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Devil Wears Prada:
Forget everything you knew about The Devil Wears Prada.
The technically proficient, guitar-driven American metal that you’ll hear on the band’s fourth studio album Dead Throne is bigger and more balanced than what was contended with on 2009’s breakthrough offering With Roots Above And Branches Below and 2010‘s Zombie EP.
Dead Thronesignals a more evolved, more progressive The Devil Wears Prada that is not only larger sonically, but goes much deeper, lyrically. The album contains more than a dozen cutting-edge, razor-sharp, straight-ahead metal tracks that are utterly brilliant not only in their composition, but also in their flawless delivery.
“The songs are inspired by a lot of the things in my heart, per usual,” explains frontman Mike Hranica. “A lot of the subject matter was very specific for this record, which is something that has evolved for me. I’d call the album very ‘lyrically intentional.’”
Dead Thronewas expertly produced by Killswitch Engage mad genius Adam Dutkiewicz at his Massachusetts-based recording studio -- a collaboration born out of a mutual admiration first realized in early 2010, when The Devil Wears Prada supported Killswitch Engage on tour.
“We got along with Adam very well and he dropped some hints about how he was interested in working with The Devil Wears Prada,” Hranica said. “Like any heavy band, clearly we've always been curious about working with the dude, so when he was so cool with us, it really felt natural and right. His impact as far as sound and engineering is purely his ability to capture the rawness of our band and reduce the sterility of it; something I've wanted for a very long time. I couldn't be happier with Adam’s influence and I think it works really, really well for us.”
Rounded out by guitarist and clean vocalist Jeremy DePoyster, guitarist Chris Rubey, bassist Andy Trick and drummer Daniel Williams, The Devil Wears Prada wrote all of the songs that appear on Dead Throne before heading into the studio with Dutkiewicz, a man the band trusts and respects.
“Adam did have an impact as far as structure and pulling things out and reorganizing. He sped up a number of the songs, cut measures in half, and generally trimmed fat,” Rubey offered. “Usually, this would be something that we wouldn’t be into coming from a producer, but with Adam it totally worked for the best,” he added.
With Dead Throne, The Devil Wears Prada has turned a corner, by turning up the aggression and turning on the emotions. Dead Throne is the product of hard work and The Devil Wears Prada’s inevitable musical evolution, which tends to focus more on the band’s unique, punishing dual-vocal assault this time around.
“We aim to give listeners and fans something they can enjoy, but we’ll also always make songs we personally stand behind,” says Hranica. “We'd write differently if we were purely trying to sell albums: that’s just not how it works for us. No compromises.”
Dead Thronefinally takes hold of what the band has merely hinted at in the past, and fans both old and new will quickly see this album for what it is -- a brilliant, emotional, captivating and brutal journey brought forth from the heart of a band that won’t conform to the latest trends. Ultimately, Dead Throne tackles issues of failed relationships and perseverance of faith.
“The album has a number of love lost songs,” says Hranica. “It’s a poetic topic I’ve always touched upon in the songs, and exaggerated, but this time around it was a little bit different as far as where it was coming from. My biggest lyrical models for the album are also very ‘love lost’-generated writers, which have an influence on me. The record contains a lot of self-loathing and a lot of bitterness, which all has a spin on it to where the only thing that does not pass in our lives is our faith and our trust in God. Dead Throne takes a bitter perspective: the world is dead and the only thing we have is the Lord.” And as for the world, the The Devil Wears Prada set their sights on breaking territories around the world the same way they established their loyal following in the States, through non-stop touring. After touring throughout America, Europe, Australia and South America, the band will join Slipknot, Slayer, Motorhead and Anthrax on this summer's Mayhem Music Festival.
As I Lay Dying:
Global metal titans As I Lay Dying kick off their second decade together with Awakened, the sixth and hands-down most powerful release of a stunning career. Seething with metallic vitriol, overflowing with energy, and rich with the kind of melody that irrevocably implants itself in the listener's mind, it is the sound of a band pushing themselves to outdo everything that has come before, be it their own previous work, or that of their contemporaries, and daring all to do better.
From the flurry of blastbeats and mauled guitar that kick off opener "Cauterize" to the epic darkness of closer "Tear Out My Eyes", the musicianship and arrangements are consistently riveting, the band showcasing their strengths while subtly introducing thrilling new elements to their sound. "There's nothing totally out of left-field, we just refined our songwriting and incorporated some ideas that bring a real freshness to the record," Sgrosso states. "We wanted something that was a lot bigger and more open sounding, and that's exactly what we achieved."
"Going into this one, in the back of my mind was always how are people going to react to this when we play it live?' So there's still plenty of fast stuff on this record, but there's more grooves and some different vibes going on," Sgrosso explains.
Lyrically speaking, Awakened sees Lambesis move away from the outward themes of The Powerless Rise, in favor of a more introspective approach.
While his lyrics have always had far more relevance to fans than those of most metal bands, delving deeper and rewarding repeat listens; Lambesis admits that Awakened is a far darker, more pessimistic beast. But this does not mean that there is not positivity to be found in this approach: "On this record, I wasn't purposefully trying to be negative, but I think sometimes we have to be honest with some of the darker and more difficult times of our lives to get back to that positivity. While the lyrics do perhaps seem like a dark window into my soul, they're written that way specifically because I want to move on and transcend those difficult moments in life."
Having previously worked with producer (and Killswitch Engage guitarist) Adam Dutkiewicz on 2007's An Ocean Between Us and The Powerless Rise, Awakened is the first time that the band collaborated with producer (and punk rock legends The Descendents drummer) Bill Stevenson. With the likes of Rise Against, Comeback Kid, and NOFX on his production resumé, the choice of Stevenson as producer was an inspired one. "We wanted to work with somebody who was outside the box for our genre, but involved enough in underground music that they would understand the mentality of our band."
"Bill's the perfect choice because he has that really rich history, but hasn't been so entrenched in metal that he's going to make clichéd suggestions." Sgrosso concurs with this, believing Stephenson's outside perspective contributed to stronger songs and a more cohesive record overall. "Bill is a very intelligent guy, and he'll be honest with you - if he's not feeling it he'll tell you straight, I'm just bored here, something else needs to happen. He'd look at a song and instinctively know what would improve it, and having that fresh perspective onboard helped so much."
While on their previous records the band spent an average of two months in the studio, this time out they had only a three and a half week window between tours to track all eleven songs. Understandably, this placed a great deal of pressure on the proceedings, but that pressure added to the urgency of the recordings, and in the band's opinion, lead to a more streamlined, more aggressive, and overall better record. Sgrosso and Lambesis concur that it is also the first album by the band that all five members can wholly get behind. "On our past albums there's always a couple of songs we dread getting requests for because they're not our favorites to play live, but that's not the case with this record. If we needed to choose five for a set we could pick any five and all of them would go over great live," Lambesis states. "This feels like a record that we could finally play from start to finish live" Sgrosso adds, "and the fact that we've managed to do that with this record makes us all extremely proud." Bio written by Dan Slessor.
Awakened will be available in North America on September 25th, 2012, and September 21st and 24th in Europe.
Presented by Phenomenon / Pro-Motion Concerts
$22 general admission advance
$25 general admission day of show
* prices may be subject to service fees