Murder, Metal and I Killed The Prom Queen

Killing prom Queens, slaying the new wave of Metalcore and destroying their last albums, I Killed The Prom Queen are back and they’re better than ever.

Murder: The premeditated act of taking another human’s life.

Prom: the hyped up dance in the last year of high school.

Shane O’Brien: I Killed The Prom Queen’s drummer and, according to guitarist Kevin Cameron, the man most likely to have killed their high school prom queen.

And it’s O’Brien because, in the words of Cameron, “he grew up in the western suburbs and he is probably the only one of us who would be able to get away with it.”

As far anyone knows the only thing he’s guilty of slaying is his drum kit on the new record Beloved; the first to come out of the band since 2006’s Music For The Recently Deceased. From start to finish it’s a skull crushing album that brings in some of the melodic Swedish metal influence the band have been known for. It’s also been dosed with venom and is as sinister as anything they’ve ever released.

Placing the band firmly outside what’s becoming generic metalcore.

“There are younger bands that are being offensive and misogynistic and they’re just going for shock value. They’re 18 year olds singing about it and they don’t really know what life is about.”

Cameron’s pensive as he says it and it’s clear that Beloved is a monster breed of maturity.

The guitarist says they’re looking at songs as a whole, not just “riff riff riff” and they’ve, noticeably, grown as musicians in the time between records.

“We’re able to get ideas across through our instruments that we couldn’t when we were younger.”

It comes somewhat as a surprise when Cameron says they wrote the bulk of the album two weeks before they entered the studio. But part of their growth has been being able to tell each other where they’re getting it wrong.

“The five of us also worked better at arranging the music and we weren’t scared to say if someone’s riff was crap.”

For I Killed The Prom Queen it’s not all about reunions and songwriting. When you’re away for so long in a time where listeners are saturated by new music they also have to bring their extended family back together.

And while Cameron admits to being cynical he’s no less honest when he says he finds it alarming that people still care about the band.

“I’m surprised people are still interested…we’ve been to Europe and to America and it’s baffling that people are so enthusiastic.”

To ask why people still care was always going to be a vanity question but Cameron’s far too humble to say “because we’re f**king awesome” (despite how true it may be).

“There’s a little bit of a sinister vibe to our albums and it comes off as dark even if it’s at a rock pace. And that’s separated [I Killed The] Prom Queen music from other metal core bands.”

Younger bands, according to Cameron, also have a more of a conclusion in mind when writing and recording. It becomes more about reaching the market than the passion and fury that drives metal core.

“It’s like they have things they need to fill to get the teenage crowd and it’s very false in that sense.”

(Black might just be dying out but angst never will).

It’s hard to say at this point if they’re pulling an older crowd but one thing is certain: people that loved them back in 2006 and before are still going to the shows. Before their Soundwave bout they played a few intimate shows (at venues that held only 500 people) and Cameron says the fans in their late 20s and early 30s are still coming out.

When it comes to Beloved it was about keeping the lyrics as real and as honest as possible. And Cameron says that this time around Vocalist Jamie Hope wanted more positivity in the songs.

It’s a sentiment that’s reflected in the album title. Cameron’s reassuring when he says that they weren’t calling themselves beloved. It’s an ode, an open homage, he says to the people that matter most in the lives of the band members.

Beloved also marks the band’s first album with their new label Epitaph (a fairly big deal to say the least) and Cameron says that it’s something they’re stoked about and considers it a risk for Epitaph.

“[Working with them was] very cool. It’s still early into the relationship but I only have good things to say. It’s great to have the biggest punk labels take you on and it’s really a risk on their behalf because the album could bomb.”

If there is one thing Cameron does, it’s understate the album. Beloved is exactly what’s missing in a scene soaked in Americanised, angst filled metal core. It’s not only a breath of fresh air, it’s a statement that:

I Killed The Prom Queen are back and at Soundwave, they will rip your face off.

Written by Sebastian Mackay

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