With Roots Above And Branches Below Review

artist: The Devil Wears Prada date: 10/26/2009 category: compact discs
The Devil Wears Prada: With Roots Above And Branches Below
Released: May 5, 2009
Genre: Metalcore
Label: Ferret Music
Number Of Tracks: 11
The Devil Wears Prada are back with quite possibly their heaviest album yet, which is definitely showcased in a couple songs that feature a Drop-B tuning.
 Sound: 8.5
 Lyrics: 8
 Overall Impression: 8.2
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reviews (6) 109 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9.3
With Roots Above And Branches Below Reviewed by: lllostmotelll, on may 05, 2009
13 of 15 people found this review helpful

Sound: Good lord is this album heavy. Pun most certainly intended. The Devil Wears Prada are back with quite possibly their heaviest album yet, which is definitely showcased in a couple songs that feature a Drop-B tuning. That's right folks, Drop D 1.5 steps down. See: Assistant To The Regional Manager, Wapakalpyse. The guitar work is just as good as on Plagues, if not better. The mixture of heavy power chords and octave driven melodies is a signature sound for them, and they pull it off with flying colors yet again. Their sound has also matured as well. Aside from the crazy song titles, their music sounds like it has grown up a little more. One of the surprise tracks for me was "Louder Than Thunder", which almost sounds like a certain Underoath track off of "They're Only Chasing Safety". The only thing I didn't like was the transition into the next track, or at least how they decided to order the tracks. It felt like "Louder Than Thunder" should have been dead in the middle of the album, separating two parts. But I'm not in the band, so... Oh, and how could I forget the drums? Two words. Double Bass. And plenty of it. Okay so six. But seriously, it's sick. // 10

Lyrics: Either they bought an auto-tune device or Jeremy's clean vocals got much better in the time between albums. I choose the latter. The harmonies he pulls off in some of the tracks are unbeatable. As for Mike's screaming, well..you either love it or you hate it. A lot of people I know who have listened to TDWP say that's what turns them off to the band. I personally feel like he gets better and better each time they release an album. He really hasn't shown any differences in style from Plagues, but he doesn't growl as much this time. It's still there, just not as much... At least I thought. The lyrics, albeit Christian, are still pretty accessible even if you aren't Christian yourself. // 9

Overall Impression: Comparing it to other albums is like comparing apples to oranges. This album really stood out for me and made me gain a lot of respect for a band I can honestly say I couldn't stand before. I heard a bunch of hype over some new Christian hardcore band and upon first listen, I didn't want anything to do with them. Needless to say, my opinion has changed. Standout Tracks: "Sassafras", "Assistant To Regional Manager", "Big Wiggly Style", "Danger: Wildman", "Wapakalypse". Check it out. If you're a fan of anything similar, I don't think you'll be disappointed. // 9

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overall: 3
With Roots Above And Branches Below Reviewed by: timetodantz93, on june 23, 2009
3 of 15 people found this review helpful

Sound: I'll start this off by saying that, this record could not have been more disappointing in my opinion. The overall sound is just a musical mess! It sounds as if Prada went into the studio without any intentions of actually writing a full length record. They were a great metalcore band who displayed a mixture concept and vision to records such as plagues and dear love and the effort alone just sent chills down your spine. It seems as though now they don't care anymore. What they don't understand is, it's not all about being the "heaviest band" in the scene. If you get caught up in being as heavy and raw as you can, the music is gonna turn out terrible, at least for a band that has a clean vocalist and keys. They are a Metal-core band and always will be. I saw this coming when they went to Ferret, honestly. I think the main reason why I don't like this record is because, while the music alone is amazing, it is so poorly put together that nothing fits and therefore sounds sloppy. Mike's new vocal style just adds to the sloppy effect. Now this doesn't apply to all songs in general, Louder Than Thunder is very well put together and is just epic. That's the best way I can describe it. Dez Moines is pretty well thought out also. // 3

Lyrics: The Lyrics are arguably the best part about this record. Prada somewhat maintained that ability throughout their dramatic decline with this latest release. The lyrics to Plagues of course, blow this out of the water but then again the whole record completely blows it out of the water as well. One of the big things that I always loved about Prada was that they had a concept. The artwork, lyrics, and everything seemed to jump out at you and tell the story we all know from Exodus, in a totally new and unique perspective and view. This record did not do that at all. There is no concept and the artwork is just pathetic. Lyric wise, this record is pretty solid. But Let's talk about vocals. Mike now sounds like he is yelling at the top of his lungs as loud and obnoxiously as he possibly can. He has lost the ability to do the high shrieks I always anticipated in Plagues. Vocally, Mike sounds like a train wreck. He used to bring a clear, crisp and powerful tone to the record instead of this Raw, annoying, yell he produces now. However, I will say one thing, his lows and growls have increased dramatically. // 4

