The 90s ushered in a new age of prog metal. When bands like Dream Theater and Symphony X expanded on what bands like Fates Warning and Queensrÿche had started in the 80s. This new brand of prog metal was more deeply rooted in technicality while still writing good hooks. This led to many bands springing up in the 90s who essentially sounded a LOT like Dream Theater.
UK’s Prospekt would have fit right in during the 90s. They do not hide their influences and there’s nothing wrong with that. When I heard their debut album, 2013’s “The Colourless Sunrise,” I felt it was a bit aptly titled. The band were certainly great musicians but they really didn’t stand out from any other prog metal band that had those aforementioned influences. The biggest issue for me was the utterly bland vocals of keyboardist Richard Marshall.
“The Illuminated Sky” not only marks the return of Prospekt but it also sees a changing of vocalists. New singer Michael Morris has the range needed for the type of music that Prospekt play. The guy can fucking SING! Replacing Marshall on keys is Rox Capriotti who is equal to the task of keeping up with guitarist extraordinaire Lee Luland. The results are impressive.
The songs are much better than the ones on the debut, in part because Morris really SELLS them with his vocals. I still find there to be a bit of sameness here and there but this is a young band with a ton of talent who are clearly developing quickly. The album sports two guest spots (Greg Howe and Marc Hudson), neither of which do anything for me. I just never get having guests when you have the talent within the band to do the same thing.
One of my favorite songs includes “Beneath Enriya” which sounds like a lost Symphony X track. The song has that big sound along with piano parts I associate with Michael Piniella. “Titan” has a meaty riff and relentless attack to it, another great track. Another great track is the title track which closes out the album, the song showcases the band’s playing while still being catchy.
Prospekt aren’t reinventing the wheel here but with “The Illuminated Sky,” they have clearly found their footing and are digging in. If you love bands like Symphony X or even love what Circus Maximus USED to sound like, there’s a very good chance you will really enjoy what Prospekt do. They have the talent to fill a void (with fellow Brits Haken) that seems to be emerging in prog metal. “The Illuminated Sky” is the first step.
1. Where Masters Fall (feat Marc Hudson)
2. Beneath Enriya
3. Ex Nihilo
4. Distant Anamnesis
5. Alien Makers of Discord (feat Greg Howe)
8. In The Shadows of The Earth
9. Cosmic Emissary
10. The Illuminated Sky