The Australian metalcore band, I Killed The Prom Queen, has undoubtedly been down a convoluted path. Since their development in 2000, they have had several lineup changes, side projects, and in 2007 they announced their departure due to the incapability of finding a permanent vocalist. After their breakup in early 2012, Jona Weinhofen (guitarist/keyboardist/clean vocalist) confirmed that the group was writing their third studio album that would follow up Music for the Recently Deceased (2006). In January 2013 it was confirmed that I Killed the Prom Queen would reform and become a full-time band. Vocalist Jamie Hope (ex-The Red Shore) would ultimately be the man to take the place of Michael Crafter and Ed Butcher. Subsequently in March 2013, drummer JJ Peters left the band on good terms to focus on his side project, Deez Nuts. Shane O’Brien (ex- Confession, Buried in Verona) would replace Peters on drums, and come late July Sean Kennedy announced that he would part ways and has since then been replaced by bassist Benjamin Coyte (ex-Day of Contempt, Carpathian, and current In Trenches vocalist). Weinhofen and guitarist Kevin Cameron have remained and the group later signed with Epitaph Records. With over half of the roster being altered, I Killed The Prom Queen announced that the long-awaited release date of their new album, Beloved, would be set for February 18th, 2014 (US).
Produced by Fredrik Nordstrom (At The Gates, In Flames), the intro “Beginning Of The End” starts off in a melancholy guitar tone then fades into a nice display for Hope’s grisly vocals. Right away it becomes certain that Hope holds a similar sound to their previous vocalists (Butcher/Crafter) but with his own sort of raspy twist. The beginning of the record leaves for a good build up for their single that was already released in December of 2013, “To The Wolves”, and it really paves the way for the feel of the album.
The fourth track in “Melior” has a fast tempo, is jam packed full of blast beats, breakdowns, and euphonious guitar riffs as it grabs you by the throat to hold your attention. Almost halfway into the record, the tune “Thirty One & Sevens” cranks off rather vigorously and allows you to see more of their catchy side. Weinhofen’s crisp, clean vocals draw you in like the smell of cinnamon rolls in the kitchen.
True to their metal influenced hardcore roots, “Calvert Street” shoots off as if it were a rocket with maniacal percussive explosions. Hope’s deathcore past glimmers during this track with persuasive growls as the record holds its stance in the metal world strongly. Up next is the unexpected track “Kjærlighet.” The intro to the song slides into an elegant aesthetic riff bestowing its audience with chills. You can feel their determination as they expose raw emotion with a harmonic splash of vocals. The next few songs are “in your face” while there are no filler tracks. The album leaves you with dark and crushing statement called “Brevity”. Having reinvented themselves, I Killed The Prom Queen, certainly understands what the struggle is all about. In music, not too many bands that have been around for over a decade have accomplished such a dynamic comeback while sticking to their roots. Cryptic Rock gives this album 4 out of 5 stars.
Review written by Heather McKee