Overall Impression: Overall this record was a disappointment. Very Sloppy. It's definitely not generic, but it still is a very poor record. The good things about this album is that Jeremy's vocals have soared, Mike's lows are better, the music has definitely matured, and Daniel's kit sounds even more amazing and the fact that he has clearly become a better drummer. The things I don't like about this album is First of all, the lack of concept and emotion. Second, Mike's new vocal technique, The way the music is so poorly arranged, The lyrics aren't as epic and impressive, oh and the names of their songs haha Ben has a kid? Are you serious? If it were lost or stolen, I would probably go buy The Word Alive's new EP instead. Check it. // 2

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overall: 9.7
With Roots Above And Branches Below Reviewed by: Toph Rulez D00d, on october 09, 2009
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: There are so many bands utilizing breakdowns every chance they can possibly get, and The Devil Wears Prada is just another one of those bands. Yes, but there is a difference, they know how to overdo it, without overdoing it. Right in the first 20 seconds of the opening track, Sasafrass, you're already listening to a breakdown, making you want to head bang and punch anything in sight, and it doesn't let up anytime soon. Not until track 10 anyway, Louder Than Thunder, where you get a whole song of just Jeremy singing...and wait a second...no heavy guitars or breakdowns? Yes, they wrote a song to showcase Jeremy's fantastic clean vocals, which he manages to show on just about every track as it is. This also gave the key player James an opportunity to show what he can do. Compared to their previous release Plagues, the guitars are stronger, more melodic, more creative, the keys are more distinct, and more creative, the drums are just flat out incredible, and the vocals are astounding. Jeremy's clean voice grew significantly from their last release until now, with stronger and catchier melodies. While Mikes screams are more defined and he does an excellent job mixing up the highs and lows on this album. // 10

Lyrics: I think the lyrics are very good, for a christian band. From reading these lyrics you would have no idea they are christian, but there are christian meanings behind all of the songs. With that they are not making the music one-sided so that if you are not christian and you can still read the lyrics and they could still mean something completely different to you. Like I said before, the clean vocals are stronger and catchier, and the screams are more defined and Mike uses the highs and lows to his advantage on this record. // 9

Overall Impression: With this album, they are setting themselves up to be one of the bigger bands in this genre, if they haven't done so already, and showcasing all of the talent that they have. "Sasafrass", "Danger: Wildman", "Wapakalypse", and "Louder Than Thunder" are the sounds that stand out to me. // 10

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overall: 8.3
With Roots Above And Branches Below Reviewed by: Thebiz, on may 07, 2009
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: One word of caution before this review: The Devil Wears Prada is a love or hate band. Whether you dislike the band due to the vocals, multiple breakdowns, or just the fact that many Myspace tween fangirls worship them, this album is still a solid metalcore effort, and all the musicians step up their game in melody and intensity. On their two previous efforts, The Devil Wears Prada have mixed melodic and screaming vocals with brutal breakdowns, metalcore riffage, breakdowns, keyboard/synth atmosphere, and breakdowns... Did I mention breakdowns? Though many of the breakdowns in this album have been tweaked, fine-tuned and laden with new heaviness, most of the utter breakneck brutal palm muting riffs of Plagues and Dear Love have been replaced with more melodic lead guitar parts, something mostly absent on their previous efforts. The clean vocals have been improved, and the leads and keyboard melodic parts have taken a larger role, such as straight keyboard bridges and synth sub-sections and various atmospheric layered riffs. The production has been improved, and the songs feel more layered. This is by far TDWP's most accessible, and arguably best, album yet. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics of the band haven't changed much. The usual Christian metalcore lyrics have been inserted, which could be either a problem or a blessing depending on who is listening to them. Though the lyrical themes haven't changed, they have improved, as clean singer Jeremy cries for the listener to not get caught up in the "branches" of life, and instead look to the "roots" of their problems. Their Christian beliefs help the atmospheres take more meaning and significance in their compositions. The vocals are definitely different from their previous LPs. Clean vocalist Jeremy has improved, as his voice soars over the music. Mike's screams have, arguably, deepened, and some say his voice has weakened. There definitely is a little loss in his former tone, and certain songs he takes a little too much space in, however, this could be mainly due to production and not due to his voice. I believe it is a little bit of both. So, in short, the lyrics and vocals have improved, but not taken a different form. // 8

Overall Impression: As stated before, The Devil Wears Prada is a love or hate band. Their style of Christian metalcore is not anything that hasn't been done before. However, this is where TDWP shines: Christian metalcore simply hasn't been this good since (fellow Christian artists) Underoath and Norma Jean's earlier days, and this album contains elements that will attract non-Christian metalcore fans as well. This album is a blatantly larger step up in every way for the band, and makes Plagues look like a practice EP. Like it or not, The Devil Wears Prada will be around for a while, as this latest effort proves. // 8

