Welcome to Choice Cuts, you’ve stumbled upon the butcher shop themed segment where I pull out the entire hulking piece of meat that is a band’s entire discography, and slice you off the finest slab of choice cut, the best of the best. Sometimes I’ll be praising the standout piece of material in an otherwise passable career, other times I’ll be highlighting the best work found in a stellar band’s illustrious back catalog. Or maybe I’ll just be alerting you to some good beef you might’ve missed. Let me get to telling you what I’ve got for ya on the table today.
Today is a very special day for Choice Cuts because it’s the first day. Trisolino’s butcher shop is open for business. To start off I thought I’d offer up one of the perfect examples of what I’d like to show you during this segment. Without further ado, I present to you, The Devil Wears Prada and the “Zombie EP.”
The Devil Wears Prada is about to release their fifth studio album, and if the first single is any indication whatsoever at all, all five do not offer anything for me. The christian metalcore band just doesn’t do anything for me at all. The uplifting tones and energy doesn’t match that of August Burns Red or As I Lay Dying and there’s clearly a focus on the scene/core demographic that really puts this music out of the range of what I’m looking to listen to.
But the Zombie EP is really different from anything the band released. The christian lyric and vibe is replaced with that of surviving a zombie apocalypse. Novel and corny sometimes, but here it’s deadly serious, and executed to perfection. These five songs were written primarily by lead guitarist Chris Rubey and feature a focus on brutal riffing rather than the normal mix the band employs. Heavier is better in this instance. Rubey brought his most killer rhythmic chug patterns and breakdowns, his most deadly riffs and most heavy chord progressions to the “Zombie EP.” The songwriting is also dead on. Strings of simple riffs are perfectly melded together completely defying the stereotypical boredom that I feel when listening to simple metalcore songs.
Though the band loses the christian imagery and serious tone, these “fun” songs carry much more emotional weight than the melodrama of christian metalcore. The Devil Wears Prada have never really done anything for me lyrically the way that other christian bands have. But the “Zombie EP” features lyrical content that conveys the bleak truths and inevitable emotional despair that mirrors the truth of a Zombie apocalypse instead of the hack and slash, blood and gore, just for fun vibe that many other zombie themed media outlets follow. It also helps that this is by far the best Mike Hranica has ever sounded.
Musically this bleak vibe is achieved perfectly as well. The samples provide completely bleak soundscapes that clash with the pummeling assault of brutal riffing, the eerie calm before the zombie onslaught storm. And that’s really the best way to describe this EP. It really is a journey. From the waves of zombies, to the emotional loss of watching your loved ones die, to the bleak, unending despair caused by reflecting on your complete and utter isolation, all while staving off your inevitable death. The mood and emotion is 100 percent nailed, the songwriting is downright compelling even for a complete metalhead. At a mere 22 minute runtime, this is really worth checking out.