The Devil Wears Prada- With Roots Above And Branches Below

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Devil Wears Prada has always been one of those bands that were somewhat enjoyable but didn’t stand out enough from everyone else to make a deep and long term impact. But the group has continued to hone their song writing over the years and following a label move from Rise Records to Ferret they have released their third full length With Roots Above And Branches Below. And while these guys are still prone to falling back into traditional chugging metalcore there are some surprisingly catchy melodic riffs that are sure to hook some listeners who couldn’t fully get into this band before.

Compared to their previous material, The Devil Wears Prada now makes use of quite a few more melodic lead guitar riffs than before. While the rhythm guitar, bass, and drums continue many of the familiar metalcore styles and sounds that the group has become known for, the lead parts now explore soaring melodies that are very memorable and give the album a bit more originality when compared to its predecessors. In addition to this, on a few songs the instrumentals even dive into more groove metal oriented directions (think A Life Once Lost) and this does show that this group is beginning to try new things and not just continuously rehash what they have done before. Unfortunately not every track showcases this and there are some moments where the members fall back into traditional patterns, but it is great to see that they are beginning to move forward and some people may be surprised at how catchy they find the album to be.

For the majority of With Roots Above and Branches Below vocalist Mike Hranica uses the familiar low screaming style that he has been using since the band’s formation and guitarist Jeremy DePoyster provides melodic clean vocals. But as with the instrumentals, there are a few moments here and there where Hranica dives into growls that are lower than ever before and actually sounds closer to death metal vocalists than the traditional metalcore ones. This is an interesting change, particularly because whereas the instrumentals have gone in a slightly lighter direction the vocals have taken on some slightly rougher and lower styles. But the band makes these contrasting changes work in their favor, and this should help them appeal to a slightly wider audience than before.

With Roots Above And Branches Below is easily The Devil Wears Prada’s best effort yet, and it shows a band that is beginning to mature and look for new styles to experiment with. It may not be the best metalcore release you’ll hear this year, but many listeners will find it to be catchy and much better than they expected. If, like me, you thought the group’s previous two efforts were decent but unoriginal, consider giving them one more chance and checking this release out as you may be pleasantly surprised.

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