Posted on: September 19, 2013 Posted by: Owen Coughlin Comments: 0

There are dark places in the mind of every person where feelings of bitterness and rage reside, whether acknowledged by their owner or not. For most, these are not enjoyable places to be, but for many, they are unavoidable.

On the new ten track album Origins from English metal band Promethium, the dark corners of the mind are tapped into and stimulated, to the tune of a thirty-eight minute long journey across the expanse of an aggressive and bloody soundscape.

Admittedly, I am not much of a metal person, so it’s difficult for me to come up with other musicians to compare these guys to—there were times while listening through the album when I thought of Disturbed and Lamb of God. I even detected a hint of Creed at one point.

So, not being an aficionado of any kind in relation to the genre of metal, I can only tell you about what I heard—both good and bad.

Upon first sitting through the album, I have to say that I was not overly impressed. The band rocks hard—there’s no disputing this, but I am the kind of person who is always looking for glimmers of originality when checking out new musical artists, and I didn’t find any here.

Interestingly, that may be sort of what the band is going for. According to their website and Twitter page, they identify as an old school group who are trying to keep the spirit of metal alive when rock and roll as a whole is largely going out of style. In this regard, I say: good for them… (even if it may not be a great move as far as commercial appeal goes). It sounds like they have real passion, and their music confirms this.

If you’re a person who is into intricate lyricism or powerful vocals, however, this album is not for you. The singer’s words, though expelled with vigor, are stale and of an oft-recycled breed. Hurting him further, his voice is kind of crappy—a lot of the time, he just sounds like an angry guy who could have been pulled off the street, handed some lyrics and a cigarette, and told to have at it on the mic.

And I think this is something that holds the band back.

Throughout the entire album, the guys on the instruments attack their work with a definite fierceness, driving the classic metal/hard rock vehicle from start to finish, with a few softer but nevertheless brooding stops along the way. And everyone in the group with their hands to an instrument is on board this car; you can hear their unity as they jam during points when the singer recedes into the background, creating head bobbing rhythm that could work even your arthritic grandma into a frenzy. Cut the vocals, and this album could serve as the backdrop for the apocalypse.

Vocally, though, it isn’t all bad. There are two songs where the group’s singer raises his game and, along with his bandmates, delivers tracks that are exceptional: the fifth song, “Rain,” and the seventh, “Plagued By Evil.”

“Rain” starts out with the singer looking back on the good and bad times in his life with melancholy; the hook, complimented by a rising and falling wave from the axe and drums, exclaims, “tell you no lies, look in his eyes, come down like rain; poison your mind, turnin’ ya blind, come down like rain; the memories you have, you never did have, come down like rain; and now it’s too late, to suffer the pain, of beautiful rain.”

The bassist, as those of all good rock bands do, skillfully sets the framework for the track and allows the intensity of the vocals, drums, and guitar riffs to drive this song into the type of realm that could never fail to create a lustful and violent mosh pit at a concert. This track shows what the band could be with more consistent strength from the lead singer.

Two songs later, the listener is immersed in “Plagued By Evil,” the most complete song on the album. The track starts out with a slow, haunting solo from the axe, and it steadily builds in its strength and depth as the singer exclaims, “Plagued by evil that lay within in my heart, plagued by evil that ripped my soul apart, it becomes me, anytime you’re near,” the final word being dragged out of the vocalist’s mouth in much the same way he perceives his evil to be wrenched from him. A long instrumental in the middle of the song unleashes the painful and immense power of the band’s electric guitar, in a way that would lead anyone to become blissfully lost in electric reverie.

As I said before, these two tracks are the greatest strength of the album, and I think they show what the band is capable of when everything comes together. Throughout the album as a whole, you can hear the togetherness this band maintains in the face of musical creations characterized by overtones of pain, violence, angst, and evil. But even though their style is dark in its nature—this isn’t depressing music, necessarily. I would liken it to an energetic stress reliever, especially for anyone who sometimes feels that they are plagued by the sort of evil or pain that rips their soul apart.

Another note: the ninth song on the album, “Believer,” is a piercing attack on organized religion, and an interesting ending to the journey Promethium takes their listener on over the course of the album—the vocalist bombards religious advocacy with lines like, “is this the will of God? Blood of the innocent spilled in his name.” This song represents a strange lyrical turn in a collection that is otherwise consumed by the pain of a tortured psyche, one which might, for others, lead to religion for salvation. For Promethium, however, there can be no salvation, as the final song on the album and its title track, “Origins,” is a somber instrumental complimented by steadily falling rain in its background.

It’s curious. The album Origins, as a whole, is a ride from start to finish, beginning with “Won’t Break Me,” and ending with a sound that emits an air of brokenness as powerful as any. It isn’t what I would term a great collection of music, but it is thoughtful in its composition, and a stark look into the minds of men that are well-acquainted with the darker realm of the human imagination.


–Owen M.S. Coughlin, Jr.

Review of Origins, the Second Studio Album from Metal Group, Promethium

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