With the obvious play on words for a name and paradoxical nihilism of the album title, Against All Good and Evil, Israel's Prey For Nothing caught my interest. This interest surprised even me as the PR material pegged PfN as a melodic, but progressive, death metal band. Put 'death' metal in any metal description and I usually take a pass. But these guys are curiously intriguing.
Largely, this is due to the spry musicianship played out in clever and often technical arrangements. PfN is definitely on the heavier side of metal, but not all that extreme. They take their cues from traditional thrash, power, and progressive metal, infusing it with enough melody and harmony to be music. Even though the vocals add little to this (more on this in a moment), the arrangements, fundamentally, offer these two characteristics, often from the chord arrangements, but also from the use synths for symphonic notes. Ultimately, however, Against All Good and Evil is, again excepting the vocals, heavier melodic progressive metal.
Above, Prey For Nothing: my guess, Yahweh has a special place in Ghenna for these dudes.
This motif is best worked out in the longer numbers like Buried by the Light, Against All Good, and the dynamic and engaging opener, Treachery, where the band members have room to stretch. Shifting arrangements are reinforced by a skillful rhythm section and peppered with some mighty fine fret work. Frankly, I was surprised at depth of the guitar technique here which, likely, piqued my interest from the start. Shorter (relatively) numbers are, more often than not, compact versions of this theme. Some of the best are Chekhov's Gun, Homemade Holocaust, and Spiritual Guillotine. Sometimes PfN allows the vocal arrangement (outside of the lead) to offer harmony as in the latter third of Turning Shears to Swords. For the strength of simple melodic heavier metal the instrumental Axis Mundi delivers.
Now I suppose something should be said about the lead vocals of Yotam 'Defiler' Avni, the reason, for the most part, why PfN is dubbed 'death' metal by their label. He certainly tries to be a 'death' metal vocalist, but mostly he's raspy and raw. (Actually, he might be too coherent or understandable for death metal.) So then, as with most vocalists of this ilk, he's somewhere between irritating and annoying, inconsequential and obsolete. He adds nothing to the arrangements, but rather compromises the integrity of these technical arrangements. This whole 'death vocal' thing is becoming so very boring, and so predictable. If Avni can sing clean, he should give it go, maybe adding some (minimal) growls for accent.
At the end of the day, what's rather compelling here is Prey For Nothing's gifted metal musicianship played out in creative and clever arrangements. If you can 'suck it up' and endure the vocals, I think you'll like this album. Recommended.
Excepting the indeterminate, and largely annoying, vocals, on Against Good and Evil Prey For Nothing offers some intriguing melodic, sometimes heavier, progressive metal, displaying sound musicianship and song composition.
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