|The Devil Wears Prada - With Roots Above And Branches Below
02. Hate Buffering
03. Assistant To The Regional Manager
04. Dez Moines
05. Big Wiggly Style
06. Danger: Wildman
07. Ben Has A Kid
09. Gimme Half
10. Louder Than Thunder
11. Lord Xenu
No matter what way you look at it, the name is always going to divide opinions. Yes, American band The Devil Wears Prada have released their third full-length album entitled 'Roots Above and Branches Below'. The pre-release hype from the band will undoubtedly make you wince: "It's going to be a heavier record as a whole. There are songs on the new album that are heavier than anything we've ever written". That said, they aren't exactly trying to be any more serious with the new album, as the tradition of bizarre song titles continues like 'Assistant to the Regional Manager', 'Big Wiggly Style' and 'Ben Has a Kid'. You need to take this band with a hefty pinch of salt. No, make that a handful of salt.
Drifting between metal core and post-hardcore, TDWP have released an album that is full of diversity and fantastic song writing, but is heavily let down by several factors. In between the incredibly versatile guitar melodies, fantastic keyboard work and unexpected but excellent orchestra arrangements, the band insists on dipping into heard-it-all-before chugging, palm muted breakdowns, which drag it down considerably. The time has surely come for a 'breakdown filter' for bands, as they're certainly not original anymore and it would be laughable to call them hard to play.
The 'yelling verse and clean singing chorus' method gets a bit predictable and the higher pitched (some may call whining style) of vocals will almost certainly put a lot of people off, but listeners should endeavour and give it a chance. The biggest highlight easily comes with 'Dez Moines' and the ballad 'Louder Than Thunder' is a real surprise, with such grace and finesse that it's a complete contrast to the other songs.
An album that is generally fantastic from start to finish but is still in need of big improvements. The Devil Wears Prada are a band brimming with potential, if they can just curb those simple, mundane riffs and lose the damn breakdowns. Hopefully by the next album they'll be even more experimental and discard the clichés that come with heavy metal music.