Review Summary: I Killed The Prom Queen have a new singer, a new album and a new, heavier path. Music For The Recently Deceased may possibly alienate old fans but it is still the same IKTPQ we all know and love.
When I heard the news that I Killed The Prom Queen had kicked their previous singer Michael Crafter out of the band, I thought "there goes one of the best bands in Australia." I initially thought this would be the end for Adelaide's prommers... but I was wrong.
Within a year of parting ways with Crafter, they had a new singer and were recording a new album. Ed Butcher is from England and I personally think he has more capabilities than Crafter. He can scream high and low, sing hardcore style while still being able to be understood and he can do brutal death metal growls.
Now for the actual album. It kicks off with Sharks In Your Mouth. The first riff is played through twice and immediately resembles some of Prom Queens earlier material. Then we hear Ed for the first time. He sings at a steady pace with the odd scream here and there. The drumming is superb here as it manages to change the beat several times without ruing the whole song. There is another riff that is fast and very "death metal" like because Ed shows us his deep growling. The song continues on until a great breakdown and solo. This solo is great because it starts off slow but then has a pinch harmonic and then some good old tapping. It ends with a build up to sudden stop which in my opinion is Prom Queen putting their foot down. The lyric meaning to this song are unclear to me. I get the feeling of pirates and stuff though.
Say Goodbye is next and starts off with a symbol smash into a regular metalcore riff, much like Killswitch Engage. Ed then does a growl which turns into a scream saying "come on!" The verse has a good 2-step beat and the guitar is the same riff. The pre chorus is Ed screaming "so we say gooodbye, so we say goodbye" and a slow riff. The chorus is cleanly sung by Jona, the guitarist, with some from Ed here and there. The verse is played again but the first time it is a slow breakdown and then it continues onto the normal 2-step beat. Instead of a pre-chorus, there is a breakdown with Ed saying "in the end we'll both rot together" which has since become a classic metalcore line. The chorus is played again and then there is a great riff played and a bridge of screaming by Ed. There is a slow heavy riff and then the chorus is played one last time. The lyric meaning to this song are also unclear, as is the whole album because I find Ed's writing really cryptic and I haven't had time to study them.
The third song proves to be the most brutal on the album, and the name says it all. €666 starts off with another death metal riff with fast drumming and fast guitar picking. A growl by Ed slows the song down into the first riff which is my favourite due to it's brutality. The lyrics are about cursing someone, or it could be something else knowing Ed. The pace picks up going into the pre chorus and then it becomes a 2-step beat but the same riff for the chorus. Then there is a slight break before a new riff occurs. You'll soon realize that this song has little structure yet still stays on target. The chorus is played again but the beat is slower this time. The song finishes with a emotional riff that fades out the song. I get the feeling that this song is very hateful because of the use of words such as 'abhorrence' and 'curse'.
Now the iconic song of the album comes up. Your Shirt Would Look Better With A Colombian Neck-Tie begins with a drum roll into a breakdown. The verse is a metalcore riff over a 2-step beat. The chorus is cleanly sung again by Jona. Then there is a slight break with Ed screaming "we are falling, we are falling straight to the ground". The verse is played again but without any vocals until the second time through before continuing onto the chorus. Afterwards, there is a solo which is more positive-feeling than the one from Sharks In Your Mouth. The song finishes with a great breakdown where Ed screams "Everyone here who breathes will ***ing die." I love the ending because when they play it live, the pit goes absolutely insane.
Hitting the middle of the album, The Deepest Sleep starts with octaves played over chords making a great riff. The verse is a typical Prom Queen riff that we all know and love. The vocals are placed brilliantly with the drums. The beat fastens as the song leads into the chorus which is again, cleanly sung. I find the lyrics to this chorus intriguing. It goes "Among the merciful, sin will reign. Only guilt will crush us all. And when we face the end we'll find the deepest sleep, in graves we dug ourselves." After that, there is the verse again and then a breakdown with Ed's deepest growls yet saying "I hop you rot down to the core." The verse is played AGAIN and then the chorus. The song finishes with a great solo with some of the fastest tapping I've ever heard. It competes with 'One' by Metallica in my opinion.
