Monday, October 2, 2017

Prospekt - The Illuminated Sky (2017)

In the evolution of progressive metal, most would probably put Dream Theater and Symphony X as the two bands that has been in the front of the charge, with Dream Theater more or less creating the genre, and Symphony X infusing more power and symphonic elements into the music. So whenever a new prog metal band pops up, it is pretty safe to say that it is gonna borrow some influences from one of the bands, maybe even both. Enter the British band Prospekt, a band that formed in 2010 who seem to have created the perfect mix between the two legends, taking the epic nature of DT's early works, and adding more power into it.

So it is not a small task these guys are taking on, and they probably know that the picky fans of those bands are listening closely to every note, riff, and beat to see if they can match up to their idols. The Brits do man up, delivering a powerful record that has ton of passion behind it. Each member does their part in making their sophomore effort "The Illuminated Sky" as good as possible, and you can immidiately hear it in the opening intro "Ex Nihilo" where the angelic keys of Rox Capriotti sets the mood, with Lee Luland on guitar and Blake Richardson on drums (no, it is not the drummer from Between The Buried And Me) takes it further and builds up the tension into the opening self titled track.

This title track is just proggy goodness, it is playful in its approach, but determined in its execution, delivering an excellent start to this record. The first half does stutter though with a couple of smaller songs that does not really come together in the end, but it hold up the fort quite nicely, setting up for a strong second half that shows some good range, from long and epic songs to more slower and emotional tunes, while still keeping all of the song within the same sound realm to make a very strong and cohesive experience.

The only thing I can get slightly annoyed by with this record are the vocals, because just like Dream Theater, those just do not match up with the quality of the instrumentation. Michael Morris has a pretty high pitch that can really rub the wrong way in some moments, and I can feel that he is trying his all to keep it together, maybe even too hard in some places. It is still a flaw that I think some can look past, especially since he does have moments where he truly shines, like in the slow keyboard based song "Akaibara" where the mood is perfect, so beautiful and fragile to really enhance it further. A real hair raiser.

And what would a prog record be without an epic closer? Prospekt sure delivers one in "Where Masters Fall", and also gets a little help from DragonForce singer Marc Hudson to amp up the power. I have definitely heard better 10+ minute songs, but "Where Masters Fall" does its job really well, creating some epic tension to finish off an overall fantastic record. It also has some of the best soloing in the record, something I would have loved to see more of, and both Michael and Marc does a great job cooperating, giving each other enough space to shine.

So with a rock solid line up of great songs, some nice performances all around, and a sleek production that amplifies the music further, Prospekt has really created a progressive gem that should not be overlooked. Sure, the similarities to other great progressive metal bands are there, but it does not overshadow the effort that this band puts out, and besides, this is only their second album, so they are still evolving as a band, not done perfecting their musical recipe. If "The Illuminated Sky" is any indication, this band is most likely going places where most bands would only dream of reaching, and this record is just one step towards that destination.

Songs worthy of recognition: The Illuminated Sky, Beneath Enryia, Alien Makers of Discord, Akaibara

Rating: 8,5/10 Titans

No comments:

Post a Comment