Prophecy - Legions of violence 3.5/5

Reviewed: 11-1-11





Tracklist:

1. Overture
2. When insanity calls
3. Lying prophets
4. Agony within
5. Empty life
6. Risen from hell
7. Paradigmatic reality
8. Evilution
9. Nameless
10. The game (is violence)
11. Legacy of ashes


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.



CREAG




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