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Bands called Prophecy: part 3 of 3 - 55%

caspian, December 8th, 2013

Continuing on this series, we arrive at a Brazilian thrash band. I haven't checked every single band on the archives but considering that these guys have been around for 23 years, they're possibly the first band to the name! So I'm happy to give them points for originality in that regard- no points for originality elsewhere, though.

Yeah, this isn't bad, but you'd be really hard pressed to argue that it's really all that great, or even good really. My experience with south american thrash is limited to early Sepultura and a random band called Wardeath, so I guess I was expecting something that was ridiculously loose and intense, the band members playing Kreator covers and having a race to see who could finish the songs first... Instead we get something that's got a lot of groove inflections, sounds a lot like Anthrax with a Hetfield impersonator singing over the top... Yeah, it's competent but don't get expect greatness.

Everything just sort of moves along, doing it's thing while just.. being there. There's a few slow crunching tunes that attempt something between a modern Anthrax tune and Sad But True, there's gang vocals, sometimes welcome, sometimes overused (like the particularly weak title track), and the occasional faster moment, which is definitely where the band excels- Evilution is a genuine neck snapper and certainly the band's best effort, a pretty cool melodic chorus surrounded by riffs of a pretty ridiculous quality. The general tendency, however, is rather more bland, if not the most awful thing you've ever heard- a tendency towards mid paced stuff. Think of AJFA and Death Magnetic, think of Heathen, think of later Megadeth with a bit of Pantera snuck in there. It exists, basically- I'd put this on the good side of mediocre.

Don't get me wrong, it's not terrible- there's a decent amount of catchiness around and the semi-title track aside (The game is violence) nothing here is bad. It all just needs a bit more energy, a slightly better vocal performance, a bit more variety in the riffing patterns- a bit more of everything, really! One wonders if a rougher production job would've actually improved the feel of this album somewhat, given it a bit more of that much-needed spark. To conclude then, based on this album I imagine these guys would be a lot of fun live, but the album's only really worth it if you can get it rather cheap.

Prophecy - Legions of violence - 70%

Radagast, December 5th, 2011

If patience is a virtue, Prophecy’s Rogério Avlis must be in line for sainthood. You know, sandpaper-throated, leather clad sainthood. It sometimes take a while for a band to get their debut out, but after forming in 1988 and struggling through various line-up problems, it has taken Avlis no less than 2 decades to finally release a full-length CD.

You math wizards out there will no doubt be scratching your heads in puzzlement of course, and its true ‘Legions of violence’ was actually released back in 2008, but was earlier this year given a dusting down and re-issue by Mexican label Endless Brutality of Men as part of their recent intercontinental thrash assault.

The era the band was founded in is very much the one they belong to, and Avlis has weathered the many years since with very little of the trends that have come and gone since affecting the feel of the music. Despite sounding like they would be more at home in the Bay Area than the wilds of their homeland, Prophecy are a distinctly 80s prospect, and sound very much like a hardy survivor than a modern day throwback.

With that said, originality is at a premium on ‘Legions of violence’, but the end result is still more than satisfactory as Prophecy cook up a nice mixture of influences that makes up for its lack of inventiveness with a batch of songs that have a healthy amount of energy and variety.

At times the comparisons to classic thrash acts are a little too apparent, but on the whole they mix things up cleverly enough that the CD doesn’t sound like the work of a glorified tribute act. Rather than shamelessly aping a single band, Prophecy cherry pick little facets of each band and deliver a mixed batch of songs that vary from short explosions of anger to more developed and musically complex offerings.

Avlis’ voice is fairly versatile as well, generally a raspy bark reminiscent of a less nasally Zetro Souza, but with a few little unexpected bonuses along the way that shakes things up a bit. Occasionally some Hetfield-isms (in other words, adding “-ay” to the ends of words) that are a little too on-the-nose crop up, but the biggest surprise comes on the highly Forbidden-influenced “Evilution” where Avlis suddenly soars like Russ Anderson at his mighty best on the massive melodic chorus.

Persistent gang vocals punctuate the songs frequently, often just as little exclamation marks on the choruses, but on certain songs like “Paradigmatic reality” play a massive role in the song overall, adding a nice little bit of extra violence to the mix. “Risen from hell” is one of the more modern sounding songs present, featuring some effective backing growls on the chorus and sneering vocals that call to mind post-reunion Onslaught, though since ‘Legions of violence’ first saw light of day only a year and a half after ‘Killing peace’ it can probably be chalked up to coincidence.

Compared to short sharp shocks like that, the instrumental “Nameless” seems all the more elegant, as it switches back and forth between soft acoustic noodling and thudding chords before ripping into high gear and showing up some of the best examples of lead guitar on the CD.

It isn’t all plain sailing – “Agony within” for instance is the only song that succumbs to a bit of dull groove metal, not really being overly offensive but definitely wearing out its welcome by it’s conclusion – but ‘Legions of violence’ is at the end of the day a very listenable CD. It’s fairly easy for a band to make a strong early impression but then swiftly fall off the radar after a few weeks or months, but this is a CD that has been carefully crafted by a crew of experienced musicians to keep sounding lively and fresh enough to not be so easily forgotten.

(Originally written for