The Devil Wears Prada

Album Review: The Devil Wears Prada – Dead Throne

Metalcore hasn’t been cool since the mid 2000’s, so to be seen releasing an album very comfortably within that genre in 2011 is a sign of either stupidity or bravery. Not to mention that every time The Devil Wears Prada’s name crops up, there is almost an obligation to note that they are a “Christian band.” To me, the idea of a Christian band implies preaching and gospels. To new fans, you will find neither here. To existing fans, this album may surprise you.

When a band says they are releasing their “heaviest and most aggressive album to date” it’s easy to doubt them – usually it’s just a way of generating some pre-release buzz. But on “Dead Throne” The Devil Wears Prada have accomplished exactly that. The opening title track is a double-bass drum, screaming statement of intent. The trademark synths that appear halfway through the song feel completely natural over the galloping down-tuned riffs, over which gang-vocals howl and antagonise. Not a clean-vocal hook in sight.

“Untidaled” continues what “Dead Throne” started, with a pounding, immediate drum intro and the first proper breakdown of the album. It also heralds the first sign of clean-vocals on the album which are backed by brutal blastbeats, making sure that the energy never relents or makes way for clichéd melodic choruses.

Until “Mammoth” that is, when a (ahem) mammoth-sized chorus is forgiven for being clichéd because it is so bloody good. The structure of “Mammoth” may be textbook metalcore (heavy verse, light chorus, breakdown), but when it’s executed this well, there isn’t a complaint to be had.

It’s easy to see why “R.I.T.” has recently been released as a single: massive riffs with technical proficiency, breakdowns that actually make sense in the context of the song, haunting piano interludes, and a chorus that will raise fists in the air every time it is performed live.

There is a downside to all this brutality. Aggressive and passionate stuff this may be, but it can get a bit repetitive at times, especially during the middle section of the album. It’s a small complaint, especially since when you buy a metalcore album, metalcore is what you expect, and “Dead Throne” has it in abundance. Only one track on the album runs longer than three-and-a-half minutes, so no song overstays its welcome.

More importantly, while there is a lull in quality mid-way, things improve tenfold towards the end. “Pretenders” is easily my favourite track here – a slow-starter that eventually erupts into a chugging riff with exceptional drumming, urgent-sounding yells and hooks, and sums up everything that The Devil Wears Prada can excel in when they get it right.

After the successful “Zombie EP” it was important that The Devil Wears Prada sustained the momentum it created. For the most part, mission accomplished.

Rating 8/10

     

About Scott Wilson

Having spent the last twenty years of his life telling his friends his opinion of the latest release by every band he has ever heard of, Scott is an enthusiastic journalist and keen writer. A fan of every genre of music, though his heart firmly belongs to rock, he has been spending far too much money on gigs and not enough on digs. Reachable by either email or Twitter where copious amounts of commentating and general excitement can also be found.

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