The Devil Wears Prada: Rash Decisions

Originally published in Guitar World, September 2009

Dayton, Ohio's The Devil Wears Prada talks influences and their latest album, With Roots Above and Branches Below.

When Dayton, Ohio, Christian metalcore band the Devil Wears Prada released their first album, Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord, in 2005, they were one of several groups combining spastic tempo shifts, serrated riffs and crushing breakdowns with classical keyboard passages. Since then, dozens of likeminded bands have surfaced, but TDWP remain distinct, largely because of the disparate techniques of guitarists Jeremy DePoyster and Chris Rubey.

“Before I was in the band, I didn’t play metal guitar at all,” DePoyster admits. “I played a lot of regular acoustic chords, and I think when you combine that with the more metal stuff that Chris does, it creates this sound that’s different, but cool.”

On their third record, With Roots Above and Branches Below, TDWP continue to sow new musical fields with songs that are both more cohesive and more experimental than those on 2006’s turbulent Plagues. Rubey says, “For this record, we did everything a lot more tastefully, without worrying about what elements we were using.”

At the same time, songs like “Sassafras” and “Big Wiggly Style” feature the band’s most unconventional time signatures and most metallic guitars to date. “We’ve been listening to a lot of Meshuggah, Darkest Hour and Slipknot, and even new bands like Born of Osiris,” Rubey explains. “I guess that stuff has rubbed off on us.”

For the most part, the Devil Wears Prada had a good time recording the new album with producer Joey Sturgis, who has worked on all of their records. But there was one major setback.

“I got scabies,” Rubey grumbles. “Joey’s house is in Connorsville, Indiana, in the middle of nowhere. One day, I was recording guitars, and I looked down at my hand and had a super-itchy rash on my thumb. Weeks later I got the diagnosis.”

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