Prophetic Scourge have really delivered with their debut album Calvary. What begins as an imposing death metal stomp quickly develops into something more wide-reaching and sophisticated.
The French five-piece have all the power in their locker to land blows big enough to force you to take a step backwards. But what they also possess, as is evident from album opener ‘The Penitent’, is a complex rhythm section that at times mirrors Meshuggah for its intensity and invention.
With a throat-ripping dual vocal attack, if one doesn’t have you scurrying for cover then the other will. It’s a venomous one-two and when unleashed amidst a barrage of pummeling beats and acutely interlocking groove surges the overall effect is little short of a turbo-charged mind-twister.
This album follows on from the band’s debut EP and suggests that Prophetic Scourge have the wherewithal to become one of the leading lights of the French extreme metal scene. While Gojira are most frequently held aloft as the go-to metal monsieurs, Prophetic Scourge at times have an urgency to their sound that even the Duplantier brothers would stand back and admire.
On ‘The Medium’ the Calvary savagery reaches even greater heights with a lavish prog element tucked on at the end as the Frenchmen lose their merde in a whiplash of spiraling guitar grooves before the whole thing judders to a climax with a volcanic breakdown.
‘The Hierophant’ sees Prophetic Scourge change path slightly, displaying a little more fragility with some aching vocals, but even here the guitars’ ascendancy is impossible to halt as they confidently navigate their way through a sea of choppy riffs.
Album closer ‘The Cultist’ brings the Bayonne brutality to a satisfyingly solid climax, allowing Prophetic Scourge one final kick to the onion sack. Once they get their teeth into a groove they refuse to relinquish their grip. Having recently embarked on a substantial tour in France we can only hope they’ll get to this side of the Channel before too long.
Review by Paul Castles
- The Penitent
- The Witchfinder
- The Flagellant
- The Medium
- The Hierophant
- The Alchemist
- The Apostate
- The Cultist