Transit Blues is the sixth album from Christian metalcore outfit, The Devil Wears Prada, and the first long player the band has released with lead-guitarist Kyle Sipress replacing founding member Chris Rubey, who departed the group in 2015. With the new record, The Devil Wears Prada have produced a more expansive sound – introducing elements of post-metal, industrial, and progressive song structures into the mix – resulting in an album that will appeal to those heavy-metal fans for whom metalcore is a term of derision. It is difficult to discern whether this new sonic direction is due to the line-up changes the group experienced after 2013’s 8:18, the album’s loose theme of travel and place, or if it is the direction they were inevitably heading in anyway.
The percussion provided by session/touring musician, Giuseppe Capolupo, provides an intriguing introduction on opening track, Praise Poison, which quickly progresses to more standard metal territory – both with the drums, and guitar rhythms – resulting in a satisfying two-and-a-half minute blast – which aptly enough features lyrics nodding to William Faulkner’s novel, The Sound And The Fury. Daughter opens darkly with lead vocalist, Mike Hranica, screaming “over a lifetime/I never loved her/my daughter, my daughter”, and the music’s shifts between solid groove and dissonant squall complements the tracks mood, making it one of the album’s standout songs which happens to juxtapose strongly with the poppy Worldwide which follows it.
Showcasing the groups expanded sonic-palette, Flyover States features an intro that borrows heavily from post-rock/post-metal tropes, which results in a pleasant change of tone to the surrounding tracks, while the song itself progresses its sound well. The Condition unfortunately illuminates rhythm-guitarist Jeremy DePoyster’s inconsistent clean vocals, which are sometimes perfectly adequate – contrasting with Hranica’s growls and screams – but here they particularly grate. Home For Grave Pt. 2 continues a narrative started on 8:18, delivered with a convincing tone of melancholia, while Submersion takes a little while to build traction but by the track’s bridge the song’s rhythms are captivating.
The Devil Wears Prada have delivered in Transit Blues an album that should appeal to those who have never been sold on metalcore as a genre, as well as pleasing and challenging their existing fan base, pushing their sound in new directions that hopefully mark bigger and better things on the horizon for the band.