"What would it take for things to be quiet?" That is the question asked by The Devil Wears Prada
on the track "Louder Than Thunder." Well, I'm not sure what the answer to that question is, but I do know it
doesn't include listening to With Roots Above and Branches Below, the band's new release. These guys are most
definitely not quiet.
If you're a fan of metalcore, you've probably already heard of The Devil Wears Prada. They made quite a storm with
their first two albums and with some extensive performance on the Warped Tour. This album, their third release,
looks to be another great chapter in their career.
A quick listen to the opening track, "Sassafras," will tell you all you need to know about this album's musical
approach. We have vocals that switch from metalcore screaming to death growls. Accompanying this onslaught are crunchy
guitar breakdowns intermixed with everything from synths to piano to violins. Meanwhile, the drums are always changing,
sometimes grinding along slowly and sometimes unleashing in a flurry of rolls and double bass runs. Even better,
this album brings something new to The Devil Wears Prada's arsenal: soaring melodic choruses. While their previous
work lacked a sense of musical structure, many of the songs on this release have a clear verse/chorus break.
Occasionally this style can become repetitive, but the sound is tight and appealing nonetheless. Just when you've
been sufficiently pumped up by the screaming and growling, the clean, high-ranging choruses break through like a burst
of sunlight and carry the track along with beauty and energy. The effect is one that will leave any metal fan with a
smile on his face.
One interesting thing I noticed is that the usually ridiculous track names have been toned down to an extent. We
do still have nonsense like "Assistant To the Regional Manager" (an obvious reference to the hit TV Show, The Office),
but at the same time there is "Louder Than Thunder," which is actually an appropriate name for that song. Incidentally,
that track is an interesting number, being completely melodic and much mellower than one would expect. It is one of the
many highlights on this album.
With With Roots Above and Branches Below, The Devil Wears Prada have worked up a fantastic collection of metal music for your
enjoyment. I can definitely say that if you had your hopes up for this release, you will not be disappointed. Tracks such
as "Ben Has A Kid" and "Dez Moines" will leave you screaming one minute, then singing along in full voice the next.
All things considered, With Roots Above and Branches Below is an excellent album and a worthy addition to the
library of any hard music fan.
- Review date: 5/6/09, written by Timothy Estabrooks of Jesusfreakhideout.com