lunes, 17 de junio de 2013

THE PROPHECY "Salvation" (2013)

band: The Prophecy album: Salvation year: 2013 
genres: progressive/atmospheric doom metal origin: United Kingdom


It’s been a long weary 2013, like if those ludicrous tales people say about the number 13 were all truth. And then I remember last April when I traveled to the beach, watching the waves going back and forth like if all the troubles inside could be wiped away. The cruel time passes by and one just runs out of the strength that once supported one fighting, nothing left but let it drag away, and for a moment everything seems to be so peaceful. In this strained situation I find myself listening to a bunch of melancholic melodies, helpless yet peaceful sounds, voices speaking in second person about the grimness and coldness of this life. It is the new output of UK based band The Prophecy, this is the successor of “Into the Light” unleashed in 2009, the longest year according to Katatonia. In that year I was through a very difficult moment too and I found a close personal connection with the album. It’s been four years since then and The Prophecy’s music appears to be in a similar situation of loss of faith to the one I’m facing. This new record is named “Salvation”, though the title is nothing but another broken promise…

The Prophecy has found shelter inside death doom metal since early 2000’s. Nevertheless, these doomsters have never been the heaviest band in the world and in their past album vocalist Matt Lawson took advantage of his skill of providing both clean vocals and deep growls. In that album, the epic ultra-melancholic track known as “Echoes” astounded the whole doom metal scene with a more melodic and atmospheric seal of The Prophecy. The new album “Salvation” is not the brutal blow of slowness and heaviness some may claim for inside the genre, instead, it is more about melancholy, peaceful soundscapes and beautiful melodies. It is closer to “Echoes” than to any other The Prophecy’s previous development.

I listen to “Salvation” and remember that beach, the waves drench my feet but the whole atmosphere is peaceful and sorrowful. The clean guitars bring melancholic melodies throughout the album, helped by acoustic guitars and an amazing use of violin and other atmospheric elements that build up that scene of serene waters. A similar ambience to the one developed by The 3rd and the Mortal in their classic “Tears Laid on Earth”, even the feeling of uncertainty sharpened in that album can be found in “Salvation”. This feeling is blessed with the impressive clean vocals of Matt Lawson, who sounds better than in any of his previous performances. He sings in a poignant way to manage the listener’s feelings at his will. With all these elements, “Salvation” depicts a similar scene to the one of the cover art: a human life placed between what could be a grievous life and a possible salvation. Though the opening track may bear a bit of confusion with statements like:

This is salvation…
Now I know there is no heaven now
to deliver us from all that is to come

Nevertheless, second track “Released” proposes a way to “free from this empty life”. Almost always, Matt speaks in second person, he may be recurring to an introspective process but his words pierce one’s mind and heart just in the same way that old writing of Paradise Lost’s Nick Holmes used to do. And this is decisive in this desperate track “Released”. It is straightforward to infer that Matt is talking about the permanent solution (if you know what I mean):

Still you fail to decide
When your faith and your fate will divide
Just one way out that I can see
Just the feeling that I can believe

This kind of writing is persistent throughout the album and can sound like the voices in your head due to the serenity in the music. But when memories reach a point of hopelessness and despair the situation goes violent and the almost extinct death metal elements appear. You can find some heavy yet technical riffage in the vein of Confessor as well as slow doom metal guitars. In this stage the now occasional guttural vocals of Matt take over the command of the journey, expressing acute moments in lyrics. For example, in the last track “Redemption” when Matt brutality sings “no hope for salvation, now the time has come”. This blend of atmospheric music and unadvised dosages of heaviness can evoke Opeth’s “Watershed”, even though the comparison is not strict. And approaching these progressive fields, The Prophecy has made an outstanding work spotting certain technical and complex passages like gems ornamenting a golden ring. For instance, take a look at opening guitar lines at “Reflections” which can recall Isis and the following riffs sound with that interesting touch of technique, making of this song sides with “Redemption” the most progressive tracks in the album.

Heads must be up at track “In Silence”, perhaps the most beautiful song I’ve heard in this year so far. Each of the 11 minutes of this piece is worth listening and is drenched in emotions and melancholy. “In Silence” gathers everything good of this album and leads you from the quiet shallow waters through a more desperate feeling showing an amazing song writing gift.

When the will to fight and all wrath are gone, only a serene melancholy remains, perhaps this happened to The Prophecy too. The aggressive death metal elements are almost gone, only tears and a peaceful sorrow remain here. “Salvation” is one of those not that easy-finding album that are able to deliver what I call real music. It is music shed from the heart that achieves its aim of surrounding the listeners into a certain atmosphere and transferring the writer’s feeling to them. It is music that subtly matters about the technique without becoming into a mathematical demonstration, making it sound completely natural. In few words, it is music that allows one to build a personal connection with it. In that sense, “Salvation” is not only recommendable for any doom metal fan, but also for people who actually can accuse the genre of being monotone and lacking of complexity, they’ll find that “Salvation” brings a more dynamic and richer doom metal experience.  

It seems like every time the demons knock my door The Prophecy releases a new album. I hope to meet these guys in a better situation next time… 

Official Site
Code 666 Records