The Devil Wears Prada
Dead Throne


2.5
average

Review

by Caleb McAlpine USER (108 Reviews)
August 26th, 2011 | 1433 replies | 86,418 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Moving just a bit higher on the metalcore food-chain.

40 of 45 thought this review was well written

To borrow a line straight from the horse's mouth, Dead Throne is an album made by a band that used to play "dumb, plain and simple" metalcore. The band is, for better or worse, The Devil Wears Prada and the horse in question is the shrieking lead vocalist Mike Hranica - a man who in the same interview promised that Dead Throne was a huge evolution for the band. He, like countless other misinformed metalcore vocalists before him, said that his band's latest record would simultaneously be their heaviest and most intelligent album to date. So, while nobody thats into music is unfamiliar with a band mistakenly (or dishonestly) hyping up their latest record as their "heaviest", it might catch you off guard to hear that Hranica was on-the-ball with his assessment - Dead Throne moves away from a lot of cliches the band had been perpetuating and is, without a doubt, both their best and their most aggressive album to date. It turns out however, that Hranica was right not only about the band making their heaviest album yet but he also was bang-on mentioning that his band had played boring, "dumb" metalcore. They've done nothing but be a bad Underoath leech for their entire career; "dumb" metalcore truly couldn't be a better moniker. It's this context - The Devil Wears Prada's history of ultimate dumb-ness - that gives my accolade of 'Best The Devil Wears Prada Album Ever!' a little less reason to celebrate. While Dead Throne is a shocking and impressive progression for a band many thought were condemned to a history of meatheaded breakdowns and obnoxious, whiny choruses, it turns out the future isn't so bleak for Hranica and his boys - instead, we're treated to meatheaded breakdowns with a nifty riff or two and a side of obnoxious but-slightly-less-whiny choruses. This is 2011, after all.

The problem is, for all their shiny new down-tuned riffs and fancy production, the band still hasn't given up on metalcore's most cherished staple: there's nary one song on Dead Throne that doesn't proudly feature a two-note, palm-muted breakdown. Sure, the guitar tones are better this time around and on the odd occasion, one of the breakdowns will actually be awesome (see the middle of 'R.I.T' or 'My Questions') but the majority never manage to find more than two dissonant notes on the fretboard. It's not even an issue of 'metalcore is bad because breakdowns are bad' anymore (there are good breakdowns here), it's an issue of needing to break out of the palm-muted mould this decade has created - The Devil Wears Prada prove barely capable of this. Jeremy DePoyster's whiny, overproduced clean vocals don't help much either - they're still stuck in a time where Underoath's They're Only Chasing Safety was the be-all-end-all to catchy songwriting and Dead Throne suffers from a series of fatally cheesy As I Lay Dying-aping choruses (see 'Mammoth'). The saddest thing is that DePoyster's moments on the record all come at times when a recess from Hranica's barking is more than needed - DePoyster just never satisfies the thirst.

Hranica's vocals, however, have come a long way since 2009's With Roots Above and Branches Below. Where he was the weakest link in the band's arsenal of mediocrity, he's now more than decent and quite surprisingly versatile. His lows are no longer empty and hollow sounding, his highs are only slightly grating and he's adopted a Spencer Chamberlain-esque yelling vocal style that provides much needed dynamic to his songs (see 'Vengeance' for a taste). The band's instrumental section took a few leaps and bounds too - a lot of innovative passages pop up now and again, such as the rolling snare and eerie riff combination that opens 'Vengeance'. Whether or not it leads into another hideous, boring breakdown is irrelevant (it does); the band is learning to create some pretty cool sounds collectively. 'R.I.T.' starts off with a groovy Inhale Exhale-esque riff that is pretty fun, all things considered, and the low tuning heavy riffs hit as hard as the high, plucked leads hold interest. 'Chicago' and 'Kansas' even decide to turn off the distortion for a moment (thank you August Burns Red for lending your clean tones), sculpting spacey guitar lines that rely on the delay and effects to hold intention rather than the licks themselves. The former song even forbids itself to ever trying a tempo switch or awkward transition and plugs away at a consistent tempo that slowly builds itself into a suitably epic, if short-lived, climax. And even if 'Kansas', the album's only instrumental, doesn't manage to be the best song on the album (a cheesy spoken word part in the middle saves it from that honour), the band at least managed to make 'Constance' the lone song on Dead Throne that is enjoyable from beginning to end. There's a few off-kilter riffs, a killer guest vocal spot by As I Lay Dying's Tim Lambesis in the band's heaviest moments and a catchy, if simple, opening riff. It's not a song out to change lives or even be impressive in the context of the scene as a whole but it's definitely the best Dead Throne has to offer and pretty damn impressive knowing that this band was writing 'HTML Rulez d00d' only a few years back.

