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The Prophecy - Ashes CD (album) cover


The Prophecy

Experimental/Post Metal

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4 stars The Prophecy's 'Ashes' is the first studio album by the British progressive doom band, and is probably their finest and most enjoyable release. This is a record I discovered entirely by accident when it was first released back in 2003 and it has since become a firm favourite of mine. In fact I was really rather surprised to find no reviews for this on the prog archives, and only a single rating! But The Prophecy have always been rather an unknown and overlooked band, which I find to be such a shame as their music is extremely enjoyable and well crafted.

The Prophecy have always been massively over-shone by the daddies of doom metal, My Dying Bride. Like MDB, The Prophecy feature gloomy music, laced with gothic tones, thick atmosphere and deeply textured musical landscapes constructed from heavily distorted guitars and moody keyboards.

On 'Ashes' there are plenty of raspy tortured vocals, like all good doom records should have! But there are clean vocals as well, spoken passages, soft acoustic guitar and lots of musical variation throughout. Make no mistake, this is definitely progressive music. The tracks are long and leave plenty of room for musical progression and transformation. The heavy parts of the music are crushingly heavy and the softer parts of the music are gentle and melancholic, and above all overwhelmingly depressing! This is not an album to listen to if you are feeling down!

I have a lot of praise for this album - but having said that in 'Ashes' we do find the band struggling a little bit for their own identity in places. This is an album from a band still finding its feet and discovering their own style - something which they do find on later releases. The reason I say this is that the inclusion of the fifth track, 'Blackened Desire', adds very little to this album and would have been better off staying unrecorded. It just doesn't fit with the rest of the music here. You sense that this track was one of their early demo songs and they felt at this point in their career it was a worthy inclusion on the album. The problem I have with 'Blackened Desire' is that it's not progressive, and is just a straight-forward black metal song. It doesn't really have any place here with these other pieces of music.

But, there are a lot of excellent moments on this record, and it deserves to be listened to as a whole piece of music. Stand-out tracks are 'Killing Fields', 'Dawn' and 'Till Light Enshrouds'. I'd recommend this album to anyone who enjoys the work of My Dying Bride, though tracking down this album might be difficult! Definitely a 4-star record, despite the few identity issues it has.

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Posted Friday, July 3, 2015 | Review Permalink

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