‘Metalcore Dropouts’ dropped in

Mike Hranica belted into the mic as Jeremy DePoyster sang backup and strummed the guitar in the background. The two have been in “The Devil Wears Prada” since 2005. // Photo by Sloan Salinas Student Publications

As September turns to October and fall arrives, the air turns cooler, leaves change colors and, for rock music fans, calendars fill up with show dates of bands beginning their fall tour season. On Sunday, Oct. 8, Heaven at the Masquerade filled with people ready to see metalcore heavyweights The Devil Wears Prada and
Fit For A King. 

The Atlanta stop on the “Metalcore Dropouts” Tour, a co-headliner between the two bands, sold out the largest of the three venue spaces at the Masquerade. Supporting them as show openers were LANDMVRKS — all the way from Marseille, France — along with Connecticut natives, Currents.

While it is standard for alternative music shows to have two to three opening bands, co-headliners often only have to divide the headlining time evenly between the two main acts. The Devil Wears Prada and Fit For A King had 13 songs on their respective setlists, ensuring that both bands got equal time onstage and equal love
from the audience. 

Another common trait of co-headlining shows is the interchanging order in which the headliners perform each night. At the Atlanta date, The Devil Wears Prada was the first of the two, with Fit For A King performing after. This also meant Fit For A King would play the show’s encore song as part of their setlist. 

Following the opening acts, the house lights went down, eliciting a cheer from the packed crowd. The only light from the stage was a faint red illuminating the white letters “tdwp” on a cloth backdrop. The silhouettes of the six-person band strolled out, taking their respective places around the stage. 

The Devil Wears Prada, originally from Ohio, was formed in 2005 and was named for the book by the same name. The founding members were all practicing Christians and reportedly based much of their music’s themes on their religious values — specifically anti-materialism. This led to their music being classified as “Christian Metal,” in addition to metalcore. 

Now, 18 years into their career, the band has not marketed itself as a religion-based band in a long time, as many of the current members do not identify as Christians (according to lead guitarist Kyle Sipress). 

The band has released eight studio albums, with their most recent, “Color Decay,” dropping in September 2022. Most of their lead vocals are done by Mike Hranica, along with Jeremy DePoyster, who also plays rhythm guitar. 

In addition to the standard stage lights, the stage was outfitted with vertical LED cylinders that lit up in various colors (often red), patterns and degrees of brightness.  

They began their set on Sunday night with “Exhibition,” a song from “Color Decay.” The energy was instant, and it didn’t take long for a pit to form in the center of the floor. This would be the first of many throughout the night. 

For the rest of their time onstage, The Devil Wears Prada catered to fans new and old, playing primarily from Color Decay but also pulling from five other albums. They closed their set with a song called “Hey John, What’s Your Name Again?”’ which was from their 2007 album “Plagues.” It was the oldest song they played. 

Throughout their 13 songs, neither the band nor the crowd lost stamina, even during “slower” songs like “Broken” and “Chemical.” Whether people were moshing, crowd surfing or just singing along, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. 

As a fun “intermission” after The Devil Wears Prada, during the preparation for Fit For A King, a giant beach ball was released into the audience and was met with much delight. People cheered if the ball ever reached the balcony level, and they booed when security eventually removed it before the next band. 

Fit For A King started strong with “Annihilation” from their 2020 album “The Path.” Like The Devil Wears Prada, they also utilized the upright LEDs in front of a cloth backdrop with the band name written in near-illegible —  but classic — metal band font. 

The Texas-based band has been around nearly as long as their co-headliners, having formed in 2007. Since then, they have released seven studio albums, with the most recent, “The Hell We Create,” coming out in October 2022. 

Their setlist stretched across five different albums, the oldest being the title track of their album “Slave to Nothing.” If there is anything that the five-member group wanted known, it was that they liked things rowdy. 

The lead vocalist Ryan Kirby encouraged every kind of pit and, during one song, told the crowd he wanted to see as many people crowd surfing as possible. He charged those who weren’t crowd surfing with helping anyone who wanted to crowd surf do so.  

After playing “When Everything Means Nothing” as their “last song,” the band announced that they were not going to leave the stage between the regular set and the encore; it did not make sense for them to leave the stage if they were already there. 

Instead, they launched into their encore song, “God of Fire,” prompting a huge “wall of death,” which is a particular kind of mosh pit in which the crowd splits in two to create a large empty space through the center before both sides run at each other, slamming into one another. Though it sounds dangerous, no one gets seriously injured, and everyone looks out for one another. Moshers make sure not to involve any audience members who do not want to be involved and hastily pick up anyone who falls down. 

The song concluded with bassist Ryan “Tuck” O’Leary and guitarist Daniel Gailey crowd surfing along the front of the venue, their instruments held out above them. The “Metalcore Dropouts” tour was packed with heavy vocals and instrumentals, intense energy and passionate fans. 

If The Devil Wears Prada and Fit For A King proved anything, it is that they definitely did not drop out of metal.