With The Act, The Devil Wears Prada have extended themselves into fresh territory. One of the biggest (and most obvious) changes comes from their vocal department; the singing is now center stage, and the screaming is used sparingly by comparison to previous work. The instrumental structures also show more favor toward atmosphere and technical exploration this time around (not that TDWP ever ignored those things in the past, but there’s a discernible distinction here).
As a whole, The Act doesn’t really resemble anything the band has done prior. Some of it is a bit surprising, but not without a breath of fresh air. To go back and play something from Plagues or With Roots Above… would be a sizeable shift in a more chaotic and destructive direction. Though there’s always that percentage of fanbase that dislikes change, the change found in The Act feels natural. For things to “slow down” is to age, and TDWP aren’t freshman anymore.
Of course, there are still heavier sections to be found here. The single, “The Lines of Your Hands,” is such a track—it feels like the crackling of someone under the weight of a breaking psyche. “The Thread” and “Spiderhead” are also songs that make sure to embrace the band’s roots with increased screams, breakdowns, and screeching guitars.
That being said, The Act really shines in its rock-focused moments. “Chemical” finds a way in stealing your breath in its verses, while “Wave of Youth” packs a crunchy bravado in line, “It’s my fault!” And of course “Diamond Lost” must be noted—it’s ghostly chants are undeniably memorable and catchy in their simple nature.
Though The Act is likely to push some fans away, those that are open-minded to change and exploration will find a lot to love here. Think Between the Buried and Me—if The Devil Wears Prada continues to extend their reach into new territories, mixing the odd and the heavy, they could easily break down walls in every direction. Why not give them that chance to prove their musicianship?