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overall: 9.3
With Roots Above And Branches Below Reviewed by: brandnewjames, on june 17, 2009
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Ah yes, The Devil Wears Prada. Yet another typical metal band over consumed with breakdowns and auto-tuned singing, right? Well yes, this album is filled with heavy breakdowns and a fair share of high pitched melodic singing that will get you movin' and groovin'. However, TDWP has managed to do it bigger and better than most of there peers on there new album, With Roots Above And Branches Below. The first track on this album, amusingly titled Sassafras, comes at you like a punch in the gut and the rest of the album doesn't get any lighter. Heavy, crunchy guitars and insane drumming make you wanna crank this album up to 11 and head bang all day long. Each song is a constant assault on your ear drums. Mikes screaming makes you wanna bang your fists and jeremies singing makes you wish you never hit puberty so your voice could go that high. Easily the most impressive part of this album is Daniels drumming. Its some of the best I have ever heard and if he does not get voted as drummer of the year somewhere than the music world is even dumber than I thought. These guys really showed there skills as musicians on this disc. // 10

Lyrics: As most of us know The Devil Wears Prada is a christian band. Knowing this you would expect to hear the words "jesus" and "god" thrown around in just about every song. Well by just listening to this album you wouldn't even know they were religious. To me that is always a good thing. I don't want to listen to music that I feel is shoving there beliefs down my throat song after song and I'm assuming almost everyone will agree with me. After all that's what gospel is reserved for. Anyway, Mikes scream hasn't really changed much since the last couple albums which, in my opinion, is a good thing. Jeremy's singing sounds higher and better than ever and the bands chorus' are catchy and melodic. You'll find yourself singing every word from the beginning to the end. // 8

Overall Impression: With Roots Above And Branches Below is easily The Devil Wears Prada's best album yet. With this album TDWP have been able to seperate themselves from there peers and push them to the forefront of there genre. "Sassafras", "Assistant to the general manager", and "Ben has a kid" are the tracks that stand out off this album, but each song is amazing and you'll love it from beginning to end. // 10

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overall: 9.7
With Roots Above And Branches Below Reviewed by: grahamrocks917, on october 26, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Ok, The Devil Wears Prada is a great, unique band that has influenced a lot of bands now, and they came out with their 3rd album, With Roots Above And Branches Below a while ago. In an interview with Jeremy Depoyster (Rhythm guitarist, Clean Vox), the band member stated that the band really tried getting away from the "screamo" title, and going to the "metal" scene. The album definately sounds like some of their past work, but so much stuff changed as well. Mike Hranica's (Lead vox, screaming) scream really changed. If you listen to some of his Plagues songs, and then to a song like Big Wiggly Style off of his new album, you can totally tell the difference. One of my friends told me his new scream was called a "power fry". Not sure if that's true or not but it is definately different. I really like it though because it sounds like his putting his all into it. Also something that changed. Jeremy Depoyster's role in the band. He is pretty much the frontman now. The song "Louder than Thunder", is just him singing, and it is a greatttt song. They also put more spots for Jeremy to sing in. Like Hranica, it also sounds like he's putting all he's got into his singing. // 9

Lyrics: Most people can't understand the lyrics in The Devil Wears Prada's songs because they always used to chop up the lyrics to fit the song. This isn't a bad thing, but in this album, they didn't do it as much as they used to. Ex. Hey John, What's Your Name Again vs. Dez Moines. If you ever did look up the lyrics to any Devil Wears Prada song, you would have been amazed at how good their lyricism is. With Roots Above and Branches Below is no exception. Every single song means something to them, and every song they write is so deep and amazing. You have to really think about them to fully understand them. Look up the songs Assistant to the Regional Manager, Dez Moines, Big Wiggly Style, or Wapakalypse, and you'll see what I mean. Although Mike Hranica really changed his screaming style, it fits the songs really well. In some songs he even does a high scream and overdubs it with a low scream to make it sound so sick. And for the last part, I don't even need to type this, but Jeremy Depoyster's voice is crazy amazing on this album. Period. // 10

Overall Impression: This album is great, it is probably one of the best albums released in 2009. They have a couple really heavy drop b songs that are different from their normal stuff that adds to the awesomeness. The most impressive songs off this album are: Assistant to the Regional Manager, Dez Moines, Big Wiggly Style, Danger: Wildman, Wapakalypse, and Louder than Thunder. I really love Mike's new scream, and how they added more clean vocal parts. The drumming is also fantastic in this song like every TDWP album! There's really nothing to hate about this album. Buy this, this is the best Devil Wears Prada album out! // 10

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