The Devil Wears Prada
With Roots Above and Branches Below
04 May 2009
by Chris Cope
This latest effort from metalcore troupe, The Devil Wears Prada, debuted in the US charts at number 11, and it’s a little pondersome as to why. Maybe some of the more naïve members of the public picked up a copy thinking it was Anne Hathaway singing about her film, shoes and frilly frocks, but who knows?
But it’s not all that bad. With Roots Above and Branches Below ticks all the metalcore boxes, and with that mystical ‘Christian metal band’ moniker looming over them, there’s something just a little interesting about them too.
‘Sassafras’ opens the record after a drum stick count-in (a lost art which deserves to be resurrected) with typical gusto with plenty of a hefty guitar and bowel shaking vocals which will be pleasant to some, but most likely an earache for many. Thankfully the vocals manage to alleviate themselves from the gutter by the end of the track, with some floaty singing whisping over the top.
And this sharp blast of metal action acts as a microcosm for the whole record; the potentially wonderfully named ‘I Hate Buffering’ enjoys some Trivium-esque chord progressions before launching into the catchy, clean singing, whilst ‘Dez Moines’ follows suit, with the clean/screaming vocal dichotomy getting another run out.
Watch The Devil Wears Prada play ‘Assistant to the Regional Manager’
There is the odd bit of deviation in here though, with the synth and keyboard dalliances in ‘Big Wiggly Style’ a more than welcome break, and on ‘Louder Than Thunder’ the heavens seemingly open up, on with clean vocals raining down on the balladry below. Hallelujah. But it simmers feebly rather than boil passionately, ending up sounding something a Linkin Park influenced damp squib.
And this is the problem with the whole album – it promises a fair bit but lacks any real spark. If you’re into your metalcore and hoodies, this may well be an aural treat, but the bigger picture shows this up to be a little generic and mundane. Maybe if we had the Oscar-nominated Anne Hathaway singing over the top of this guitar riffery then it’d be worth checking out, but one shouldn’t’ hold their breath….
Sounds Like: Underoath, Trivium
Top Tracks: Big Wiggly Style, Dez Moines
The Devil Wears Prada – With Roots Above and Branches Below tracklisting
I Hate Buffering
Assistant to the Regional Manager
Big Wiggly Style
Ben Has a Kid
Louder Than Thunder