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Devil Wears Prada, The - With Roots Above and Branches... Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 7
Musicianship 8.25
Lyrics 7.5
Production 8
Creativity 6
Lasting Value 8
Reviewer Tilt 9
Final Verdict: 77%
Member Ratings
Vocals 5.83
Musicianship 5.92
Lyrics 6
Production 6.08
Creativity 5.58
Lasting Value 6.17
Reviewer Tilt 6.08
Average: 60%
Inside AP.net

Devil Wears Prada, The - With Roots Above and Branches...

Reviewed by: Andy Antar (05/08/09)
The Devil Wears Prada - With Roots Above and Branches Below
Release Date: May 5, 2009
Record Label: Ferret Music

The Devil Wears Prada have been a destructive force in the metalcore scene since the band’s inception in 2005. Although the appeal of the band is lost on some fans of the genre, the characteristically jagged screams and constant slew of breakdowns have proven to be a stunning success, with their sophomore album Plagues ushering in a mass of new members to their loyal fan base. With the release of their Ferret Music debut With Roots Above And Branches Below, the band aims to break the stereotypes that bind them, all while staying true to their original sound.

Elemental vocalists Mike Hranica and Jeremy DePoyster revisit the stage with a promisingly aggressive submission to lift their roots towards the sky - all other material obsessions that may branch out from life are simply not as important. With the new album comes a newfound maturity – the familiar abrasive sound of Plagues has been tweaked and tuned to perfection. Unrelenting breakdowns have been replaced with more consistent and mechanical song structure. The band enter this record with a more precise mastery of melody and atmosphere, and from the get-go, the album bleeds with a raw, ambient catchiness and ferocity that seems to have been the missing piece of the Plagues puzzle.

Unrefined static, the dry clap of drumsticks, and the record begins with a punch to the face. Immediately, it is obvious that Hranica’s hissing has been fine-tuned, grabbing for your throat with viper-like ferocity. The devastating instrumentation is reminiscent of Plagues, and serves as a reminder of the power of The Devil Wears Prada. Turn your thoughts to the roots, as we've all been caught up in the branches,” DePoyster sings. His voice serves as a welcome soother. Soon after, the song descends into a rollercoaster of metalcore’s finest. Seamlessly,I Hate Buffering follows with a sinister introduction, igniting into a display of beautiful sonic aggression. The drumming is a prominent feature of this track, and it provides much of the momentum. The jaunting two-song intro concludes.

With Assistant To The Regional Manager," we see a progressively frequent use of synthesised atmosphere, and from here, the real differences from Plagues are seen. The heaviness remains in their music, but the keys serve as an uplifting addition. As Mike bellows, Disintegration!” you can almost hear the earth crumbling away under his feet. One of the earliest tracks from this album, Dez Moines” shows us the more technical side to The Devil Wears Prada. Brilliantly fast-paced guitar work highlights the track, chorus racing through the burning soundscape.

A cluster of fan favorites follow. Tracks like Big Wiggly Style" and "Wapakalypse" continue to demonstrate the powerful experimentation with different instruments, as the familiar piano element is slowly phased back in. The album doesn’t veer away too radically from the use of formulaic song structure, and it serves as a downside to an otherwise extraordinary album.

"Gimme Half” and "Louder Than Thunder” couple together to form an epic, two-part regressive ballad. Vicious screams erupt from "Gimme Half,” a track dominated by the raw fire of Hranica. The track is bursting with blistering strength and brutality. "Louder Than Thunder” tries to fix what its other half has destroyed. DePoyster is put on the spotlight, and armed with only piano chords and a few solemn strings, he begs the question, "what would it take for things to be quiet?”

His plight is answered in "Lord Xenu." With an explosive crack, Hranica delivers with fiery power a final cry. Hauntingly organic chords seep through the cracks of Mike’s inferno, desperately grasping for peace. Hranica spits out his farewells, and the eerily peaceful chord is left to shine, a piercing siren into the fading darkness.

With Roots Above And Branches Below has been a highlight album of the year. Elements of many genres can be unearthed in this expansive record – no longer can The Devil Wears Prada be cornered exclusively into the “breakdown-core” genre. Their latest effort is a more earnest call to their religious roots, but their steady hands and commanding voices grab the attention of anyone who is willing to listen.

Recommended If You LikeUnderoath's "Lost in the Sound of Separation", "Plagues", generic metalcore done right

Additional InformationMyspace - Amazon - AP Profile
 
Displaying posts 1 - 11 of 11
10:28 PM on 05/20/09
#2
Mattylikesfilms
If You Dig Up The Dead...
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Pretty solid review.
10:41 PM on 05/20/09
#3
icynova
Love is easier made than kept!
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Definitely for fans of Underoath... Following that template should take this band far.
10:45 PM on 05/20/09
#4
awakeohsleeper
We never met, you and I
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I'm not sure why I can't get into this band. I don't know. Love the penultimate paragraph though.
07:13 AM on 05/21/09
#5
denissuxx
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Nice review, as always. You get around more than a vietnamese hooker
08:28 AM on 05/21/09
#6
brianpaulie
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The more I listen to this CD, it starts to sound exactly like Plagues. I could throw both CDs on shuffle between the 2 and not tell the difference between which CD is playing. Nonetheless, still went out and supported the band and bought the CD the day it came out.
11:05 AM on 05/21/09
#7
Klatzke
Don't give me no hand me down love.
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I harbor intense ill-will for this band. Even admitting that, I have to say -- I listened to this front to back and can't find a single reason it's getting so much praise.
06:37 AM on 05/22/09
#8
icynova
Love is easier made than kept!
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Dude...

If this:
I harbor intense ill-will for this band.

Then it's pretty obvious that you feel this:
I listened to this front to back and can't find a single reason it's getting so much praise.


The only thing I can honestly say is I didn't like them either. I though the name was idiotic and I thought they were a joke until I saw them live. If you ever have the chance, I heartily recommend it. I didn't even want to see them, I just stayed for them after seeing A Day To Remember (who have a catchy and fun album to listen to.) And was incredibly impressed.
05:11 AM on 05/23/09
#9
demonryu
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I didn't really like this band that much before this album, I think on this one they have improved to the point where they stand out just enough that I enjoy listening to them now but they are still nowhere near the top of the genre.
01:45 PM on 05/23/09
chrossiepher
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generic cd, not as good as plagues. mike lost his voice or is screaming differently and jeremy's is more synthesized/pitch corrected. it has its high points but for the most part, i dont like this album very much
02:30 PM on 05/23/09
Klatzke
Don't give me no hand me down love.
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Dude...

If this:


Then it's pretty obvious that you feel this:


The only thing I can honestly say is I didn't like them either. I though the name was idiotic and I thought they were a joke until I saw them live. If you ever have the chance, I heartily recommend it. I didn't even want to see them, I just stayed for them after seeing A Day To Remember (who have a catchy and fun album to listen to.) And was incredibly impressed.
Seen them live and have the exact same feelings.
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