The Devil Wears Prada- Dead Throne

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Devil Wears Prada sure has come a long way. When they first began the metalcore band was pretty stereotypical, and seemed to be content with offering random synthesizer bits and goofy song titles over real substance. This began to change with 2009’s With Roots Above and Branches Below and last year’s Zombie EP as the instrumentalists showcased a newfound maturity, and the ultimate result of this transformation is this year’s Dead Throne full length. The goofy song titles have been left far behind with more substantial ideas in their place and the riffs/keyboard arrangements are now focused on atmosphere and hooks, and as a result this is easily The Devil Wears Prada’s best effort to date.

While it is clear that the instrumentalists have come a long way over the past seven years, it is important to note that much of Dead Throne is still definitively metalcore. This is a genre that a lot of people like to bash, but for those of us who can still appreciate it or listeners just discovering the style I won’t hesitate to say that this album is a good representation of the more melodically inclined side of the genre. The Devil Wears Prada no longer relies extensively on breakdowns to get their point across, and while they haven’t completely gotten rid of them there is a new emphasis on building atmosphere through the guitar riffs and keyboard arrangements where breakdowns may have previously appeared. This combination of heavy and light elements makes many of the songs quite memorable, and there are a number of them still stuck in my head. I did find that the first half of the album had the tracks that had the most staying power, but as a whole the release is consistently good and demonstrates a good balance between traditional metalcore form and hook driven songwriting.

Mike Hranica has always had one of those high pitched screams that listeners either enjoy or can’t stand, and that’s still the case on Dead Throne. If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, I’d do a quick Youtube search real quick as whether or not you can appreciate his pitch may determine how much mileage you’ll get out of this album. While Hranica’s high shrieks are a prominent element, there are also low pitched growls and clean singing along with the occasional guest vocalist. Clean singing has never been The Devil Wears Prada’s strong point but they pull it off surprisingly well this time around, and I think part of it has to do with the fact that they were just able to make it fit the songs better. Rather than appearing in every song, the clean vocals appear when the instrumentals scale back towards the melodic side and this makes a big difference.

With Roots Above and Branches Below was a good album, but Dead Throne really blows it out of the water. I missed out on the Zombie EP last year so I can’t compare the two, but I can say that I wasn’t expecting this album to hook me as much as it did. If you’re still a metalcore fan and are looking for a release that has substance and isn’t just one repeating breakdown check out Dead Throne, as it’s one of the best examples of how the genre can still be relevant.

Full Disclosure: Review copy provided by HERFitz PR

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