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Instead of opting for each band's in-studio material, Prosthetic Records decided to demonstrate some of their fine younger bands by recording a live show and compiling some of the takes onto a sampler. Being a big fan of two of these bands and a casual fan of a third, it was a welcome bonus to get this label showcase free-of-charge at a Witch Mountain/Castle show late last year. Apart from Prosthetic Records being one of my go-to labels when it comes to promising new albums, Scion A/V has also had a pretty solid history so far, having released albums for Enslaved and Immolation. Given this amount of promise squeezed into it, I'm surprised how disappointing it turned out to be. Although the exclusive live material for each band makes it worth a checkout for bigger fans of any of the bands, there are many more flattering ways these bands could have been showcased.
The showcase doesn't get off to the greatest start; although The Greenery demonstrate some chops within their given genre, their style of punk-infused hardcore sounds adolescent to my ears, particularly with regards to the shouted/whined vocals.Scale the Summit and Last Chance to Reason are the two bands here that I liked quite a bit before even hearing about this showcase, and I've also had the good fortune of seeing both play live- LCTR when they played with Obscura in Vancouver, and Scale the Summit when they toured through Las Vegas with Dream Theater on the ProgNation '09 tour. With that in mind, I wasn't surprised at all to hear both of these bands offer some great cuts here. Scale the Summit's typically mellowed style is most spared by the recording quality, which is weak at best. Sadly, while Last Chance to Reason's guitars get through well enough, Mike Lessard's vocals come across as screechy and far weaker than when I saw him perform live. Although I had heard a few songs by Holy Grail in the past, most of my experience with them had been vicariously, through hearing others talk about them. Within the context of this showcase, they demonstrate the greatest live energy, but they're also hurt the most by the bootleg-quality recording standard. Although they don't seem to innovate the tried-and-true style of power metal they're playing, I don't get the impression that was their goal to begin with.
With a particular nod to Scale the Summit, the quality of performance and musicianship here is kept to a fairly high standard, and while I can say with some confidence that The Greenery do not fit my tastes in the slightest, I could imagine some others digging what they have to offer. Had it not been for the sound quality and lackluster live setting, I could have recommended this to someone on the prowl for some good new bands. Instead, this may be best left as an apocryphal release for fans of one band to look for if they go through all of the official recordings and still want more.