Prime Prophecy is a Brooklyn-based 6-piece European metal band, which just released their latest album “Borders of Infinity” a couple of months ago. The album spans 10 songs that incorporate many different subgenres and elements. The album artwork is truly a masterpiece and I have to praise whoever came up with it because it looks like nature on a small scale (mountains and green fields) to a larger scale, which is outer space and distant planets.
In a similarly majestic sense, the album’s opening track is entitled Truthful Meaning and begins with a simple and melancholic violin solo. Guitars, bass, and drums all kick in after a minute and a half to reveal that this is actually a riff-based track. The orchestral elements are played on the keys/synths played by Mr. Tom Tworek. The song has an unusual arrangement, where a guitar solo follows the first verse and chorus then every chorus is followed by a similar instrumental part with the guitars and keyboards making a key change. This approach will appeal to fans of Symphony X and Evergrey, who play a similar brand of Symphonic Progressive Metal.
The Second Track, Here I Am, with a short eerie section of an Asian gong, followed by Mongolian chanting/throat singing that lies way too low in the vocal bass range. It’s an epic way to open a song in my opinion. The song is otherwise led by the guitar riffs of Peter Statkiewicz and Darek Pakula with a nice tempo change between the chorus and verses, giving the track that extra headbanging-friendly groove.
The moment the third track, End Of The Beginning, starts you know it will be a turning point in the album. The song had an accompanying music video, which was both very beautiful and tragic (just as the lyrics and music are). Vocalist Martin Wilczek shows his inner Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode in an otherwise Katatonia-esque song. And if you think this comparison calls for a gothic overdose, then you’re right because this is exactly what this song sounds like. The verses and chorus of this song have some amazing contrast between delicacy and heaviness, between clean and harsh voice, and most importantly between comfort and distress. The emotional rollercoaster that the song and video’s protagonist is going through is brought to an end with a powerful guitar solo and a bridge led by a violin melody, followed by some strong belted chest notes from Mr. Wilczek that beautifully close the song.
The title track, Borders Of Infinity, is an 8-minute opus in its full symphonic galore. And I’m speaking both composition-wise and heaviness-wise. The song dives straight in with a heavy section full of strong riffs, drum beats, and magical keyboard lines. The prog goodness is prominent here too of course, as we see the tempo changing back and forth and some odd time signatures chiming in between melodies. The vocals sound ethereal and every note will send chills down your spine. People always think you need a classically-trained female vocalist to succeed in creating the symphonic atmosphere, but these theatrical and deep bass-baritone vocals serve the purpose of the track majestically. The song structure is not a traditional verse-hook style so it feels like one grandiose poem, reminding me of other prog bands which did similar arrangements such as Nevermore. Breaking off from the technicality a little bit is a melodic guitar solo that lasts for a whole minute. I have to give credit to the amazing Valerio Celentano (Bass) and Kris Niewiarowski (Drums) for sustaining such a strong bassline behind the guitar solo that made me fall in love with the band’s tightness and chemistry.
The fifth track, Memories From The Past, is a continuation of End Of The Beginning both in the lyrics and video. This time our main character has grown older and the forces of good and evil are fighting over him. We see him struggle with substance abuse during the video, and the way it ends is really beautiful and hopeful it will get you emotional. I recommend watching the official music video upon hearing this track.
Unborn Resurrection begins with very somber keyboard and bass lines. The vocals and clean guitars shortly followed, with emotional lyrics as usual. The vocals are much softer this time and the whole song reminds me of Sonata Arctica so much. The short brief guitar solo is followed by some futuristic-sounding keyboards and heavily distorted guitars for the final chorus that will get you banging your head violently. A beautiful outro is played with clean guitars then the song beautifully ends.
The moment Prime Prophecy truly won me over is when I discovered they recorded a cover version of the 1984 Bronski Beat classic Small Town Boy, just like one of my favorite bands (Paradise Lost) did before. Whether they go their influence from the original or from the godfathers of gothic metal doesn’t really matter though, because the Prime Prophecy version rocks so hard in its own right with strong keyboards and vocals that lead the song, and backing them are relentless guitars, bass, and drums that transformed this song into their own brand of sympho-prog metal.
The eighth track, My Confession, has some harsh vocals and distorted cleans that feel like a fresh change from the previous tracks. The sound itself has a more classic power metal approach, with the song being a chuggy riff-based moshpit anthem. The band made an official lyric video for this track as its lyrics are strong and uplifting enough to pull you out of your dark days. My favorite aspect of this track is the fast section in the bridge before the last chorus.
The following track, Question To Ask, has a melodic riff and some more futuristic keyboard/synth sounds that contrast with the deep chest voice beautifully. As per usual Prime Prophecy tradition, the song’s chorus has a beautiful change of pace and a very memorable vocal line. The two guitar solos that are back to back here have that nice balance between melody and technicality, and this serves to prove how this band’s axemen are real pros and awesome composers. Shortly after these solos, a horn section orchestration and heavy riffs play a nice key change with an atmosphere of chaos. It’s as if some epic battle has started. We hear one more beautiful chorus followed by the intro melody once more and the song ends there.
The tenth and final track, Back To Reality, begins with fast keyboard and guitar riffs and powerful vocals. The second riff is a more stompy one and I can already imagine how much of a crowd-pleaser this song will be. If I ever get the chance to catch these guys live this will be one of the songs I will violently mosh along to. The pre-chorus has some nice blasting drums that make the sound all the more destructive and chaotic yet coherent when you compare it to the serene chorus that has belted vocals sung at wider intervals. A brief and melodic guitar solo plays before the last chorus which ends the song in a very grandiose way. I really loved the arrangement of this song so much.
In conclusion, this is a record that mixes one too many metal subgenres, and doing so made a diverse personality for Prime Prophecy. The many facades of the band though do not take away from their consistency and the coherence between all of those tracks. At its core its modern-sounding progressive metal with symphonic elements. It’s the charming lyrics and the gothic nuances that make this band an eye-opener in the midst of many other bands that just follow gimmicks or style choices. It’s also pretty rare to find such heavy-sounding tunes with a widely capable vocalist belting his way through them. I recommend this album to anyone who likes progressive power metal and those who like symphonic metal that’s creative and different.