Sound — 9
The Devil Wears Prada have always been a defining force in modern metalcore. From their first Rise release (Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord) to their last Ferret E.P. (Zombie), their sound has been constantly changing. Dead Throne marks a total overhaul from previous works yet again, bringing something almost refreshing and new. Gone are the copious amounts of breakdowns (though they still exist in moderation), the heavy reliance on clean vocals, and generally higher tunings (this outing is completely in Drop-B). The opener, Dead Throne, sets the listener up for what to expect from this release, easing through a fading intro into a full out attack from every aspect of the band. The tone doesn't let up soon, either. Untidaled's crunchy intro riff and delay ridden bridge are among TDWP's heaviest and most impressive lines, and even a clean sung chorus doesn't let up on the assault. Mammoth straight out grooves through metal ferocity and punk energy. Vengeance shows a return to older work, with more octaves and clean vocal work, only to be overridden by the standout, R.I.T., which could be TDWP's heaviest track ever. My Questions, while not so much of a standout, boasts one hell of a catchy chorus, and leads into one of the album's biggest surprises: Kansas, a 3 1/2 minute instrumental highlighting the vast amount of musical maturity this band has undertaken. The first single, Born To Lose, rocks some interesting guitar leads and crunchy riffs, but kind of falls short compared to the other tracks. Forever Decay boasts an intro riff the likes of As I Lay Dying, and segues into ferocious drum bombardments and subtly haunting keyboard flourishes. Chicago boasts impressive, semi-clean delay work, building into a wall of sound cleanly and efficiently. Constance is a mid-tempo grove-fest, relying mostly on riffs and a few interesting leads. Pretenders is the closest thing to a standard metalcore track this album sports, being almost completely carried by breakdowns. The closing track, Holdfast closes the album on a semi-upbeat tone, being carried mostly by delayed leads and crunchy backing riffs.
Lyrics — 9
"Back for the fourth time around, and still meaning every word," Mike loudly proclaims on Untidaled, and he definitely means it. His lyrical delivery on Dead Throne is both passionate and aggressive, loving and spiteful. His lyrics back a vicious punch, and almost never let up. The topics range from materialism ("There is no solace, there is no alleviation in all our money, or within her golden teeth" - Mammoth), the harshness of the world ( "I'm born to lose with a noose around my neck/ World be damned and move forward" - Born To Lose), and substance abuse ("Is this what you've worked for? Running your false empire into the ground/ what is this substance that made your very own morals change?" - Vengeance). Vocally, the band has some new tricks up their sleeves. Mike has extended his range from the simple high-low-high-low to incorporate mids and an almost hardcore punk-ish bark. Guitarist and clean vocalist Jeremy DePoyster sings more confidently than ever, finally finding his comfort zone vocally, which he happens to share with Jeremy McKinnon of A Day To Remember, who helped craft some of the clean melodies on the album.
Overall Impression — 9
Dead Throne is metalcore done correctly. Never boring, always progressive, and as melodious as it is blisteringly heavy. The sheer amount of improvement from the band's debut is staggering, and leaves one almost skeptical that this could be the same band. This release definitely solidifies The Devil Wears Prada's name amongst metalcore greats. While not as technical as acts such as Killswitch Engage, TDWP's sludgy, riffy style has, and will continue, to influence imitators. Yet, no matter how many copy cat bands emerge in the scene there's only one The Devil Wears Prada. For fans of: As I Lay Dying, Texas In July, For Today Standout tracks: R.I.T., Dead Throne, Kansas