Experience may well count for a great deal when it comes to musical prowess, but no one told Prospekt, Oxford’s soon-tobe-much-vaunted purveyors of ultra-technical prog metal.
The Illuminated Sky is only their second album, but it emanates such confidence and authority, as if these horrifyingly young musos were, in fact, seasoned vets. Although firmly in territory previously established by Dream Theater and Symphony X, they avoid letting showmanship dominate the tunes: here, despite some truly dizzying displays of technical fortitude, their biggest achievement is their devotion to filling every song with incisive melodies and irresistibly syncopated heaviness. Vocalist Michael Morris plays a huge part, always on the right side of overwrought but resplendent of pipes. During complex but cogent epics such as Alien Makers Of Discord (which features a sublime cameo from noted fusion guitarist Greg Howe), six-string sentinel Lee Luland only showboats when it counts and contributes endless subtle touches that belie his obvious dexterity. There is still plenty of time for Prospekt to forge a more robustly singular identity, but there aren’t many bands doing this stuff with the same degree of verve.