The Devil Wears Prada
12 September 2011
by Danny Montana
Let’s talk about progression. Even as recently as 2009, the American sextet had wacky song titles which bore no relation to the subject matter. The Devil Wears Prada may have been making some stunningly technical metalcore but they were a joke. It’s time to stop laughing.
Last year’s Zombie EP brought a new sound to the TDWP table. It was big, it was brutal and almost above all else, they’d lost the madcap titles. It started to make sense. After success with their last three albums, Dead Throne is their chance to take the metalcore crown, rule the kingdom of mosh and throw some orbs or whatever other majestically inclined metaphors you want to use.
What’s striking about this record is how utterly sinister it is. From the stomping intro of the title track which opens the album to the atmospheric opening riffs of ‘Vengeance’. That all the songs hover around the three-minute mark just adds to the urgency of the album. It’s like they’re running towards their impending doom or into battle or TO THEIR DEATH. That’s probably what they’re going for. It’s pretty sinister.
Mike Hranica’s vocals have never sounded this good. Getting help from A Day To Remember’s Jeremy McKinnon was a bold but effective move. You’ll struggle to find a moment where he’s not hitting the exact note he needs to. Whether it be those high-pitched squeals or the thunderous growls, he’s exceptional at both. Even the introduction of As I Lay Dying’s Tim Lambesis on ‘Constance’ doesn’t take away from his performance.
Producing with Adam Dutkiewicz means that while the brutality remains fully intact, the clarity and tone of the guitars has been polished up in a similar fashion to Hranica’s vocals. Guitarist and songwriter, Chris Rubey swings some stunning riffs in ‘Constance’ and ‘Mammoth’ but there’s a general sense of cohesion about the album that comes from having an assured source of songs. The fact that he’s become comfortable writing heavier songs is clearly a weight off his shoulders. (No pun intended this time.)
There are riffs galore but there’s also balance. Take the gentle tones of ‘Kansas’ for instance. Menacing, slowed-down riffs make way for keyboards and no vocals. It doesn’t need them. It’s curious that the other song named after a place, ‘Chicago’ is equally ominous-sounding. Along with ‘Mammoth’ these were the only songs written and recorded together as a band in one room. It’s a curious and welcome alternative.
With their fourth album, The Devil Wears Prada have cemented their position at the forefront of the genre. Make no mistake: Dead Throne is not only one of the best metalcore releases of 2011, it’s one of the best heavy albums of this year, fullstop.
Sounds like: they grew up and got HEAVY, August Burns Red, Suicide Silence
Top tracks: Mammoth, Dead Throne, Constance
The Devil Wears Prada – Dead Throne tracklisting:
Born to Lose
Constance (featuring Tim Lambesis)