Here comes a good one, Bet It All On Black. It starts with a build up riff into the first verse. The guitar in this song is spectacular, even for Prom Queen standards. The riff morphs into a breakdown and then an emotional riff over chords. Then comes Ed with deep growls over a brutal breakdown that doesn't let up for a good 30 seconds. The verse is played again and then there is a semi solo played over a breakdown. The emotional riff from before plays again and the song finishes with a breakdown similar to Columbian Neck-Tie where Ed growls "everything you hold in your heart is frail, everything you love will pass away."
Headfirst From A Hangmans noose starts off with a riff that gets higher and higher before slowing down into a good verse. There is a great riff with great drumming and guitar work before entering the a breakdown. The breakdown has the usual open strumming but also has some fast guitar in between. The verse is played again before the chorus finally comes. Cleanly sung, Jona proves he can sing. The first time is him singing and the second time, Ed screams over him. The lyrics are great, "idle thoughts spill constantly, from open mouths with their eyes sewn shut." There is breakdown and then a solo which is fairly easy but emotional. The chorus is played again and the song fades out with Jona singing "with their eyes sewn shut." An excellent song.
Nearing the end of the album, Sleepless Nights and City Lights occurs with a riff almost exactly the same as At The Gates' 'Blinded By Fear'. The verse brings us back to Prom Queen with a metalcore riff that has some heavier notes played at the end. The chorus is Ed screaming his lungs out. He says "I've seen the shadows of the burning angel. These city lights will never be as beautiful as your eyes". The pace fastens before a breakdown occurs. The verse is played again before the chorus. After that, there is one of my favourite riffs off of the album. I can't describe, you'll have to hear it for yourself. The pace is fastened and Ed sings over the riff when the drums kick in. Then the very first riff plays before a brutal breakdown begins. Ed growling "I know this won't last forever" ends this song on a great note.
Slain Upon My Faithful Sword is next. This song starts with a small drum beat then begins an emotional guitar riff with Ed pouring his heart and soul to us. The riff ends shortly and begins a breakdown with some sort of choir singing over it which gives it a whole new feeling. Then there is a riff with some pinch harmonics and growling. It is a start-stop beat. Then there is yet another death metal riff that slows down before entering the chorus. Cleanly sung by Jona, the lyrics are blatantly about dying "as this lethal injection runs cold through my veins, lights in my head slowly fade out. I'm in the dark again". Then the very first riff is repeated before another breakdown, slower than the other one that also includes some diminished chords before a pinch harmonic ends it. The chorus played again before the song ends with an emotional riff where Ed screams before the whole song stops and all that is left is piano which plays for about 15 seconds.
The second last song Like Nails To A Casket begins with Ed growling over a fast, heavy beat. There is a breakdown sort of riff with some chords played over it before returning to the first riff. This time, it ends with Ed growling which begins a new riff which become a breakdown. The breakdown contains Ed screaming and some little notes played hear and there that sound like sirens. Then there is an emotional riff which begins Ed singing "I'll be waiting with an open casket, to bury you alive." This song is obviously very negative. Then there is another riff which is a breakdown with Ed growling then screaming. It slows down even more before leaving nothing but a bass line playing. It then returns to the emotional riff again. The song finishes with Ed growling "watch the angels drop like flies from the dead heavens above."
The last song There Will Be No Violins When You Die is an instrumental which instantly reminds me of Killswitch Engage. It goes on pretty much the same for 2 and half minutes, ending the album by fading out.
The whole album, in my opinion, is superbly recorded and written.
Excellent singing from Jona
New Singer with more capabilities
A lot heavier than IKTPQ's earlier material
Some breakdowns are the same and overused
A few riffs are copied from Killswitch Engage
Overall, I think anyone that is a big fan of Prom Queen should buy this album. The new singer is better but even if you don't like Ed as much as Crafter, it's still same old I Killed The Prom Queen music.