by Donald Wagenblast, edited by Erik van Rheenen
For a band that has quietly been around for nearly a decade now, The Devil Wears Prada will never dwell on its past. Flat out refusing to play songs from its first two full lengths (2005’s Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord and 2007’s Plagues, both released on Rise Records), the band has always puts itself in a position to reimagine who they are as a band. The results have been stellar, beginning with 2009’s With Roots Above and Branches Below, progressing through the peculiar-yet-pummeling Zombie EP and, most recently and most notably, 2011’s incredible, career-changing Dead Throne.
Each of those three releases has featured the band doing things they’d never done before, whether it was Jeremy DePoyster’s vocals solely gracing “Louder Than Thunder” on With Roots, putting the band’s well-documented Christian beliefs on the backburner throughout Zombie, or perhaps their most daring creative decision yet: the crushing, powerful instrumental track “Kansas” in the middle of Dead Throne. At least over the last four years, The Devil Wears Prada has never been the type of band to rest upon its laurels. They’re much more interested in advancing as musicians, refining their art, and keeping things fresh for those fearless enough to come along for the ride. Much like its predecessors, the band’s fifth full-length 8:18 follows suit in pushing the band’s creative scope outward, and providing another side to take in the argument of which work is the band’s best.
And it begins with an eerie synth arrangement provided by Jon Gering, the band’s new synth-op. Gering replaces the beloved James Baney, an essential cog in the machine of the band’s live sets. Gering’s synth contributions aren’t as in-your-face as Baney’s were, as he (and the band) opt for the synths and keys to provide more of a backdrop for the guitars of Chris Rubey and DePoyster, the bass of Andy Trick, and Daniel Williams’ drums. Gering’s contribution to 8:18 will likely not be talked about as much as the performances around him, but he certainly deserves credit for filling in successfully for a fan favorite, and finding a way to make his own impact on the band’s music, especially on “Care More” (which is his moment to shine), the album’s title track, and “Black and Blue.”