Sovereign Strength – The Prophecy (LP)

The Prophecy coverI’m not entirely sure why Mediaskare Records have sent me so many Christian metal/hardcore records to review. I don’t have a problem with Christian music beyond the segregatory tendencies of parts of that scene, nor a problem with Christianity or religion in general beyond that I disagree with it on a personal and philosophical level. From what I’ve read about Sovereign Strength online they are similarly chilled about differences of opinion, so I like that. But how on Earth am I going to engage with songs called ‘Everlasting Fire’ or ‘Last War’?

It’s not even as if Mediaskare are an exclusively Christian label. But for some reason they sent me four records to review before I announced that I was wrapping up my music reviewing, and three of those four records had obvious Christian themes. The Prophecy isn’t even the most overt. That goes to Creations’ The Gospel – similarly difficult review coming soon!

Anyway, moving past that, The Prophecy kicks things off with ‘Darkest Sin’ and forty seconds of faintly sinister noise before something as heavy as shit kicks in. Seriously, these guys play with everything downtuned to a severe degree, so if you like heavy, dark and loud sounds, then you’ll find something to like here. The song’s not half bad; chock full of double-kick drumming, incomprehensibly roared vocals and the aforementioned downtuned chugging from guitar and bass, it’s not anything we’ve not heard before, but it’s done well enough, with enough variety between parts and riffs to keep things interesting.

Third song ‘Bring Me Home’ introduces backing vocals that adopt a scream/sung approach rather than the gruff, belting roar we’ve heard previously, an affectation that on first appearance is effective, although the second time it comes around it falls a little flat. Other tunes like ‘Words Without Meaning’ and ‘More to Life’ go for more of a snapshot, blasting approach, redolent of hardcore rather than metal, which helps to introduce further variety, and towards the end of the record we get ‘Revival’ which towards its end features not only clean singing but also hanging chords and waves of feedback with some lead guitar work that is very stylistically different indeed. It’s actually a really lovely moment but sounds like an entirely different band, because it’s the only time in the album that we hear anything like this – and the first two thirds of song don’t stand out.

The Prophecy ain’t really a record for me, is it? It’s a decent slice of metal / extremely brutal hardcore taken on its musical merits, and I dig that sort of thing occasionally, although I prefer extreme speed to extreme downtuning, but it’s not a record that I can engage with on any level as I simply don’t share any commonality with it lyrically or thematically. And I say that as a man who owns poetry by William Blake and John Keats. I don’t know. I don’t know why I was sent this, and I don’t know what to really think about it. Decent music, not my sort of thing, I suppose. That’s about as fair as I can be.

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