII" EP

  


The Devil Wears Prada returns on May 21st 2021 with one of the most anticipated albums of their career; the follow-up to the metalcore opera "Zombie" EP, titled "ZII". Eleven years after the original concept was launched, the band -who in the mean time has pushed the boundaries of their creativity and broke completely out of the metalcore mold with 2019's "The Act"- announced the new EP in early April and as expected, everyone thought was a joke. Admittedly, there was a lot of skepticism surrounding the announcement -and the common denominator was the sound. It would be easy to accuse TDWP that they'd play on nostalgia to sell and hopefully bring oldschool fans back ("Zombie" is after all still considered their best work to date), that they'd regress to their old sound because the last album was too experimental... You get the idea. 

Thankfully, "ZII" sits right in the middle. The band does indeed revisit their old sound and they do so in a mature and calculated way; avoiding petty clichés, they didn't attempt to blindly replicate what they wrote 11 years ago. Instead, they focused their effort and energy on interpreting their trademark sound through the craftmanship deriving from their experience, approaching the creation of the songs with the skillset they developed in the recent releases -and through a new viewpoint.

While the "Zombie" EP is about an apocalyptic world were zombies are rapidly multiplying and the listener is transported into an action scene where if they stop running they will die, "ZII" deals with the aftermath. A sense of desolation enrobes the entire EP and opener "Nightfall" gives me strong Richard Matheson/"I Am Legend" vibes in the lyrics (shout out to the book cult) but I refuse to judge quickly. You can tell from the get go that the band who crafted "The Act" were set to prove naysayers wrong by creating an even more fascinating work. The narrative, adapted in Mike Hranika and Jordan DePoyster's interchanging vocals, is absolutely captivating as we follow the ebbs and flows of the struggle for survival and everything that entails; hopelessness, loss, anger, uncertainty, will to move on. And while I know that the theme is pretty much set, I feel that we can also interpret and project these songs in a bigger scale, as a metaphor for the current state of the world (no, not Covid necessarily, the allegory of a virus can refer to a plethora of social situations). 

Musically, I adore the bass and how prevalent it is in every single song, adding a different depth -and that's a thing I won't admit often. The instrumentation is solid and consistent, showcasing the band's excellent songwriting skills. No song is predictable, with "Nora" taking the cake. All the layers in the compositions blend together amazingly well, as the synth parts create an unnerving atmosphere, the guitars boldly transition from chuggy heaviness to soaring metal riffage, the piano creates a false sense of security and the rhythm patterns develop from mid-tempo to a relentless barrage of oldschool ferocity.

Overall, it's safe to say that The Devil Wears Prada kicked some serious ass with "ZII". It's got great storytelling, crushing breakdowns and amazing vocal hooks. Now, admittedly, "Zombie" has never been one of my favorite TDWP albums but its legacy has marked an entire generation, something I could easily see "ZII" doing as well. It is honestly the EP we didn't know we needed until it came out. It takes guts to execute such a return to the roots and there's a million ways even the mere thought could backfire. Luckily, TDWP was able to handle every single aspect of this release with surgical precision, artfully bridging this new era with their traditional elements.
8.5/10

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