Review: The Devil Wears Prada’s ‘Color Decay’ Packs an Emotional Punch

Album cover courtesy of Solid State Records.

Album cover courtesy of Solid State Records.

Color Decay is the eighth studio album from the metalcore band The Devil Wears Prada. The album was released on September 16, 2022, through Solid State Records. The album’s title comes from the idea of someone’s life draining away from them, and it beautifully achieves this vision.

“There’s certainly many notions of letdown throughout the record,” vocalist Mike Hranica wrote in the record’s description. “I thought the visual of something losing its color was apt for this collection of songs.”

Some songs are musically heavy, while other songs are emotionally heavy. The album contains twelve tracks, and each one is an emotional gut punch.

“Exhibition” opens the album and is one of the faster songs on the album, but it lets the electronic side of the band shine. The harmonies here are also great, and the chorus uses clean vocals from guitarist Jeremy DePoyster. The breakdown is heavy, and it’s overall a solid track that fits the album well.

The third single released before the album was “Salt.” The drums here are hard-hitting, and the chorus is one of my favorites on the record. The melodies are also top-notch, as well as the lead guitar work. The song is about dealing with stagnation after attempting to move forward. These are some of my favorite lyrics: “It’s the sort of feeling that makes you question every move you’ve ever made. Soon we realized that this feeling of fighting, only to be stagnant and held down, applies to so much more in our lives.”

“Watchtower” was the second single released off Color Decay, and it’s the shortest song on the album at just under 3 minutes. During that time, however, the band wastes no time. Another great chorus is very catchy, and the guitar work is also excellent. The synths here are also really good, especially the section before the breakdown, and the breakdown itself is also another great one. The song is a good blend of the band’s old sound, as well as the newer sound they developed with their previous album, The Act.

The band plays a standout riff on “Noise,” partially due to its great use of harmonics, but the rest of the song is solid too. The chorus is another good one, and the drums are excellent, especially during the pre-chorus.

“The idea of ‘Noise’ is basically the striving for success, or maybe striving for popularity, or to see a goal through,” the band wrote on the record’s cover. “But it’s also about the anxiety that comes with the vulnerability of putting yourself out there, and just all of life’s complications. Or really, I think, when it comes to doing much of anything, especially in the creative world.”

“Broken” was the final single released before the album came out. The song primarily features guitarist Jeremy DePoyster, but Mike also supplies background vocals at points. This song is definitely a stadium staple, with its huge chorus and melodic open bridge section. The instrumentals are also remarkable, and the harmonies between both vocalists during the chorus are done really well.

The most metalcore-sounding song on the album is called “Sacrifice,” which is also the record’s lead single. Vocalist Mike Hranica shines here, singing high screams and low growls. However, the best part of the song is definitely the breakdown near the end of the song. It comes out of nowhere and is a highlight.

“What’s funny about the song is that the breakdown at the end has gone off really well live, but I think Jon created it almost as a joke,” Hranica wrote on the record. “It’s the most obnoxious, obvious breakdown you could have, but it’s actually been amazing. It’s a really fun song to play live too.”

“Trapped” is mostly a softer song, but it has a large chorus that stands out in a good way. There’s also a guitar solo later in the song, which is definitely a nice touch. Overall, it’s a very pretty song that has a very emotional meaning behind it.

“Obviously, a lot of the album comes across as being the victim,” Mike wrote. “But in this song, the idea I played with was getting over the honeymoon phase of a relationship, when things are starting to get more real, and the mental health qualms that we all face and what not, and basically just trying to be there for someone that’s having a bad sort of attack.”

The fourth single, “Time,” has a fantastic riff that plays throughout the song. The track is also a good mix of heavy and soft parts. Its structure is all over the place, but in a very good way. Each verse and chorus sounds different from one another. The song itself is about the passing of time, and how time can go by without you even realizing it and how slow it can also be; how one week can feel like it went by quickly, then the next week feels like an eternity.

“Twenty-Five” builds up over time, and leads to a loud emotional chorus at the end. The song is very emotional, especially to the band themselves. Mike wrote this song describing his broken relationship with a significant other, and their breakup.

“When I heard the music for this, I felt like it was obvious that it was my kind of breakup song. I had a number of them back on Dead Throne, one of our earlier records,” Mike wrote. “The other guys quite like this one, but it’s a song I never wish to hear again. With a song like ‘Broken,’ there could be some kind of release or getting something off your chest. But for me, there’s never been a song closer to me or harder for me to get through. I hope to god I never have to play it live for an entire tour.”

A track leaning more into the pop elements is “Fire,” but it’s also a slower song.

“This came out of an instrumental that Jon and Jeremy have been playing for quite a while,” according to Mike. “I think Jon came up with most of the lyrics. There’s a lot of different pop elements that he implied, and it definitely speaks to his taste and range as a musician. We’ve had slower, jammier tunes like ‘Fire’ throughout our career, but I think this one is more of a standout.”

The electronic elements in the song are really nice, and it adds to the feel of the song.

“Hallucinate” is one of the heaviest songs on the record, and there is a great breakdown closer to the end of the song; it’s one of the best on the record. The chorus here is also great, but is also very simple.

Lyrically, the song takes inspiration from a book that Mike had read: “I was reading a book called The Morning Star by Karl Knausgaard. The premise is a number of different characters’ perspectives and viewpoints on the same event. One of the characters is a nurse, and she’s dealing with a patient that has a brain tumor. When the tumor expands, it presses against the brain and causes hallucinations. The music was an instrumental left over from ZII, our last EP. It felt very industrial, and it seemed to fit with lyrics about a victim of these terrible hallucinations.”

There are a lot of interesting effects used throughout, which adds to the feel of the song.

“Cancer” is the most emotional and depressing song on the album. It offers an interesting perspective on how people view the deaths of people they look up to. The instrumentals add to the emotion presented in the song, and there is a beautiful piano melody that plays throughout. The lyrics describe a person reacting to someone they love being diagnosed with cancer, and how the person might hope that it’s true because they can’t take any more bad news, and they hope their loved one dies peacefully rather than due to a tragic event or suicide.

The narrator of the song expresses their feelings of dread and fear, feeling overwhelmed by the thought of what they might have to endure and how the life of the person they love has been flipped upside down. At the end of the song, an acoustic guitar fades out. It’s a perfect way to end such an emotional album.

Overall, Color Decay is one of the best albums of 2022. The emotions are strong, the instrumentals are strong, and every member of the band gives it their all.