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Metaprism: Catalyst to Awakening (2018)

UK band METAPRISM was formed back in 2012, and have built a name for themselves step by step ever since. They released their debut album “The Human Encryption” back in 2015, and in late January 2018 their second album “Catalyst to Awakening” is set to be released through Graviton Music Services.

Being on a label isn’t exactly what it used to be back in the day, and I guess the label Metaprism is attached to is one of the many that operate outside of the confines of the old music industry these days. Hence why the band sell this album directly from their own home page rather than at a label shop. Presumably and hopefully this resulting in a few more shillings ending up in the band’s coffer.

The music is the important bit here though, rather than the changing ways of what used to be called the music industry, and in this case we are dealing with a band that refers to themselves as melodic metal. Which, I should point out straight away, is radically different from the music described in that exact manner a couple of decades ago. In my view this is a contemporary oriented metal band, having a modern take on this generation’s variety of heavy metal.

The vocals is something of a key character trait of this band, where we have a splendid female lead vocalist, with a powerful voice with an emphasis on power, force and melody rather than the more common operatic style female lead vocals many metal bands have these days. She shares the lead vocals with a male vocalist too, and he delivers clean as well as gruffier regular vocals, as well as the more sinister black metal inspired growls that have been more and more common also outside of the confines of what used to be called extreme metal.

Metaprism excel in using these different vocal styles to add, build and maintain tension, and where the vocals of Theresa Smith adds a distinct melodic touch to the proceedings. A specialty of this band is that there is quite a bit of variation as to how and how much the different vocal styles are used in the songs, which does give this album a bit more variety when experienced as a whole.

The foundation on which the vocals plays upon is what I’d describe as a 2018 variety of heavy metal. Tight, hard and richly flavored riffs, often alternating between chugging slower passages, tighter, harder and faster riff cascades and slower, regular drawn out riffs. Elements from power metal and thrash metal makes their ways into these landscapes here and there, a few more groove-oriented arrangements makes the odd appearance, and unless I’m much mistaken there are a few nods towards what is often described as djent here and there too. Subtle wisps of keyboards adds a gentler touch here and there, adding a slight emphasis to the melodic self-description of the band.

The songs are relatively short and concise, with one exception clocking in at less than five minutes, which pretty much ensure that the different ideas aren’t overly explored. With the vocal dynamics and the alterations in pace and intensity none of the songs overstay their welcome, although a couple of them in my view might be given a bit more punch. Not so for the token ballad Aftermath however, as that song in my view would have been more interesting with more ballad and less power, if you catch my drift.

Still, this is a high quality production on all levels. The mix and production fits the music perfectly, my impression being that the general sound of the album is a warm, dark and organic one, and the songs are well made and well recorded too. If modern day heavy metal with a subtle melodic intent is your thing, and you tend to enjoy bands that explore the possibilities of a female and male lead vocalist in a contemporary manner within such a context is a trait you appreciate, Metaprism’s second album “Catalyst to Awakening” is a production that warrants an inspection.

My rating: 8/10

Track list:
The Awakening // Codex Regius // Unleash the Fire // Incarcerate // Anomalous I: Illogical Era // Anomalous II: Ghost of Asylum // Living by Proxy // Carve the Stone // Aftermath // Unanimous // Catharsis

Links:
http://metaprism.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/GravitonMusicServices/

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