First I think it´s wise to say (and this was a very important factor in the choice for the album of the month) that the success of the quartet composed by Greg O´Shea (guitar), John Bennett (drums), Matt Lawson (vocals) and Gavin Parkinson (bass) it’s not only due to their technique and musical intelligence but also because since their formation they contributed to a solid relation between musicians and music creating a solid sounding, their own entity.
Second…“Salvation” is the second album of the month of 2013 and the second promoted by Aural Music/Code 666 here in HeavyHardMetalMania what brings me to mind that Aural Music/Code 666 is doing a really great job with awesome bands that deserve to be heard, that really deserve to be known in the metal scene. So we leave here in these lines our gratitude for Aural Music/Code 666 attention and sympathy toward us. Cheers \m/
Third and last before I start talking about “Salvation” this time around we wanted to try a different approach to the theme album of the month and explore in a more detailed way the album so you won´t read only the review but also the interview about The Prophecy new work. Without further ado
It was written that a sonic force would arise from chaos to open Pandora’s box and liberate not all the evil in the world but Humans conscious of our own nothingness leaving hope as the only light in the darkness… it as all begun in 2001 in Halifax, Yorkshire. The band has born and “The Prophecy” showed to be real!
The quartet early years were deeply rooted in the Doom/Death metal genre with a six-piece formation and in their first performances they supported bands such as My Dying Bride, Morgion and Mourning Beloveth across Europe and America. Their debut album “Ashes” was released in 2003 and received a warm reception from reviewers. After the debut and a long wait the follow-up “Revelations” was released in 2007 and presented a more mature and polished sound with a greater complexity of songs that exceeded all the expectations. 2009 brought a new light to the band and it was the year of the third album release “Into the Light” that confirmed the entity of The Prophecy as a unique and well flavored musical group. “Into the Light” marked a new path to their sound. They no longer were constrained by doom/death metal roots, instead they created a huge soundscape with a progressive touch, a more heavy, intimate, and technical work never forgetting their initial category. Four years after and returning to the days we live today The Prophecy give us “Salvation”. Recorded at Priory Studios in Sutton Coldfields, engineered by Greg Chandler (Esoteric) and mastered by James Plotkin (Khanate, Lotus Eater´s etc…).
It happened again and starts to become a habit, it seems the world its getting smaller to a huge number of bands, what in a way seems to be bad but it’s also good and gratifying when in so many bands one overlaps … I was caught by surprise by a band that already has 10 years of life and three released albums, a sleeping creature which not long ago was part of the nothingness inside of me awoke from a deep slumber to flood my being in the beauty of its chants.
“Salvation” was in fact my first experience of four different journeys that The Prophecy has to offer and after hearing the newest my interest in hearing all of them automatically grew. How can I explain through words the vastness of feelings that comes to me when I hear the immense atmosphere that these guys create? Maybe the correct word is introspective, maybe vast suites better, maybe all words that refer to a concentrated meditation and referring to an infinite space of the human essence. There isn´t a correct term or definition to the intimate binding between music and Man, it´s as mysterious as the very space that surrounds us and this was what I felt with “Salvation” a deep connection with my inside that took me in a mysterious journey to seek the meaning of salvation hidden in the notes and words.
The Prophecy really grew in the last years and expanded their sound even further with their latest five track album that is the reflection of maturation and experience what also explains the four years that have passed since “Into the Light” release. This music masterpiece is small at sight but don´t be fooled because it´s a “small giant” containing 51 minutes of complex progressive music ready to be triggered with five songs that transpire melancholic melodies swimming in a sea of doom, heavy and catchy riffs with different tempos with thrash and death flavor, clean and roaring vocals and an ambiance of sad violins and organic chorus to create an enormous musical crater never forgetting the beautiful lyrics emanated of course.
Fight your fears, release your sins, close your eyes and take a leap, your final step, your final decision, reflect and don´t look back to the past that you know that was a lie, don´t lose your way in your past, close your eyes in silence and listen, listen carefully to the melancholic darkness that calls you with a gentle voice in the night that holds your tears and hides your redemption, let go your tears, don´t look back because your redemption is coming to set you free from the burning silence and to immerse your mind in “Salvation”, the newest album of The Prophecy.
