28 November 2012 (released)
28 November 2012
South Wales has produced some truly ‘world beating’ acts in recent years, most notably (in the metal world at least) Funeral for a Friend, Lostprophets and Bullet for my Valentine. There are obvious differences in those bands, but there is definitely a similarity in their sound at times. There is a new band on the scene however, and their sound is a big departure from their more celebrated luminaries.
Prosperina’s debut album, ‘Faith in Sleep’, is a combination of some of the finest grunge, stoner, prog and metal bands around. Opening track ‘Piper Alpha’ has a hint of Drone about it, bringing to mind Isis and elements of Neurosis without quite hitting the heaviness of both bands. It’s a slightly disconcerting opening, and teases a direction for the rest of album. But don’t be fooled – there is a dynamic sound that is only hinted at in the opening number.
What is obvious from the album is that the band draws influence from a wide variety of bands and genres. The next song, ‘Temples’ is one of the standouts on an album that shows a lot of potential. The chorus is haunting and beautiful; an electronic overtone that evokes a memory of choral chanting takes it to a whole other level.
The rest of the album sounds in turns enormous, expansive, revolutionary, evolutionary and at the same time minimalist. The more you listen to the record, the more layers there are to unravel. ‘God vs. Darwin’ shows the band’s Mastodon influence, as well as more ‘straightforward’ metal influences. ‘Faith in Music’, the album’s instrumental piece, evokes not just Mastodon but those wonderful inter-song pieces on Tool albums.
Produced by guitarist/vocalist Gethin Woolcock and Joe Gibb (who has previously produced Jane’s Addiction, Massive Attack and Brigade, among others), the sound is fantastic in places, and wonderfully low-fi in others. In fact, if there is one major criticism to throw at the album it is that there is an inconsistency that runs throughout the recording. Displaying so many influences on one record is ambitious, but provides a slightly disjointed experience. It isn’t an unenjoyable ride, but there are some unexpected bumps and turns that take a little while to get used to.
This is a very accomplished debut album with all the potential to be looked back on as a classic release by a great band. What will be interesting to see is how the band moves on from here. With so many different styles and backgrounds to fall back on, the future looks bright and expansive for these boys from South Wales.