Set for release on September 16th, UK death/doom metal veterans The Prophecy return with Origins and it finds this four-piece embracing prog more than ever….and excelling at what they do in the process!
Opener “Origins I” is quite probably the finest prog metal epic we’ve heard this year, an absolutely mind blowing piece that may be minimalist in nature but there lies its subterfuge. This relatively sparse arrangement opens and closes with an aching piano ballad – yes, piano – which subtly reveals great depth and an innate ability to conjure evocative imagery through control and a fragile sense of purpose. With vocalist Matt Lawson predominantly sticking with a rich but suitably emotional sounding clean tone, it’s ironic that we find ourselves categorising the death metal vocals as all but redundant, with The Prophecy achieving ‘heaviness’ via other, more intellectual, means.
“Origins II” – each of the five tracks are simply numbered – continues in the same vein. A ‘less is more’ approach is at the very heart of Origins but we need to clarify what we mean by this. Origins has clearly been honed to perfection with each considered, perfectly weighted drum hit, each carefully plucked note and soaring vocal delivered with ultimate precision; there’s nothing wasted, nothing superfluous about a single second of this outstanding album. It takes some serious self-control to achieve such a feat, especially considering these 5 tracks clock in at 8mins+ apiece, but its testament to the songwriting skill on display that they wash over you in what feels like half the time. In fact, you’re left begging for more even when the aching ‘beauty meets the beast’ nature of “Origins V” is over.
Far more prog metal than death/doom, you can’t help but feel that The Prophecy’s sound is now more at home in the Porcupine Tree meets Anathema landscape they find themselves in. Any limitations death/doom may impose have now been cast aside completely with the band upping the technicality factor amidst unpredictable undulating rhythms while also maintaining their poignant and emotional core. Incidentally, the mention of Porcupine Tree and Anathema is used symbolically only. While The Prophecy may share a sense of dynamics and a sense of experimentation with these two, forward-thinking, bands, they live happily in their own skin, offering plenty for the more adventurous metalhead to sink his or her teeth into.
If, as previously mentioned, you were to remove the death metal vocals, Origins could arguably be dismissed as metal entirely. Instead, the immense tapestry of emotion woven here would occupy territory inhabited by lovers of prog rock, alternative rock and even jazz; these minimalist (there’s that word again) compositions soothing the soul of anyone with a penchant for outstanding artistry. 10/10