“Find your post, find your shelter in hopes of outliving the undead.
Build your walls, maintain protection with ambitions of beating the odds.”
-Outnumbered by: The Devil Wears Prada
It’s not too often that you come across an album completely devoted to one thing: zombies. Very few bands would have the guts to pull off something as completely off the wall as this. Think about it: Zombies as the concept behind an entire album? How could that possible work? Well The Devil Wears Prada has managed to do it, and do it well.
While you would never know it from the music, The Devil Wears Prada is a Christian metalcore band. Their music is… well let’s just say “heavy” is putting it mildly. It involves a lot of fast and outrageous guitar, cool effects from the keyboardist, and – in all honesty – screaming. That’s right, the singer sings by literally screaming. While this may sound like a terrible idea at first, after listening through the album a couple of times I realized that it actually compliments the guitar quite well. The lead guitarist is actually a pretty good singer himself, so the refrains are frequently left to him. Occasionally the lead singer/screamer and the guitarist sing (and scream – I can’t overstate the screaming here) in unison, such as in the quoted selection at the beginning of this review.
The album consists of five songs: “Escape,” “Anatomy,” “Outnumbered,” “Revive,” and “Survivor,” with “Anatomy” and “Outnumbered” being the standouts. Since the album tells a story, it’s best enjoyed by listening to the songs in order. The album starts with the general idea of a nascent outbreak, people fighting back, the government figuring out that this is a real problem, and so forth. The album builds and grows until the final track, where the story shifts to a single man as “one of the last few standing”. I love the way it tells a story that gradually and irrevocably expands – much like zombie outbreak – throughout the album. The Devil Wears Prada make it seem natural. I’d love to see some other bands attempt a similar concept.
My favorite aspect of The Zombie EP is the atmosphere that surrounds it when you listen. It’s not just a couple of songs put together, they obviously put real time and effort into this. You can tell from the first thirty seconds of “Escape,” the first song of the album. It begins with a very suspenseful rain shower with very creepy synthesizers playing along with the rain. This follows the album all the way to the end, from the sound of somebody pulling the starter of a chainsaw at the end of “Escape” then finally starting at the beginning of “Anatomy,” to the extremely scary and realistic sounding radio public service warning at the beginning of “Outnumbered.” It really manages to create this feel to it that is simply unforgettable. If you buy this album for anything, get it for the atmosphere behind it.
In the end I absolutely loved this album. It was an interesting and probably risky idea, and The Devil Wears Prada pulled it off with flying colors. The music itself is played extremely well and the band has lots of talent. The atmosphere is absolutely perfect and it deserves a listen just for that alone. It may be the type of music that is an acquired taste, but if you are someone who likes heavy music or just has to have everything related to zombies, this is a must buy.