Review Summary: "Glory to the patient and to those who have hope. We will not be forgotten."Progression - (n.) gradual advancement: a gradual change or advancement from one state to another.
Progression is a beautiful thing, really. To see something continue to get better and better and evolve into something groundbreaking with each thing that is accomplished. The Devil Wears Prada have always been a band that most music elitists have struggled to get into, for multiple reasons, and with good reason. They've never really been a band to separate themselves from anything any other band has ever done, making them nothing special, and really just "another band." You all know the bands I'm talking about, right? They really aren't hard to distinguish from each other.. The ones that have cheesy one liners that appear on shirts that you see at your local Hot Topic store, the chugging breakdowns that are frustratingly simple and make scenie-boppers believe that Jesus Christ is showing himself through them, the never changing "intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, breakdown, chorus" song structures, etc. The Devil Wears Prada fit almost perfectly into that regime up until the release of 2010's Zombie EP
, in which they presented themselves as a metalcore band trying to branch out and actually start to BE somebody. Zombie EP
was something that nobody expected to be and that nobody thought The Devil Wears Prada had the potential to do. While flawed, Zombie EP
was a new beginning for TDWP. Enter August of 2011, a little over a year after Zombie EP
, and you have Dead Throne
. The question that fans of the previous release, myself included, all had weighing on their minds was very simple: Where will The Devil Wears Prada go from here?
The Devil Wears Prada had said while recording this album that they wanted to have a perfect blend of the elements that made 2009's With Roots Above and Branches Below
so successful, as well as the dark and heavy vibe given off by the Zombie EP. It takes guts for a band to completely abandon the sound that got them popular in the first place, and while not COMPLETELY abandoning the With Roots
sound, they have very successfully made Dead Throne
into exactly what they wanted it to be, and exactly everything that With Roots
should have been. Just listening to the first song on the album, "Dead Throne", the progression is sewn within each dark and orchestral note played by synth player James Baney, every minor scale harmony played by guitarists Jeremy Depoyster and Chris Rubey, and every fast paced drum fill played by Daniel Williams. Just by listening to the first song, you can hear an improvement of every aspect from TDWP, especially on the vocal front. Mike Hranica has most certainly made a name for himself with the release of Dead Throne
by writing better vocal patterns, heavily Thursday
influenced yells, and dark and extremely angry, yet great, lyrics.
However, with the vast evolution of lead vocalist Mike Hranica, the award for "Most Improved Vocalist" goes to guitarist and clean vocalist Jeremy Depoyster. Jeremy used to be one of the reasons TDWP used to be so generic, with his lack of range and unpassionate lyrics randomly thrown in on top of some chord progression. On Dead Throne
, he has quite a few shining moments, most especially the chorus of the 9th track "Forever Decay." Chaotic and at breakneck speed, Jeremy Depoysters shows off the range he never showed any capability of having with his lines "What does this mean? Where did it go? All is best, all is lost." With the faster and more agressive tracks on the album (see Vengeance
, Forever Decay
, and Constance
), you also have the more melodic songs, including an instrumental track entitled "Kansas." The guitarists show off something they did quite frequently on With Roots
with ambient leads and soft melodies on tracks such as My Questions
, and Holdfast
. Mike Hranica easily has his vocal highlight on song "Chicago," with his perfectly placed yells on top of his unique high pitched scream that he's always been associated with. On this album, and on "Chicago" especially, TDWP put something into their songwriting that was severely lacked on their previous releases: passion.
It's honestly hard to say when this album is at it's strongest points. Songs such as "R.I.T." have the extremely aggressive breakdowns and quite complimentary synth leads, while songs like "My Questions" show the more melodic side of TDWP. The answer to this is when they combine those two styles into a completely instrumental track entitled "Kansas," which could very easily be the best song that TDWP has ever written. This song has an extremely atmospheric synth part played that fits near flawlessly on top of the ambient guitar leads written by Jeremy and Chris. TDWP is at their best when they step out of their comfort zone and branch out to different styles of guitar and synth writing. The eleventh track, "Constance," has what can be called the best riff that TDWP has ever written after the first chorus. "Constance" is the most consistent and quite easily the best overall song on Dead Throne
, as it also features Tim Lambesis, vocalist from metalcore outfit As I Lay Dying. Say what you want about As I Lay Dying, but Tim's low screams compliment the end of "Constance" extremely well, and makes that song one of the best that TDWP has ever put out.
So here it is: How to progress and make a name for yourself in the botomless pit known as the metalcore scene, brought to you by The Devil Wears Prada. Making Joey Sturgis step down and co-produce and letting the legendary producer Adam Dutkiewicz step up to the plate and be at the driver's seat, he most certainly made it clear that Dead Throne
marks the second step in a new beginning by TDWP, the first step being Zombie EP
. With Zombie EP
being such a deciding factor in the new dark sound that TDWP has illustrated in Dead Throne
, one can only hope that they use the same formula and progress even more with future releases.
I blame myself, and it’s not the first time. You see me for what I am: Damaged.
Turn your back now: I will bask in the blackness of my darkest days...
Vengeance, R.I.T., Kansas, Chicago, My Questions, Constance, Forever Decay.