• Curtis Ebl

The Devil Wears Prada - The Act Tour - St. Louis, MO

Mike Hranica of The Devil Wears Prada

Autumn brings about many changes here in the midwest. Cooler temperatures, the changing of leaves, and most importantly, the abundance of club tour packages. Upon arrival to St. Louis’s The Ready Room this past Saturday night, the venue was bustling. Patrons waited in anticipation for one of said tours, The Devil Wears Prada, being the headlining act. Devil teamed up with Solid State label-mates Norma Jean and Gideon (Equal Vision) in promotion for their seventh full-length release, The Act, with St. Louis being their first stop on their string of dates across the United States.

The start of the show was neither mundane or forgettable. This duty was given to Gideon as patrons were immediately pounded over the head with their signature style of hardcore. Every song bounced with infections, head-bobbing groove and had moshers ready to beat down whomever crossed their path. The aggression was only exemplified with the performance of metalcore veterans, Norma Jean. Also touring on the October 25th release of their album All Hail, songs like “[Mind Over Mind]” and “Landslide Defeater” showed Norma Jean at their best. A pinnacle to their hard-hitting and cemented career in heavy music, their new tracks had the crowd chanting choruses without hesitation.

The proceeding bands delivered with forcefully solid performances, providing the headliner with an ideal opportunity to flourish. Following a cue to pulsating back-lights and an atmospheric intro track, Devil took the stage. Proceeding straight into The Act’s first track, “Switchblade,” droning guitar riffs chugged under singer Mike Hranica as he switched his signature guttural screams and spoken word vocal styles.

“Chemical,” one of the catchiest efforts on the new album, is a primarily sung, melody driven track that made its live debut. The song had TWDP showing their ability to maintain the energy of the room even at slower tempos.

This new focus on melody and atmosphere was also seen on the new song, “Lines Of Your Hands.” Hranica took every opportunity possible to make use of the stage, seemingly pouring every ounce of his emotions into his microphone. With chugging-guitar breakdowns over synth-driven melodies not as much of a focus with their newer songs, the heaviness is far from lost.

The change in sound for the band also does not come with compromise as many older songs were sprinkled throughout. The second song performed, “Danger: Wildman,” from their third album With Roots Above and Branches Below, gave seasoned fans the immediate gratification of hearing some of the band’s staple hits. “Anatomy” from TDWP’s critically acclaimed Zombie EP one of the heaviest songs of the evening featuring Giuseppe Capolupo’s frantic drumming under Jonathan Gering’s moody key elements.

During their set, Devil did something unexpected by performing a cover of the Foo Fighters song, “All My Life.” The Devil Wears Prada covering a song by these rock legends doesn’t seem like it would work, but the crowd’s reaction would debunk that theory entirely. The band managed to make the cover their own.

Since the release of 2016’s Transit Blues TDWP have had an evolution of their signature ‘scene-core’ sound, incorporating Chelsea Wolfe inspired atmospheric elements. This more melody focused direction does not come with the sacrifice of heaviness as their new material retains it along with emotional weight. Their increasingly diverse catalog allowed for peaks and valleys of intensity in their set. The heavy parts hot a the right moments, making them have even more impact.

- Curtis Ebl

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