Sometimes the best musical discoveries occur in the unlikeliest of places. “I first heard someone playing Rush’s Hemispheres at a house party,” admits Theresa Smith, the female half of Metaprism’s vocals. “It was completely different from what I was used to and I loved it.”
Canada’s progfathers might not be the most immediate influence on the British six-piece’s debut The Human Encryption, but Metaprism are all about diversity. Current listening habits include Opeth, Symphony X and even Israeli psytrancers Infected Mushroom, who have all informed the band’s heavy but melodic sound. It’s this eclectic blend, combined with their ‘Beauty And The Beast’-style dual vocals, that has made the prog metallers anomalies on their local metal scene in Bournemouth.
“People don’t know what to expect when they see we have two vocalists,” says Smith. “They think it’s either going to be either predominantly female or male, or they think we’ll sound like Nightwish, which we don’t. There are no operatic vocals, just clean singing with some growls but [co-founding guitarist] Ollie Roberts is the main songwriter so whatever he writes has a slight progressive edge to it.”
Adds fellow Rush fan Roberts, “I have a massive love of 70s and 80s rock, and proper songwriting, but at the same time I love modern stuff. There are bands like [Swedish power metallers] Amaranthe who have dual vocals so I thought it would be a good dynamic to use.”
Formed in late 2012 as a side-project to Smith and Roberts’ power metal outfit Silent Prophecy, Metaprism have been building their profile with gigs around the UK, including Bloodstock Festival and a special appearance at Germany’s Wacken. They’ve even supported SikTh vocalist Mikee Goodman’s experimental outlet Outpatients – “SikTh are one of our drummer James’ favourite bands,” says Theresa Smith – and are hoping they’ll be invited to share a stage with
the recently-reformed djent pioneers in the near future too.
Despite all this activity, the year began with an unexpected lull when original male vocalist Jut Tabor announced he would be leaving and the search for his replacement began. As luck would have it, they didn’t have to look too far to find local lad Joey Draper (Al B. Damned/ex- Beneath Dead Waves) and they’re now making up for lost time. Draper has already played several shows with Metaprism and will be making his first studio appearance on the band’s as-yet-untitled new single, which is due out at the end of summer. The revised line-up will also be heading into the studio soon to record that tentative second album. It’s currently scheduled for release next year but it’s a bit too early to tell how Draper’s influence will impact them musically. “We’re very proud of our first album,” says Smith, “but Joey has different writing techniques [to Jut Tabor] so I think you’ll hear some differences on the second one. We really want to hone all the different aspects and make it more polished. I’m really looking forward to seeing how it turns out.”
|Ollie Roberts (guitar), Theresa Smith (vocals), Joey Draper (vocals), Callum Downing (guitars), Max Willus (bass), James Clarke (drums)|
|Melodic, modern progressive metal, think Anette Olzon-era Nightwish meets SikTh with a pinch of Symphonic X|
|The Human Encryption is available now via the band’s website|