It seems like it’s been a while since zombies were a pop culture icon, but Ohio metalcore kings The Devil Wears Prada have brought them back into the spotlight with the release of ZII EP.
The follow up to their smash hit Zombie EP from 2010, ZII wastes no time in setting the apocalyptic stage. As “Nightfall” explodes open, it’s obvious that TDWP didn’t come to mess around. The entirety of this EP brings back the classic heaviness of the band that longtime fans will surely welcome back. Arguably their heaviest work since With Roots Above and Branches Below, this album is exactly what fans expected from the lead single “Termination:” a flawless blending of their most recent atmospheric and experimental sounds with the technicality and ferocity of their older work.
There is a level of precision on this album that really pinpoints why The Devil Wears Prada has had such career longevity: they manage to control the chaos perfectly. Their music has always, from the days of Plagues all the way up to ZII, managed to have a firm grasp on how to create absolute mayhem that never feels confused. For a mind-blowing example of this, just look at the 2:26 mark of the track “Nora.” An argument could be made that “Contagion” is the most complex and technical track on the EP. Honestly, there’s not a miss to be found in this offering.
How deep can the thematic elements get on an album about the zombie apocalypse? Well, pretty deep actually. We’ve already covered the theme in “Termination.” There is a sense of hopelessness throughout the entirety of ZII, and this is felt from the outset of “Nightfall,” where they lament “We sleep in anticipation, we awake in total fear. Every window boarded up, our fate is drawing near.”
One can hardly avoid comparisons to the COVID-19 pandemic the planet has been struggling with for the last year when listening to the words of “Forlorn:” “At the time of the onset, humanity mismanaged the gravity of the virus… We’ve in a panic, we’ve lost control– like we ever had it.”
“Nora” is bordering on utter despondency, and “Contagion” is a bleak look at the seeming defeat and extinction of humankind. The realism they give to the hopelessness of a dystopian future helps ZII feel more grounded and “close,” and it is a mirror to how many have felt over the last year and a half.
As a concept, a zombie apocalypse makes for a great metal album, and The Devil Wears Prada feel in their element throughout the runtime of ZII. There is a lot for fans of all their work to chew on throughout this EP, from neck-breaking breakdowns to the most intricate of guitar riffs. Fans kept asking for the heavy, and The Devil Wears Prada have delivered it in spades. Who knows what may be next for the group, but it is sure to be anything but dull.
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