The Devil Wears Prada – With Roots Above and Branches Below


Album

With Roots Above and Branches Below

Label

Ferret Music/Stomp

Year

2009

For Fans Of

Shaped By Fate – Underoath – House vs. Hurricane

Summary

Moving in the right direction.

Rating

80 / 100

Scene debates and critiques of the bands faith aside, Ohio six-piece The Devil Wears Prada know how to make a solid album. Studio release number three entitled ‘With Roots Above and Branches Below’ is as much a statement about the bands intent to push towards a heavier sound as it is about showcasing the groups steady ascension as one of metalcore’s premier acts.
   
Whilst the bands earlier attempts were largely boring, generic and watered down metalcore (and that is putting it nicely), ‘With Roots Above and Branches Below’ is surprisingly strong.  
Like a bullet through glass, opening track ‘Sassafras’ asserts a strong level of brutality. Breakdowns are certainly cliché these days and it takes courage to play one fifteen seconds into an album. However, The Devil Wears Prada do – and do it well, it is worth mentioning.  

Lead Singer Mike Hranica gives his vocal chords a good beating on tracks such as ‘I Hate Buffering’ and ‘Ben Has a Kid’, which combine steady double kick work with the melodic hooks of rhythm guitarist Jeremy DePoyster.  

Like most metalcore artists, TDWP are sure to polarise listeners. Emo kids trying their hand at Bleeding Through-esque riffs? Or rather, a reflection of the next generation of metal heads? Either way, TDWP play music that is aurally engaging.  

Fast and intense songs like ‘Wapakalypse’ that merge hardcore guitar lines with clean choruses are tempered by the slower tempo tracks in the form of ‘Louder than Thunder’. In addition, you have to enjoy the Office reference apparent in the title of ‘Assistant to the Regional Manager’.
 
As a general comment about the prevalence of Christian metal, it is ironic that these bands are providing us with some of the best contemporary highlights in heavy music i.e. As I Lay Dying and August Burns Red. To paraphrase a line from South Park, ‘if irony was made of strawberries we’d all be drinking a lot of smoothies right now’.

Conclusion

When vocalist Mike Hranica screams ‘our message will grow’, perhaps his sentiments are as prophetic as they are poignant. With Roots Above and Branches Below is a step in the right direction. Enjoyable, yes. Groundbreaking, no. But then again, unless you are Between the Buried and Me or Mastodon who can rightly stake claims to that notion. 

Tracklisting

  1. Sassafras
  2. I Hate Buffering
  3. Assistant to the Regional Manager
  4. Dez Moines
  5. Big Wiggy Style
  6. Danger: Wildman
  7. Ben Has a Kid
  8. Wapakalypse
  9. Gimme Half
  10. Louder Than Thunder
  11. Lord Xenu

9 Responses to “The Devil Wears Prada – With Roots Above and Branches Below”

  1. ryan_042

    i honestly cannot understand why so many ppl are hating on this album
    bands mature, everybody knows it, bands will change their sound, they cant write the same song 50 times
    this is a good album..nothing else to it

  2. AnthonyD

    their music is good but I dislike how they put “christian” into their genre. who cares what faith you follow just play fucking music. yeah he may be whinging about jesus half the time but its not like we genrelise every band by what they sing about.

  3. post-hardcore

    Its a great album, i had never heard of these guys before this album came out.
    By the way i dont know if this reveiwer knows but when he screams “our message will grow” he is talking about the bible……. These guys are christians….. so yeh… not that it actually matters because some great bands are christians such as Underoath.

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