004 In Silence
Release: 4 February 2013
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Pedro Ribeiro - This is our first interview with The Prophecy and you guys have been grown immense since your first releases. Know you give to the listener a different experience from all that you already created. What were your personal and musical inspirations in the conception of “Salvation”?
Gavin: After we finished the recording of ‘Into The Light’ we were all a little scared, as we didn’t know where we were going to go next. We had a totally blank canvas, no half finished songs, no works in progress or old riffs kicking about, so we had to start from scratch and just do what we felt was right, no plan, no contrived themes, and no set genre in mind. We just do what we do, and once we got fully into the writing process it became clear the feel and atmospheres we were working with had a definite sound and this is something that provides further inspiration, as a result we feel that ‘Salvation’ works as a piece of music as equally as it does a collection of songs, I hope anyone listening will find that the whole of the album is greater than its parts.
Matt: The album title came quite quickly on this recording. I think it was after a moment of inspiration on the title track with the sparse instrumentation and the 'salvation calls your name' chorus. At the time we had only one nearly finished song which turned into 'Released' and lots of different riffs floating about but no overall concept. With the 'Into the light' album we had incorporated a broad theme running through the songs and with this next album we had wanted to make the album even more coherent as a whole piece of work rather than a collection of live songs. That made fitting everything together much harder but I think we achieved what we set out to do.
PR - You have created a complex and unique sound that only fits in your name! Was it difficult to find the proper soundscape to transpire “Salvation” without forgetting your roots? Or does the energy that hangs over this album flowed naturally?
Greg – When we began our journey 12 years ago our principles were that we should feel free to express ourselves, create what each of us as individuals need to create, respect each other’s interpretations of ideas and starting points and that if something felt right to the collective then it was right. I have a lot of respect for bands that have a trusted formula and use that template for each album that they make but our view has always been that we shouldn’t discount an idea because it may deviate from our perceived genre. Our purpose is to create music that is our personal release and by being true to that, our music and each album is an honest reflection of the emotions of each member of the group. By being together for so long and us knowing each other so well it is a very organic and peaceful process to orchestrate each member’s contribution into a coherent piece. It is definitely still hard-work to get it to a standard that we are comfortable sharing with our listeners, each song is too introspective for us to shirk our responsibilities and not give it the rehearsal time it deserves.
PR - Four years have passed since your last release! Did you found something in your tour across Europe, China, Cuba and Russia that you used as ideas for the album?
Gavin: Not directly, but our enthusiasm for what we do and the reasons we do it was fully reinvigorated We met people who love what we do (even it is it 1 or 2!) lovers of doom ‘ish’ music who had been waiting for years to see us, people who know our lyrics and music, yet live a long plane flight away from home! For four lads from Halifax this is very humbling. In Cuba people had never seen a band like us play live in their country and were so appreciative that we made the journey, and to get positive feedback from people you play for is the ultimate accolade, all you can do is try your best and if people appreciate what you do, fantastic! Seeing new countries, meeting new people, making new friends all over the world, it reinforces why we do it and makes you want to do it all over again!
Matt: There have been some brutal drives and long haul flights that could have indirectly contributed to the album. However, I think as soon as we get to where we are going the focus is more about having a good time rather than influencing an album. Although breaking down in the middle of Portugal certainly felt like doom.
PR - Have you had many rocks blocking the way to creativity and to the realization of this work?
Greg – The only barriers were my personal limitations. I had to spend some time practicing some of the instruments (other than guitar) that I played on the album and I haven’t had a practice regime since I was 15 or 16. So that required a lot of long lost self-control. Even though a lot of the lines are quite simplistic they are very delicate and I wanted to make sure that they had the right inflections to be heard how I wanted them to sound. The other thing that I had to rationalise was the required level of restraint. Silence and space are as important to The Prophecy as composers as the notes themselves and we tried a lot of different arrangements to allow prominent parts room to project and dominate whilst other parts weave in and out of the background to the fore.
