Upon its release, the album was given generally positive reviews from music critics, being given an average metacritic score of 76 out of 100. Positive reviews focused on the creativity and experimentation featured on the album, however, this was contrasted by the more negative reviews which spoke about its lack of progression past the band's previous releases. Dead Throne is their highest charting release, peaking at No. 10 on the Billboard 200, selling more than 32,000 copies in its first week. It also topped the Billboard Christian Albums and Independent Albums chart, as well as peaking at No. 3 on the Rock Albums Chart and No. 40 on the 2011 Billboard year-end Hard Rock Albums chart. This is the last album to feature James Baney before he was let go from the band on February 22, 2012.
Since the time of The Devil Wears Prada's fame, their past approach of all band members sitting down and writing a record, hasn't been used collaboratively since Plagues, it is noted by guitarist Chris Rubey that about midway through the writing process of their third full-length With Roots Above and Braches Below, their song writing style and process changed drastically. Vocalist, Hranica commented on the album's lyrical theme is based upon anti-idolatry. He also said it's the "heaviest and most aggressive album to date."
"We aim to give listeners and fans something they can enjoy, but we'll also always make songs we personally stand behind. We'd write differently if we were purely trying to sell albums, that's just not how it works for us. No compromises." - Mike Hranica
Hranica speaks on the evolution of the band as a whole: "Our early material was dumb, plain and simple, and moving away from that, I think we've grown into smarter, more creative riffs, along with easier to follow songs. It's things like that that mark the evolution of TDWP." The album also features the absence of clean vocal passages on select songs, this is the first time The Devil Wears Prada has done this since Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord. Dead Throne was recorded from November 2010 to April 2011, with the sessions taking place three different recording studios in the United States, which were Zing Studios in Westfield, Massachusetts, Blacklodge Studios in Eudora, Kansas and The Foundation Recording Studios in Connersville, Indiana.
Mike Hranica explained that Dead Throne did not need "to sound a certain way throughout." Rhythm guitarist Jeremy DePoyster's clean vocals are still contrasted with a wide array of screamed vocals, which are featured more prominently than clean singing. Lead guitarist and primary songwriter Chris Rubey stated that the musical direction of the album on Zombie was "heavier, more sinister, and zombie-like. Those songs were written pretty much solely by me on my computer and that’s why they sound different. For Dead Throne we wanted to do that and obviously bring in some of the other elements people liked in Plagues.
While Zombie was centrally themed lyrically and musically around a specific topic, Dead Throne conveys a central message with common themes "revolving around idols." Hranica expands when asked about his lyrical themes, which have always been very abstract and metaphorical in order to draw out different meanings depending on the interpreter: "The record is mostly based on idolatry. There's a lot of different lyrical content. It's not a concept record, but a lot of it has to do with anti-idolatry... it's the idea of putting up our idols, heroes, and entities we worship onto a figurative throne. Those things won't stay up there, and they're not meant to be up there. That idea behind Dead Throne is making kings out of things that shouldn't be kings."
Hranica also stated that many of the album's negative themes were inspired from the ending of his 5-year relationship, and revealed that Polish black metal band, Behemoth was the main influence for the record's heavy sound.
The album received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 76, based on 6 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". The album was credited for its more experimental and orchestral take on metalcore, and less produced and more violent sound. Ryan Williford of Audiopinions gave the album a 7.5 out of 10 describing the bands choice of producer, Adam Dutkiewicz as a wise move for the band. This is because Williford believes that Joey Sturgis, who produced all of their discography prior to Dead Throne, overproduces his work. He credited the record for its rawer and more natural sound. Drew Beringer of AbsolutePunk also favored Dead Throne for the variety on the record, perticularly praising The Devil Wears Prada for their instrumental song "Kansas" and their evolution as songwriters. Jason Lymangrover on a review for Allmusic gave the album three and a half stars out of five, describing it as being "at its most technical and most brutal" and comparing it to "technical metalcore and European symphonic metal."
Wayne Reimer of Jesus Freak Hideout, appreciated the progression from The Devil Wears Prada's third studio album, With Roots Above and Braches Below to Dead Throne as well as crediting the bands drummer, Daniel Williams, for his performance on the record, praising his creativity in the songs and his lack of double bass pedal motions to fill his role. Reimer went as far to say "The tempo fluctuates effortlessly and fluidly throughout each track; this is not to be taken for granted." In Adrian Garza's review for Christian Music Zine (giving 4.5 out of 5) he praises the vocal performance of clean vocalist Jeremy DePoyster and musical development shown on the album: "Jeremy DePoyster has really stepped up his vocal game, the vocals sound so much less produced, in a good way. Aside from the more experimental tracks on the album, there aren’t really any crazy synthesizer sounds, now it’s mostly piano and strings."
Not all reviews were positive, however. Connor O’Brien of Alter the Press! gave the album 1.5 out of five, believing that the album shows no progression for the band, stating: "It seems that TDWP have evolved within their own distinction, yet are left seemingly years behind the rest of the genre." Ryan Williford of Audio Opinions alongside O'Brien sees it as only a "step in the right direction" saying, "Once they start writing something original will be the release that will excite everyone again."
- "Dead Throne"
- "My Questions"
- "Kansas" (Instrumental)
- "Born to Lose"
- "Forever Decay"
- "Constance" (featuring Tim Lambesis of As I Lay Dying)
The Devil Wears PradaEdit
- Mike Hranica - unclean vocals
- Chris Rubey - lead guitar and backing vocals
- Andy Trick - bass guitar
- Jeremy DePoyster - rhythm guitar and clean vocals
- Daniel Williams - drums
- James Baney - keyboards, synthesizers and piano
- Tim Lambesis - vocals on track 11
- Produced by Adam Dutkiewicz and The Devil Wears Prada
- Engineered by Adam Dutkiewicz and Jim Fogarty
- Mixed by Adam Dutkiewicz
- Mastered by Tom Baker
- Synthesizer and Keyboards by Joey Sturgis
- Additional Vocal Production by Jeremy McKinnon
- Booking by Dave Shapiro
- Artwork by Dan Seagrave