Here's more hope for the always restless progressive metal world. Several weeks ago it was Norway's Withem. Now it's Oxford's Prospekt with their full length debut, The Colourless Sunrise, also on the Sensory Records label. Somebody over there has their ear to the ground for new prog metal.
Prospekt founders, guitarist Lee Luland and drummer Blake Richardson, started the band as an experimental project with emphasis on highly technical instrumentation. While it eventually morphed into a vocal band, with the addition of vocalist and keyboardist Richard Marshall, the technical aspect remains. In contrast to label mates Withem, for example, Prospekt has a heavier feel with more intricate arrangements, but never at the expense of melody. Good example of this is found within The Great Awakening a number filled with heavy riffs and booming drums where vocal, keyboard, and guitar lines take turns enforcing the melody.
Sometimes a song seems an emphasis on those walls of heavy riffage, pounding away with no relief, as with A Desolate Kingdom, Dissident Priests, or Shroud, and you would be right; it's, perhaps the only down side of this work. All are charging numbers with guitar and drum structure combining to blow up your speakers or perhaps competing to see who can best keep the heavy groove going. The songs are rescued, in the best sense, by Luland's bright and brilliant guitar solos. The man is definitely talented, technical, and spry and, thankfully, not addicted to neo-classical noodling. It easy to hea,r from these songs, that most every arrangement here has its roots in the Luland/Richardson origins of guitar and drums. It can also be Prospekt's perilious aspect, But they improve.
For traditional progressive metal the two longer numbers, The Colourless Sunrise and Hunting Poseidon, while not dismissing that heavy groove, allow for more depth beyond it. Both will have interludes of softness, sometimes with acoustic guitar or mellow keyboard accompanying the vocals, which provide both pause for thought and respite from the heaviness. Within the latter song, from about the halfway point to two-thirds, it begins with softer drums and a more distinct bass line. Vocal come in again with more light keyboards, the drums stay lighter, and then almost jazz fusion guitar from Luland. The guitar ends to be replaced by more gentle keys and drums and that bass line rising. But it all eventually leads to a blustering heavy finale. It's these moments that Prospekt displays their talent and proves their strength. If this is future of things to come, this is a dangerous band and one to watch. Easily recommended.
Combining walls of heavy riffage with technical sophistication in musicianship and arrangements, Prospekt is formidable threat to status quo of progressive metal.
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