Chuck Schuldiner Project

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dead Throne-The Devil Wears Prada

Devil Wears Prada is back and they are still Christian metal lords. Their new album is chock full of roaring guitars and soaring solos. The rhythm section is tight as usual with their harsh attack. James Baney plays the keyboards and gives Devil Wears Prada a new level of symphony that they didn't have on their previous records. The vocals of Mike Hranica and Jeremy DePoyster are both excellent and provide nice contrast. Devil Wears Prada continues their morally positive lyrical themes on this record. TDWP proves that they can still produce sick songs 4 albums into their career and they show no signs of letting up. All in all this is a really tight TDWP album with an extremely strong guitar sound.

The first thing that struck me about this album is the sheer attack and a key example of this attack is found in the guitar assault. From the first mind ripping riff of “Dead Throne” you can tell that this is going to be a fun guitar album. And you are not disappointed. There are some nice metalcore solos on this record, but nothing is amazingly mindblowing or explosive. In fact the few solos that there are almost hidden under huge rhythm parts. Yet the sheer attack found in the rhythm section is brilliant. An advantage to this album is that the riffs are a lot more listenable than on previous records. In other words on this disc the guitar riffs have a huge attack but the riffs are a lot more fun than on previous releases like With Roots Above and Branches Below.

The rhythm section is also responsible for a good portion of the attack. The role of bassist Andy Trick has been vastly increased with sick bass parts in songs like “Untidaled” and “Pretenders”. Have really fallen in love with his bass work and would love to hear more from him especially in tracks like “Chicago” where he could provide so much more. The drums of Daniel Williams are excellent. I love how he provides some tasty fills during the breakdowns. Speaking of breakdowns this album actually uses a lot fewer than previous TDWP efforts. However on this record they are better placed and a lot nicer.

The keyboards of James Baney have really advanced in level and have become a lot more fun to listen too. James provides a lot more symphonic keyboard work on this album than on previous efforts. Yet he takes on a more dominant role in tracks like “Kansas” and “R.I.T” two of my favorite songs from the album. Here his great keyboard chops add a nice lead instrumental part to the music and add a melodic feel to the music. During the breakdowns his keyboard parts make the music seem epic in scale. My one issues with the keyboard is that in some tracks it could be more present and I feel that on their next release TDWP should feature even more of Baney's keyboard work. In short Baney's keyboard chops have only evolved since the last record and they come across better than ever here bringing TDWP to a whole new level.

Mike Hranica has really out done himself vocally on this one. He can shriek and growl extremely well and can mix shrieks and growls amazingly well often in the same couplet. You get an image of him as a dark figure off in the distance spreading his beautifully bleak music across the world. Hranica really has advanced. Yet he is not the most improved member of the group, that would be our friend James DePoyster. His voice has evolved so much and its gotten to the point that he could very easily front his own band. He has become a new spirit for TDWP and is proof that they have plenty of places to advance to.

The lyrics on this record are excellent. They show a lot of evolution from the days of “Spongebob Grindpants”. Now their lyrics are much more evolved and complex. One of my favorite verses is from “Born to Lose” it runs “You don't know what you need/We're all so back and forth/Nothing is as it seems/You don't know what you need/We make the same mistakes/We've ruined everything.” This shows true evolution from the old days of TDWP. This band has really broken through lyrically. My sole issue is that these lyrics are a bit too focused on idolatry and I feel that TDWP could have much more intelligent lyrics if they diversified a bit more.

All in all The Devil Wears Prada has fulfilled every expectation. As they had previously announced, this is their heaviest and most intelligent album. They have really made it for me. This is it for TDWP. They have really broken through. The guitars are heavy and crunchy, with a few decent solos. The bass has a HUGE roll and great fills that do not fail to impress. The drums are solid and very well done. To round out the instruments, the keyboard is good and symphonic adding a nice feel to this band's sound. The vocals are excellent and the clean vocals have really progressed. Finally the lyrics are intelligent and TDWP is no longer a dumb metalcore band, but instead a much more cultured one. To finish, this album ROCKS! Go check it out folks. 

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