Review by Jason Guest
Four years in the making, with Salvation, long gone are the exclusively doom/death metal days of Halifax’s The Prophecy. Though still present in spirit – and occasionally in sound – the heaviness of this album is in the weight of its tranquillity, its soothing atmospheres, and subtle-yet-complex arrangements and structures. Masterfully orchestrated and richly textured, the album is a mournful, melancholic and mysterious experience.
The opening title track’s gentle beginning is brought to us upon the gentle sound of waves, the solemn violin melody sings its sadness over acoustic chords and clean guitar arpeggios. After a very slow build, the drums acting more as punctuation than rhythm, the track shifts into the main body where, at first the pedal tone riffs appear to contain a calmness, a serenity, a distinct grasp on the emotive subject matter. Yet beneath their consistency lies a sense of despair, of fragility, whether in the tremulous vocals, the gentle orchestration, or the heaviest of riffs. ‘Released’ too harnesses the band’s mastery of dynamics and structure for emotional impact, as does ‘Reflections’. Where four of the five tracks are in excess of ten minutes, ‘Reflections’, at just under five minutes, is like a condensed version of the other tracks. And here is where the only flaw in the album lies. The tracks plot a similar path, all flow – albeit incredibly smoothly – from a slow opening that builds toward the inevitable emotive crescendo. With ‘In Silence’, this is where the album begins to wear thin, and the seemingly unending repetition of the refrain “In silence” very quickly becomes exasperating, the end of the song – ironically – not coming promptly enough. ‘Redemption’ too follows the well-established arc but it is no less potent than any of the tracks here.
The Prophecy’s strength is their mastery of restraint. They know when the time is right to move on, when to let the track take a deep breath, and when to floor the listener with an emotive roar coupled with a hefty riff. Where Matt Lawson’s clean melodic vocals take the lead, his deathly roars, in being employed primarily for sonic and emotive purposes, provide an interesting counterpoint, fusing the lyrics more deeply with the music as the line between voice and instrument blurs. While not straying too far from what they have been producing since their 2003 début, Ashes, The Prophecy’s sound is now more refined and so the tracks have a distinct coherence about them, as does the album. Taken as a whole or as individual tracks, Salvation is an affecting journey with many rewards therein. Recommended.
7.5 out of 10
- In Silence