Prisma: You Name It

Heavy rock from Swiss rollers.

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Swiss quartet Prisma’s 2008 debut Collusion won them a growing international presence and led to them sharing stages with Therapy? and Pain Of Salvation. It also won them numerous comparisons to Tool, chiefly for the pounding rhythms and heavily treated guitars. Their second album again mixes metal and alt.rock.

The shapes are still tricky and the guitar blasts combustive, but more often than not they’ve sadly minimised any nascent prog tendencies and gone all out for thrash. From the opening salvo of Epigone – which starts turned up to 11 and proceeds to 13 – it’s clear their hell-bent desire is to explode rather than explore.

It’s not all heads-down, no-nonsense rock though. The rhythms shift with peripatetic urgency and Valentin Grendelmeier’s guitar riffs are undeniably raucous, but also inventive. On the intriguing 8, vocalist Michael Luginbuhl sounds like he’s singing from the bottom of a well on the industrial-rock verses, but gets hollering on the chorus.

Tracks like this have a growl of Killing Joke or Big Black about them. Others, though, lapse into sledgehammering sludge. Ultimately, while there’s some experiment here, sadly metal’s gain is prog’s loss.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.