The EP has evolved over time. Like the music industry’s acronym for “long play” record albums (LP), EP stands for “extended play,” and it used to be a teaser in between full-length albums. EPs are now the entrées and have become the artistic output of choice for many artists.
Now a four-piece with Mike Hranica (lead vocals, guitar), Jeremy Depoyster (clean vocals, guitars), Andy Trick (bass) and drummer Daniel Williams, The Devil Wears Prada still rocks an amazing sound. Slimming down from six members to four (after the departure of keyboardist James Baney in 2012 and guitarist Chris Rubey earlier this year), the band adds an second guitarist and a keyboardist as touring members to keep the sonic spectrum fat and wide on stage live. That same sound certainly shows up on this EP, Space, the band’s second after 2012’s Zombie.
“Planet A” sets the thematic tone for this concept album about space and its interstellar makeup with some astronaut radio chatter before the one-minute mark, where the band loudly and firmly stakes its claim to the new record. It’s furiously shrill and drop-tuned-heavy at the same time. “Alien” has some cool stair step riffing that is surrounded by some odd gang vocals. “Moongod” starts off with an ethereal intro for about 40 seconds before Hranica comes in smooth and methodic; the song climbs up in tempo and into a fuller sound, but retains its somber, brooding feel with subdued and filtered back vocals in the verses. Those semi-explode into a louder and multi-voice chorus.
“Celestial Mechanics” serves to set up “Supernova,” which comes crashing in with sweet, melodic clean vocals and tasteful drumming that splits time between fills and speedy double bass, and the fast guitar shredding catapults the song along. This high-quality marriage of melody and intensity is a good example of how the screamo genre can be done right, proving its worth in a world of ever-changing scenes. “Asteroids” finishes off the album with more multi-layered instrumentation that changes moods from space rock to a talk-sing drop-out section to a building crescendo that mounts with layers of vocals, keys and drum fills galore, only to subside for a droning outro. A great ending.
Like their Zombie EP, this collection of six tunes finds the band at full-tilt, making precise, aggressive and tight metal that should not be missed. The two years since 8:18 have seemed like a long time, but you won’t need to wait around for their next full-length. Get Space now. It’s worth it.