Album Review :
The Devil Wears Prada - Dead Throne

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Artist: The Devil Wears Prada

Album: Dead Throne

Label: Ferret Records

Album Release: September 13, 2011

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

Something as a lover of bands that hinders one from really enjoying their latest album is comparing them to their former projects.  No band, or nobody in general, want to be told that something they have put their lives working on is not as good as something they did in the past.  Especially after they have grown weary of the old material since.  When I had the opportunity to review The Devil Wears Prada’s latest album, “Dead Throne”, I knew I had to get all of the other releases out of my head so I didn’t make the mistake of comparing it to every single past project.

“Dead Throne”, set to be released September 13th, 2011, blends in a lot of musical themes from “With Roots…” and “Zombie EP”. There is a definite heaviness to it which will make metal enthusiast drool, most likely because of the lower tunings they are in.  First thing that is noticed are the deep tones of the guitars. Usually when albums are done in low tunings there is a dragging sludge but The Devil Wears Prada seems to stray away from that.  There is good clarity in the guitars production wise.

My favorite part of “Dead Throne” would have to be the programming.  The way it is done on this album is the way it should be done on every album that contains a keyboardist/programmer, at least in my opinion.  For the most part it is kept at the very bottom of the tracks holding down that foundation.  However when parts call for it to be tried and true it never disappoints.  There is programming going through all of the songs from practically beginning to end.  The best parts are on R.I.T.  You get the feeling something is going on in the background but cannot put your finger on it until the first breakdown to what sounds to be a minored piano arpeggiation (correct me if wrong. It could be diminished) takes over in the guitar breaks that gives just a really creepy vibe.

A lot of “Dead Throne” after that can be hit or miss.  I am most disappointed in the vocals and melodies.  For the most part Mike holds down pretty well.  There are a lot of times however where it sounds like his voice is going out but thats Mike.  He experiments with using his actual voice to surge into screams and even punk type screaming melodies. Songs like “Dead Throne”, “Untidaled”, and “R.I.T.”

Clean vocals are what bring the album down quite a bit.  And this is where the comparisons from prior albums begin. Jeremy is a great singer but this was not the album to sing on. A lot of the parts chosen to contain clean vocals are for the most part poorly chosen leading into weak and repetitive melodies.  Songs like “Mammoth” and “My Questions” contain almost the same exact melodies.  Really weak intervals that seem to span three or four notes get boring and fall by the wayside never to be remembered ever again. Not to say that there are not any great clean moments in the album.  There are definitely one or two.  Such as songs like “Untidaled” and “Constance”. Other then that this is not an album for clean singing. I won’t get to far into lyrics but there are songs that can be considered the best TDWP has ever written and then songs where even saying the word cliche is being too nice.  But I have never found The Devil Wears Prada to write really profound lyrics to begin with.

You can hear the experimentation in the guitars through out the album.  Some leads have the heavy delay that you would hear on “With Roots…” but better in concept.  The progressions remain simple but are covered by great rhythm and chug sections spread through out the record.  TDWP have aren’t the most technically sound when it comes to guitars but “Dead Throne” contains far more mature leads and great rhythm sections then previous recordings.  Sometimes there are the typical metalcore chug sections but like I said earlier in the review, thats where the programming of James Barney comes in to play.

Best songs on “Dead Throne”: “Untildaled”, “R.I.T.”, “Forever Decay”, “Constance”.

Overall: “Dead Throne” is for the most part a great way to follow up “With Roots…” as a full length.  The parts that drag down the majority of this album are the vocals.  I love the overall heaviness and the signs of technicality but weak melody and lyric structures hurt even the best written music.  I think this album contains a lot of the best takes Mike Hranica has taken in his tenure in TDWP but contains also the clean vocals and melody that don’t pull the weight like they did on the previous records. “Dead Throne” might need a few listens, as it did for me, to find the gold nuggets and it is up to the listener to decide when they have had enough or want to continue in the “Dead Throne” journey.