Prospekt is a British tech-prog metal band, whose debut full length, The Colourless Sunrise features a blend of traditional progressive metal, melodic metal, and djent. While it’s always a fun game to pick out a band’s influences, Prospekt spoiled that job for me, as their Facebook page proudly lists the likes of Symphony X, Dream Theater, Opeth, and Meshuggah, among others. Sadly for Prospekt, they don’t quite measure up to the lofty standards of the aforementioned influences. Still, for more astute readers, that mention of Meshuggah has got to stand out a bit, so let’s spend some time examining that.
2013 has seen somewhat of a renaissance of djent fused with other forms of metal, particularly progressive metal. Prospekt is a part of this, edging from progressive power metal into djentier pastures [That sounds oddly dirty for some reason. — Steel Druhm]. The record contains three “epic length” songs, though I’m sad to say these are not the highlights of the album. That honor probably belongs to opener “A Desolate Kingdom,” which has some solid riffing and some great technical wizardry in the solos. It’s also one of the few songs where the vocalist really shines. The djent comes through in a few riffs, and the hyper-technical passages feel well-placed, but what they’re really getting into is progressive power metal that’s a touch more eclectic than the norm.
The biggest problem I had with this record was the singing of Richard Marshall. His voice is rather unfortunate to listen to through most of the record and it’s particularly bad on sustained notes. I will admit it’s less about his talent or range and more an issue that I personally find his voice obnoxious. Past that, the music ranges from uninspiring to occasionally pretty good, but the hooks aren’t terribly memorable. Also, a politically charged voiceover track stands as a terrible black spot. I’m not sure why Brits are subjecting me to George W. Bush’s response to September 11th, or what it is with the progressive metal fascination with this man (Dream Theater, Andromeda), but voiceovers always suck. Always.
If I’m sounding particularly negative on what’s ultimately a pretty good record, it’s because of my tremendous disappointment with the recording and production. Jens Borgren, who has worked with Opeth, Symphony X, and Amon Amarth, was responsible for most of the production, which is surprising, because this album sounds like a demo at times. There’s a lot of potential in this band, and they wrote a good album, however, they didn’t succeed at recording a good album. Rhythm guitars that might have pushed the songs toward excellence seem noisy when put against the wall of instrumental chaos here. The drums are fun to listen to if you pay attention carefully, but a crisper recording and production would have done wonders.