Six years is a long time between albums. Time can have the ability to either atrophy or inspire a band's creative process. Thankfully, it's been the latter for Prototype's third album, Catalyst. It's a concept album on a science fiction theme, though I found little clarity about the story, either from their website or from press materials.
Prototype has the rare ability to draw from several styles and then weave the components into a interesting, challenging, and entertaining sound. The larger canvas for the band is progressive metal, yet on the heavier and darker side. To this they add the energy of power metal, the aggression of thrash, and the sweetness of classic melodic metal.
That latter characteristic is found in both the guitar parts and harmonious vocal arrangements. Conversely, the heavy edge of thrash is also found in the massive riffage in nearly every song. It's seems a contrast by intention, a sort of yin and yang of light versus darkness.
The vocals get aggressive with moments of raspy death vocals as on Into Oblivion and The Ageless Heart of Memory. There also seems to be a certain pattern to nearly every song: brisk thrash and power metal momentum injected with melancholy, light, segues and blistering guitar solos. These solos are deft and electric, without floundering in excessive shredding. Some of the best examples of this formula are found on the aforementioned The Ageless Heart of Memory, My Own Deception, Gravity Well, and The Chosen Ones. Catalyst also includes three instrumental parts, one at the start and two segues later. They're quite good, thoughtful and engaging against being filler.
Catalyst is a fine return to form for Prototype. If you like progressive metal both melodic and technical, but also powered by an assertive thrash groove, you'll dig this album. Very recommended.
Catalyst is a fine return to form for Prototype. If you like progressive metal both melodic and technical, but also powered by an assertive thrash groove, you'll dig this album.