Matt: 'Salvation' has been the hardest album to write lyrics for so far just in terms of keeping true to the concept running through it. There were many many drafts and ammendments, in fact I was still refining lyrics down till the final edits in the studio.
PR - When I was listening to your five track masterpiece I wasn´t able to separate/enjoy every song in separated; instead I built in my head a musical scene that captivated me with the melancholy and strength of the message. Can you give us the meaning of this journey with a brief explanation of each song?
Gavin: I don’t think we can explain the songs, they are to be listened to. If you wish to you can read the lyrics along with the music and decide what it means for you. I am sure Matt has his own view on what the lyrics mean to him, but I am also sure that my interpretation will be a little bit different to his original meaning. I don’t think it is right to tell people that what it means to them is wrong, or even tell them that 'this' is what the lyrics and songs are meant to mean, different people have different perspectives and starting points based on their own experiences of live, and if our songs mean something to somebody then I think that in itself is enough! Maybe Matt will be able to shed some more light...
Matt: That's correct. As the lyricist I think of my job as translating the music into words. Its then up to the listener to find their own meanings and not for me to tell them they are wrong. Music brings different thoughts and emotions to everyone to everyone. I still think of my grandma when I hear the blue danube waltz that was played at her funeral or when I'm pushed for time and in a rush its amazing how often Queen's 'show must go on' pops into my head.
PR - This is not the first time you work with Greg Chandler! Is he a guru of metal and a friend?
Greg: He knows us. That makes it so much easier. He is also a very good engineer and we play the exact same rig so I love going to the studio because he tells me how to work my own equipment – he points out buttons that I didn’t even know were there! He is definitely not a frie nd though. You cannot be friends with someone who forces you to play guitar until you bleed. In fact, he is a pain in the arse!
Gavin: Seriously, Greg is a great bloke and I consider him to be a person I have met, but we don’t work with him just because we like him, we work with him because he does a great job and really cares about the music, he is as concerned with the feel and quality of the performance as much as the technical aspects and sound quality.
PR - Any event that glued a smile on your face during the making of “Salvation”?
Gavin: Having an infestation of bats! The studio in a rural area and they had flown in through a window, what was most worrying was how we giggled and shrieked like school girls until we had all calmed down. Very mature! They were very close to our heads though. I was also amused by how keen we all were to tidy up the studio when the female string quartet were due to arrive to record their parts, I guess we didn’t want to let the side down!
PR - Do you feel at home now that you have constructed a concise entity that surpassed all the expectations? Or are you in constant search of something more?
Greg – We’ve had the finished, mastered versions for a month now so we’ve listened to the songs a hell of a lot. We started rehearsing for this year’s tours and festivals last Friday and before we started we were asking each other how we felt about each track now that we have had chance to reflect on our performances. We were saying how because we've spent enough time living with these songs to discount the chance of our thoughts of them being biaised by ego, pride or personal involvement we could judge them for what they are. I’m proud of my fellow prophets and what we’ve made together. There isn’t anything I would like to change and it’s part of our principles of being honest that each recording is a true indication of where we are as individual musicians and as a group at that particular place in time. Thankfully, in the month we spent recording we were all in good form and made something we are happy to share with our brothers and sisters of metal.
Gavin: We are always searching for more, not that we aren’t happy with ‘Salvation’, we did the best we could and are proud of what we have produced, but for us it is not new, we spent about a year writing the album and we are already looking to the future and have started work on some new ideas for the next album.
PR - Thanks very much for this interview guys and continue to impress with great works like this. Any final words that you want to leave here?
Matt: Thanks for a great interview Pedro . I hope some of your readers will take the time to have a listen to the new album or come see us next time we tour. To keep up to date with our comings and goings we have a twitter feed @THE_PROPHECY_UK or you can look us up in facebook, myspace or lastfm and of course there's the website where you can support the band by purchasing 'Salvation' or our previous albums www.the-prophecy.net