Yet in the end, The Devil Wears Prada are a few too many cliche punk beats and cheesy synth keyboard lines away from being taken seriously. While the band, and Hranica especially, have improved as a whole and moved a few steps up the proverbial ladder, they're still leagues away from making something consistent. Dead Throne will satisfy casual fans of the band's style and will thrill fans of the band's Zombie EP but will sadly do little more than raise the eyebrows of the previously unconvinced. Dead Throne is a band simply breaking out of it's bland cocoon and spreading it's mosh-pit wings - but this butterfly just ain't ready to fly just yet. But hey, at least you did better than August Burns Red this year, guys!



Recent reviews by this author
The Oh Hellos Through The Deep, Dark ValleyDan Mangan Oh Fortune
The Decemberists Long Live the KingThe Reign Of Kindo Rhythm, Chord & Melody
Antoine Dufour ConvergencesThe Head And The Heart The Head And The Heart
user ratings (915)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • P.J. Quinones (4)
    The best we could expect....

    averyheath (4)
    All in all, this album is the best TDWP album to date. They have worked and progressed and...

    mas westman (4.5)
    "Glory to the patient and to those who have hope. We will not be forgotten."...

    YetAnotherBrick (2.5)
    Improvement doesn't mean that much when you weren't that good to begin with. Oh, and this ...

  • taxidermist (3.5)
    A huge step up from one of the most inconsistent bands in the metalcore scene....

    Joseph F. Smith (4)
    If they can pull this off, why can't the rest of their bro-down brethren?...


Comments:Add a Comment 
YetAnotherBrick
August 26th 2011



4319 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i was about to write a 2.5 review...whatever. even though this is probably significantly better than my review will be, i'm still gonna write one. haha

Digging: Battles - Mirrored

Waior
August 26th 2011



11421 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

don't let me stop you!

and if i needed a quote to accompany this review, i'll steal from the ineffable britta perry: "Maybe, if you put stain remover on a turd, you don’t get a diamond. You just get a turd, with less direction in life.”



Durrzo
August 26th 2011



1029 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is an accurate review... one that this album really needed. Too many fanboys reviewing it at the moment. Only thing I disagree with is comparing Mike to Spencer Chamberlain in any way at all.

Waior
August 26th 2011



11421 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

he doesn't sound alike to chamberlain, no, but when he's doing that yelling tripe, i don't really question where he gets his influence from knowing how much this band loves underoath...

Durrzo
August 26th 2011



1029 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oooh okay.

cinaedus
August 26th 2011



26204 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"they've improved, but i'll still give it a 2.5"

RosaParks
August 26th 2011



14592 Comments


aoty

Waior
August 26th 2011



11421 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

lakes: that would make sense given that this is average, yes

Toadstool
August 26th 2011



134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Awesome review. Mike has for sure improved. And even though breakdowns are over used in the Metalcore genre, when Prada does them (at least now) they are enjoyable and fit the song and aren't just random. They wouldn't be Prada without some chug chug breakdowns here and there.

cinaedus
August 26th 2011



26204 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

waior: pretty sure you gave the same rating to with roots and branches, so saying they've improved is practically meaningless

IrishJay91
August 26th 2011



688 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

imo Hranica is more than slightly grating and i think the yelling style vocals might just be is voice breaking down but anyway good review.

Relinquished
August 26th 2011



22391 Comments


you remember those december days waior back in 09

Waior
August 26th 2011



11421 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

pretty sure i rated their other album when i was 15 so check again

it's a 2

such waior the days relinque

cinaedus
August 26th 2011



26204 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol

anyway, i'll listen to this and form my own opinion.

bloc
August 26th 2011



34499 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Looking forward to hearing this

Digging: He Is Legend - I Am Hollywood

fromtheinside
August 26th 2011



16419 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

You also liked Colors back then too!

Digging: Lord Mantis - Death Mask

JAXETA
August 26th 2011



741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

why would they put this review as the main one?

cinaedus
August 26th 2011



26204 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

CONTRIBUTORS RULE ALL

TheBloodTypo
August 26th 2011



757 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I thought taxidermist's was the main one? Every time I click the album, his pops up, not this one.

cinaedus
August 26th 2011



26204 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

you guys are just jaded by junz, this is great



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy