Personnel: Jonathan Gering (keyboards, synthesizer); Giuseppe Capolupo (drums).
Audio Mixer: Dan Korneff.
Editors: Alex Prieto; Jarryd Nelson.
Photographer: Anthony Barlich.
Continuing a descent into darkness that began on 2011's Dead Throne, the Devil Wears Prada turn inward on their sixth album, Transit Blues. Deathly serious and relentless in its bleakness, Transit Blues is as blistering and visceral as anything they've done, but a lot of the levity hinted at in the past is long gone. Produced by Dan Korneff (Pierce the Veil, Motionless in White), the 11-song collection packs in the gut-churning breakdowns and bloody screams, leaning heavily on themes of separation and the loss experienced via human movement. On one hand, "Worldwide" name-checks cities like Pittsburgh, Boston, and Tokyo, yearning for more experiences on the road. On the other hand, they break out "Flyover States," a road-weary dirge that sees the band torn between road life and real life. Bleeding directly into "Detroit Tapes," Prada mourn the loss of friends and love to the lifestyle they're living. These conflicting feelings are palpable, displaying some maturity and growth from a band that used to rely heavily on jokey song titles and by-the-numbers metalcore. Highlights include the lead single "Daughter," which is pure havoc. Like Moses parting the Red Sea, this track will split the pit open with ease. Meanwhile, the back end of Transit Blues is loaded with fresh ideas. "To the Key of Evergreen" features a beautiful instrumental break that includes a faint recitation of an excerpt from Nabokov's Lolita (Simone de Beauvoir and Sartre also pop in elsewhere to lend some literary influence to vocalist Mike Hranica's lyrics). A sequel to 8:18's "Home for Grave" follows, an atmospheric and urgent standout that continues to flex Hranica's dabbling in fictional prose. In addition to the introspection and desolation, there are other slight changes. For those expecting Christian themes at the forefront, Transit Blues is more subtle, opting for universal ideas that can translate to fans of any faith. Also, Transit Blues is the first release without founding drummer Daniel Williams (Haste the Day's Giuseppe Antonio Capolupo filled in during recording), which hasn't changed their sound drastically, but nonetheless contributes a shift in the energy within the group. Transit Blues isn't a jarring turn for the Dayton, Ohio band, but it provides enough newly inspired touches to warrant attention in the group's catalog. ~ Neil Z. Yeung