Prestige – Reveal the Ravage Review

Prestige are a Finnish thrash band with a really, really awful name. They’re not a new act either. They were around at the tail end of the 80s thrash heyday, releasing their debut way back in 1989. According to their bio this earned them the distinction of being “one of Finland’s very first thrash metal bands.” They managed two followup releases, the last of which coming in 1992, before going into a Winter Soldier-like cryofreeze. They reformed in 2020 and now we get their first album in 29 years, Reveal the Ravage. Having never heard of these chaps back in the day, considering the ginormous gap in recording output, and having sampled their old stuff, suspicions were high and expectations low going in. Well color me surprised because time has been very good to Prestige and they can hold their own against the big dogs in the thrash kennel. Reveal the Rampage is a vastly more sophisticated, competent platter than anything they did in the days of Nirvana and Zima and they convincingly execute a sound blending the classic Bay Area style with that of various European speed freaks of yore. Old dogs and timeless tricks…

Opener “Innocent” sets the tone quickly, rocking an aggressive, slightly punky thrash attack with nasty vocals, beefy, crunchy riffage and enough piss and vinegar to pickle a butt-ton of beets and badgers. It’s heavy, high-energy and sounds livelier than what some genre titans have managed of late, mixing elements of recent Onslaught with Destruction. It’s also catchy enough to leave a favorable first impression. “Burn My Eyes” (not a Machine Head cover thankfully) is chunky, burly and badass, borrowing much from ExodusShovel Headed Kill Machine era. This is the kind of meathead deadlift day thrash I have a chronic weakness for and I’m digging it muchly. The super melodic break at 2:40 comes out of left field but it’s very well done and adds a whole other layer to the song. “Blessed Be” is another furious romper stomper and the frequent shouts of “Do your job!” are good, violent fun. None of this stuff is new in any way, but it’s put over with so much enthusiastic force that you won’t care.

Some of the best stuff arrives late, like the berserk fury of “In Remains” with its big Testament mojo, and the lunkheaded but heavy as fook riff-fest of “Ready?”. In fact, the best is saved for last as “Prime Time” is the hookiest cat in the thrash bin. The refrain of “Things Escalate” certainly captures the zeitgeist of these crazy times we live in, and I can’t stop spinning it. If it weren’t for a slight mid-album sag with “Pick Your Poison” and “Exit” falling a bit short, this would be one of the better thrash slabs I’ve heard in a while. At a tight 43 minutes, Prestige hit all the marks and gets out of town long before you feel fatigue, and they keep most of the songs in that crucial 3-4 minute sweet spot. The production provides for a big, impactful guitar sound and you aren’t left feeling skull blasted by a brickwalled mix. Not too shabby at all.

Original guitarists Ari Karppinen and Jan Yrlund are present and accounted for and acquit themselves very well with a collection of mean, razor-sharp riffs and smoking solo-work. They borrow from all the greats but manage to avoid sounding like a clone of any specific act of greater renown. Vocalist/basist Aku Kytölä does a fine job, sounding like a crazed combination of Rob Dukes and Nuclear Assault’s John Connelly. He has that classic thrash rasp/shout/snarl and uses it for all its worth without ever getting annoying or overly monotonous. For a group of guys that took off nearly three decades, they sound shockingly rowdy, hungry and righteously pissed off, and that alone deserves some major respect.

This may be one of the best examples of time off doing wonders for a band. Prestige wasn’t quite good enough to gain prestige beyond their home country during their original run, but they’re good enough now. I hope they keep this momentum going and come back with an even bigger, better thrasher. They certainly have the chops and the writing prowess to pull it off. Reveal the Ravage is a welcome surprise that hit the very same week I began questioning my thrash affection. What a difference a few days can make. Speed still adds life.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Massacre
Releases Worldwide: August 13th, 2021

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