The Devil Wears Prada – Dead Throne – Review

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Dayton, Ohio metalcore veterans The Devil Wears Prada have been hard at work over the last few years — releasing the well-received and ear-punishing full-length, “With Roots Above and Branches Below,” and successfully holding eager fans at bay for new material with their gritty conceptual extended play, “Zombie EP.” So when they found time to record their latest effort, in between the endless touring cycle, it was a no-brainer to enlist elite shredder Adam D. (Killswitch Engage) to help the band with production, a notable deviation from completely relying on Joey Sturgis for recording and mixing duties. Either way, this sextuplet has garnered mountainous praise and a very loyal following, and with their senior album, entitled “Dead Throne,” they have brought us not only one of the most brutal records of the bands career, but also one of the more complex.

The album opener “Dead Throne” takes off where the “Zombie EP” left off, leading in with an ominous background drum-beat intro, then crowning with a set of jarring down-tuned fretwork, swift chugging riffs, and sharp orchestral strings. We praised The Devil Wears Prada on their recent EP for the use of James Baney‘s haunting keyboard ambiance and savage guitars, both of which matched Mike Hranica‘s piercing shouts and rumbling growls very well, and that continues here. The formula then takes a different turn with the melodic duo tracks, “Mammoth” and “Vengeance,” which sections off choruses and verses for Jeremy DePoyster to showcase his contrasting clean vocals as well as allowing for more intricate guitar compositions to step out of the harsh riffage and effects ridden haze they like to stay in. Jeremy isn’t the only one to add vocals depth to this effort, as Hranica has also honed a range of mid-growls and assisting shouts (played behind clean vox), to finally get rid of the “barking dog” vocals that many people felt his voice turned into by the end of any album.

A general consensus from the band is that, “Dead Throne,” is much less neanderthal then their previous efforts, having Mike add, “our early material was dumb, plain and simple, and moving away from that, I think we’ve grown into smarter, more creative riffs, along with easier to follow songs. It’s things like that that mark the evolution of TDWP.” This is definitely true with their previous full-length, and this new diversified direction (along with the production perfectionism of Adam D.) has lead the band to embrace not only the brutality that has garnered many feverish fans, but also the atmospheric melody that comes with progression and maturity. A point that comes to a head with the tracks, “My Questions,” which lays down some of the most smooth and melodic riffs the band has ever ventured, and the ethereal pedal effects and unearthly instrumentation of “Kansas.

Sure the album’s message speaks of preachy anti-idolism, the band still prays in a talent-gushing huddle before every show, and the groups new logo isn’t slick enough to hide the three crosses of Golgotha, but…..this album, much like Underoath‘s “Lost In The Sound Of Separation” — which introduced an atmospheric dredging metalcore to their otherwise completely upbeat post-hardcore — completely overshadows the groups previous material, evolves with improved precision and technique, and shoves all of the bands cookie cutter copies peers off the competing genre desk, similar to the pens, notebooks, and lamps relocated during all the premarital office sex these guys aren’t having. You’ve been put on notice bands like Miss May I, Asking Alexandria, and, Attack Attack!; chug-fests and mimicking vomiting as vocals simply aren’t enough anymore.

Seasoned fans of The Devil Wears Prada and passionate lovers of technical metalcore will find “Dead Throne” leaving a very deep impression. Transcending their humble roots and simple post-hardcore, TDWP has released one of the most complete and trans-versing records this year.  Also, who ever thought “perfectionism” and “evolving” could be words used in the same review to describe a Christian outfit, I’m suffocating on all the irony in the room. [Staff]

Score: 4.5 (out of 5)

Release Date: September 13th, 2011
Record Label: Ferret Music
Genre: Metalcore

RIYL: Attack Attack!, August Burns Red, Underoath

Track Listing:
1. Dead Throne
2. Untidaled
3. Mammoth
4. Vengeance
5. R.I.T.
6. My Questions
7. Kansas
8. Born To Lose
9. Forever Decay
10. Chicago
11. Constance
12. Pretenders
13. Holdfast

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