Review: The Devil Wears Prada, “With Roots Above And Branches Below”
Ohio-based hardcore band The Devil Wears Prada has gone through both scrutiny and glory in the past years that they’ve been around. With a style that showcased unabashed hardcore riffs and brutal screaming, their first two albums would leave anyone rubbing their ears from the pain of how hard they can be. With their third album, With Roots Above And Branches Below, the band proves they are more than just full maniacal insanity. Seemingly taking tips from hardcore act Underoath and hard rock newcomers Secret & Whisper, they have a more produced and clean feel, keeping vocals and screams excellently done all the way through.
Song titles mean nothing to the band, as they make an ode to the Office on “Assistant To The Regional Manager” and another track is titled “Big Wiggly Style”, to which the lyrics don’t match the title whatsoever. The songs are also much more epic sounding than the band’s two previous efforts, with backing guitars that soar throughout songs as screams and clean vocals abound. The album opens with the strong, forceful “Sassafras”, in which vocalist Jeremy DePoyster raises his voice to a high falsetto that mimics new Tooth and Nail artist Secret & Whisper’s vocals. This is evident on other tracks, as he seems to have cleaned up his vocals much more than previously seen. Mike Hranica’s screaming compliments his soaring vocals on every track, bringing brutality to each part of the album. Electronics are featured as well throughout, which is a newer concept for The Devil Wears Prada, and they make it work on every track. Songs like the finale “Lord Xenu” and “Ben Has A Kid” showcase both the electronic element and a harder sound than previously heard on both Plagues and Dear Love: A Heavenly Discord.
“Louder Than Thunder” is the only ballad on the album, and the transition from the previous track’s hard sound is excellent. While the ballad may not be the best to come from the band, it’s always good to hear hardcore bands like this do slower tunes and see what else they’re capable of, and The Devil Wears Prada pulls it off quite well here. Another plus for the band is that each track is a good three to four and a half minutes, making this eleven track record worth it. Third records have a habit of defining band’s careers, and The Devil Wears Prada will likely find that this is the case for them. With a much better produced feel and fixes made all the way through, this is definitely the band’s best work, and they can only go up from here.
Star Rating: 4 out of 5