Prospekt are a macro thinking band who typify everything that makes prog metal great. Subtly infusing the snarling yet grandiose musical attack of Dream Theater and Symphony X with epic power metal pomp and quirky chords and scales atypical to metal, the band have moulded a deft balance between aggression, technical wizardry and supple anthemics. They may have graced the pages of Limelight before – around the release of their 2013 debut album – but four years later, bolstered by a new line-up and the benefits of time, they are a very different prospect, hence a Limelight reappraisal.
“We’ve taken the sound of the first album up a notch,” reflects guitarist and founding member Lee Luland, who witnessed his band mature after vocalist Michael Morris and keyboardist Rox Capriotti joined in 2015. “The vocals fit better, Rox is a brilliant musician to work with and we’ve really bonded as a band. We’re all into the same bands so we understood what sound we wanted to go for straight away.”
Indeed, The Illuminated Sky is the realisation of a distinct vision. The album’s entire journey, from the warfare of guttural guitars that ignite its early moments to the vulnerable and luscious orchestrations that mark songs like Distant Anamnesis were all meticulously mapped out before a single note was played.
“With this record we had a blank canvas. So we started with a game plan, where we wanted to go with it and what we wanted to achieve. I think we’ve got a more cohesive sounding album than if we just wrote 10 songs and put them together. This way we made sure we had the right twists and turns in there at the right times. We wanted something which really flows and takes you on a journey through ups and downs with heavy bits, technical bits and melodic bits that keep the listener interested across 60 minutes. Then it came to the specifics, when we had seven songs we knew what we were missing. There’s more to us than what you hear on just one song. With people’s attention spans you need to keep them engaged and entertained. We hope people catch onto the ups and downs of the album.”
In short, this is a band who adores plot twists. Adorning their barraging, guitar-centric approach, Capriotti’s orchestrations, which draw from the hellish tonalities of Dimmu Borgir through to today’s most cinematic composers, stretch and redesign the band’s dynamic greatly. Then there’s Morris’ soaring, James La Brie mark II vocal lines: high octane and highly eccentric. Each member boasts a high grade repertoire into which they dip extensively. With each a gifted and imaginative songwriter and musician, rolling out the punches and taking sharp left turns just makes sense. Akaibara uses traditional Japanese scales, Cosmic Emissary sounds like John Petrucci writing a battle theme for Pokémon and the sci-fi lavished, Greg Howe featuring Alien Makers Of Discord marries neo-classical chaos with memorable melodies. And those are just a small few plot spoilers.
Says Lelund, “We’re just mixing it up a bit.”
Line-up: Lee Luland (guitar), Michael Morris (vocals), Rox Capriotti (keyboards), Blake Richardson (drums), Phil Wicker (bass)
Sounds like: Traditional prog metal à la Dream Theater and Symphony X. So technical it should come with its own instruction manual
Current release: The Illuminated Sky is out now on Laser’s Edge