The Devil Wears Prada - With Roots Above and Branches Below

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  The Devil Wears Prada - With Roots Above and Branches Below
Written By: Jason Coldiron

Label: Ferret - Rating:

With their third studio album, The Devil Wears Prada has pushed forward in every way possible. They scream, they shred, they wail, they rock. They are a Christian metal band, but I wouldn't know from listening to this album. I am a metal fan and this is a metal album. Plain and simple.

Here are my thoughts as I listen to the album.

Track 1: Sassafras - Opening with a pause, then an explosion, this song gets things started off on the right foot. Mike Hranica and Jeremy DePoyster let the screaming and growling commence. DePoyster and Chris Rubey are on point immediately with the guitars. A mid- song melodic part is a nice change- up, before leading back into the fire. The song pauses for just a moment before going right into the next song...

Track 2: I Hate Buffering - I didn't even realize the song had switched from the first one until I checked my player. The pause was so brief that I thought it was still the same song. I love this! Keeping with this theme of transition, this song moves effortlessly from part to part. This is a very well composed song. Hranica remains on point.

Track 3: Assistant to the Regional... - Beginning with a smooth guitar intro, this song is a definite keeper, probably one of the best on the album. Double- kick bass drums by Daniel Williams provide the backbone to the fantastic guitar work and aggressive vocals. The short guitar breakdown at the 2:20 mark sets the stage for the big finish. Beautifully done! This is probably my favorite track on the album.

Track 4: Des Moines - On display here is some of Hranica's best vocal work on the entire album. He starts with a few seconds of harmony and then pounds the screaming, then right back to the harmony... and back again... and again. I would love to see how he pulls this off live. In any event, this song is all about Hranica's vocals.

Track 5: Big Wiggly Style - A balanced song featuring great vocals. The pounding drums and choppy guitars work as well. The song keeps it going and gets better as it goes along. I like the staying power it has, keeps me into it. And it ends slowly (a first).

Track 6: Danger: Wildman - Once again, just a second pause between songs. I am a huge fan of this technique. This is the third straight song with very choppy guitars. It has Slipknot written all over it (as do many of these songs). It rocks like hell, but features more harmony from Hranica. I am getting more and more impressed with his singing, not nearly as much screaming as I thought it might be.

Track 7: Ben has a kid - Beautiful dual vocals, screaming, harmony, and smooth guitars. There's a mid- song key part that sounds like the CD is skipping or something; I only know it isn't because the guitars keep going over the top. This is a nice little part and a solid song.

Track 8: Wapakalypse - Starts with chopping guitars, adds screaming and solid drums. Moves into smoother guitars and fantastic vocal harmony. The transition back and forth is great and seems to be a staple of the band. The song gains momentum and energy as it goes along, building and building. Throw in a few great guitar fills and you've got some good shit.

Track 9: Gimmie Half - It feels like this song is attempting to show another aspect of the band. Keys try to make something dynamic happen. I just don't feel it on this one.

Track 10: Louder than Thunder - Opening with keys, I am concerned. The vocals come in mellow. I think I get that they are trying to balance out the album with a couple of different songs at the end. It isn't really working for me. For my money, I'd rather see them stick to their guns and stay heavy. The song isn't bad at all, it just doesn't work for me.

Track 11: Lord Xenu - The previous song speeds up quickly and I realize that the track has changed one more time. Pumping up the volume and jumping into the screaming and pounding, I am back at home. The drums go nuts. The guitars rip, smooth out, then rip some more. As the song moves on we get some effects with the keys and guitars, which works just ok. The album ends on an uneven note.

There is definitely strength in this album. I love a lot of the vocals, guitars and drums. I love the split- second pauses between many of the songs. There are many good songs here. Unfortunately, the last three songs and the fact that the album doesn't appeal to me lyrically hurt the overall strength.

If this album ended after song 8, I'd probably be giving it three guns. As it is though, I give it two and a half guns.

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