So if you don’t know who I Killed the Prom Queen are, then I, as an Australian, am ashamed of you. Here’s a crash course: forming in Adelaide in the early 2000s, they wrote a couple of albums, one of which was called Music for the Recently Deceased. They sparked the Australian metal scene that brought the world Parkway Drive, The Amity Affliction, Northlane, Thy Art Is Murder and a shit tonne more. They broke up because guitarist Jona Weinhofen went to play for Bleeding Through and Bring Me the Horizon. They had a small comeback back in 2011 to co-headline the Destroy Music Festival with Amity, then realised they were still popular. They therefore came back part time, then Jona got kicked out of BMTH, and Prom Queen are now back full time. They’ve got a new album called Beloved ready to drop and I bet you’re all wondering how it sounds, right?
Well, my family and friends, it’s pretty much exactly the same as Music for the Recently Deceased, and that is precisely what they should have done. They couldn’t have reinvented themselves as a djent band. It just wouldn’t have felt right. Prom Queen do metalcore well. Write what you know, and all that. There are Drop D breakdowns galore, but don’t be disheartened by that. Eight years have passed since their last album, and they’ve tightened up all the extra flab they had rolling around their mid-section. There are no tracks that are complete filler. There are moments of filler, of course, but that’s standard. Pobody’s nerfect, and Prom Queen are far from perfect.
However, they do so much more right than wrong. There’s a real maturity to the music this time around. MFTRD was five guys in their late teens and early twenties generally having no idea what they were doing. Beloved is an entirely different beast. There’s a real methodical vibe that permeates its way through the record, and they’ve stepped up the musicianship too. They ditched Blunt Magazine’s Five-time Dickhead of the Year award winner Michael Crafter in favour of Jamie Hope, who used to front Melbourne-based deathcore group The Red Shore, and the results speak for themselves.
Hope’s performance is the single best attribute of Beloved. MFTRD was awesome because Crafter wasn’t screaming. A young British man called Ed Butcher pulled vocal duties, and he had a fantastic range that Crafter just couldn’t replicate. Hope has a practically identical range to Butcher but it differs in one vital aspect: Hope sounds far more ragged and harsh. He sounds like Butcher if Butcher had eaten sandpaper three times a day for a month and washed it down with a litre of malt whiskey. In short, he is the tits, and he elevates Beloved to another level entirely.
Ultimately, Beloved is not a groundbreaking record. It’s a fun nostalgic trip, but nothing especially outside the box. However, if they’d tried to revolutionise their sound, it simply wouldn’t have worked. Van Halen going dubstep, for instance, would be ridiculous. The same principle applies in this instance. Prom Queen are Prom Queen, and no one does it better. Buy it, love it, never regret it.