Sound — 9
Hardcore, Metalcore, anything of the sort, has been regarded to metal elitists as a "disgrace to metal" or "untalented noise" over and over again. Although I can agree with this statement, considering the abundance of hardcore bands nowadays that put me to sleep... ...The Devil Wears Prada is one among the few hardcore bands that I consider to be the best act to come out of the scream-ridden scene. TDWP has infused the classic riffs and thrashy guitar well known to the late 80's thrash/death scene and morphed it with the melody of the common hardcore scene of today. If people listened to the music, they can actually find that the guitars are in full throttle, soaring down the road of metal. Dead Throne, their newest release, has been highly anticipated for the past year since the inception of the well-received "Zombie" EP. Trading the common hardcore for pure thrash on the EP showed fans promise of what was to come with the new record. Dead Throne shows what many fans expected, a record driven by the guitar that made Zombie so great and the melody that made previous record "With Roots Above and Branches Below" golden. The sound, instrumentally, is uncompromising and straight-foward. There is an overall sound to the record, very thick and riff-like. Mike Hranica, vocalist, has high screams that are unmatched by no other vocalist in metal, shown here. The growls we loved from "Zombie" are absent, replaced with a slightly awkward growl. No need to worry though, the listener gets used to it as the album goes on. However, the negative side to having the sound is the track listing. As silly as it sounds, I was unimpressed listening to the first part of the record because the sound is the same, showing rare melody and clean vocals from guitarist Jeremy Depoyster. Classic songs from the record like "R.I.T.", "Dead Throne", and "Mammoth" are better than the track listing treats them. By the time the second track, "Untidaled", was finished, I was bored with "Mammoth" and the songs that followed. "R.I.T." was an amazing song released as a single, however it was caught in the doldrums of the same sound that was previous. "My Questions" breaks free of the common sound that preceded it, with the gut-busting guitar riffs we love, sprinkled with the promised melody that is shown in the "Roots" album. It has added enthusiasm due to the fact that the song shows exactly what was promised by the members of the band. Following is "Kansas", the only instrumental written by the band. I fell in love with it as soon as the song started, it was perfectly placed in the middle of the track list. The song embarks on a silent, ambient journey that has only been delved into in such songs as "Louder than Thunder" (Roots), "Texas is South" (Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord) and the break to "Survivor" (Zombie). This aspect improves even more with "Chicago", a track equally as impressive instrumentally as "Kansas". "Chicago" again features the high scream of Mike and is VERY well included. The agressive vocals do not take away from the peace of the song whatsoever, and instead make it even more interesting than "Kansas", one of the better tracks in itself. "Born to Lose" is the classic single from the album. Personally, I think there are better features on the album, but this is certainly not a track to miss. Like "My Questions", the track leads you through angry vocals and guitar with a chorus that has the melody of "Roots" taken to another level. The intro is possibly the best part of the song, not to say that the rest of the tune is lesser. "Forever Decay" is heavy like predecessors "R.I.T." and "Vengeance". However, the song is eons ahead of the other two because of the slight added melody and the extreme bass by Andy Trick. Reminiscent of "Zombie" and a bit of "Plagues", this song is a standout track for any metalhead. "Constance" is also another standout for a few reasons. The song has possibly the most brutal instrumental tracking done on the album (Holdfast takes that award), the melody and vocals by DePoyster are better than ever, and the end. The end is possibly the greatest moment in the history of TDWP, for Tim Lambesis of As I Lay Dying lays down not only the most evil breakdown of TDWP, but easily the most evil moment of his career as well. If you check out one song from this record, make it this one. "Pretenders" is passable. It features some interesting composition, hinting at a bit of doom metal, but could have been passed without care. The ending song of the record is "Holdfast" and features the best riff that guitarist Chris Rubey has ever composed. It's true thrash metal, and strays nowhere near hardcore. A personal favorite of mine because of how brutal the musicianship is. The album has a unique sound to it, but at points strays from diversity and seems to sacrifice musicianship for brutality (possibly in attempt to outdo "Zombie"), however very briefly does it do so. Every other TDWP record done so far has a new sound. Doing this as a hardcore act is rare, and they have done it well. Great tracks to be had on Dead Throne. Consider this a new chapter for the band, bringing yet another new style to the table.
Lyrics — 10
TDWP is known for being one of the few christian acts on the scene, and ever since their debut of "Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord", they have achieved at writing some of the most meaningful and impressive lyrics I've read. Dead Throne does no less. The album's overall theme magnifies idolatry (the state of being when one worships a worldly object or being instead of a spiritual being, specifically Jesus Christ in this case). The religion gets in no way (it shouldn't anyways) of the diverse words used to describe the theme. The way the words were used to accompany some of the most brutal tracks TDWP has ever laid down is mind-blowing. Look to the track "Constance" if you don't believe me. Impressive lyrics by Mike Hranica, as usual.
Overall Impression — 8
The Devil Wears Prada has brought us, yet again, another classic. It is too new for me to personally say that it is better than "With Roots Above and Branches Below" yet, but that could be hard because I listen to every track from that album consistently. The album shows a bridge between "Roots" and the "Zombie" EP, which is a very amusing approach for new fans and old. Nonetheless, Dead Throne takes the throne (pun intended) as yet another classic metalcore album in the library of metal. There was a lot of potential with the first 5 tracks, but being clumped up together in the order they were in earns none of them a spot in my top 5. The top 5 songs from the album are: 1: Constance 2: Chicago 3: Kansas 4: Holdfast 5: Forever Decay DO NOT LET THE BEGINNING FOOL YOU, THE ALBUM GETS BETTER. If I owned this album (it streamed today), and had I lost it, I would by all means buy it again. Great record, beats "Plagues" and "Dear Love", and has serious potential once it releases.