Prototype - Catalyst
Nightmare Records
Progressive Metal
12 songs (61:43)
Release year: 2012
Prototype, Nightmare Records
Reviewed by Bar

Although this is only their third studio album, Prototype has been around in one form or another since 1994, when the band was founded by former Psychosis guitarists Vince Levalois and Kragen Lum (the latter of whom is also currently a member of Heathen). The other musicians they have enlisted for this current line-up have got substantial experience playing in such bands as Alchemist and Steel Prophet, so together they are certainly a very well-credentialed bunch. They’ve got the experience and know-how to deliver a professional, polished sounding product and there’s no denying they’ve done exactly that. The only question that remains is how good is the actual material?

Well, at first listen there did not seem to be anything particularly remarkable about this release, but despite that initial impression I couldn’t help but let it grow on me. After I’d heard it two or three times, I put it aside for a while and then I found I had several riffs and a chorus or two from this album stuck in my head. They were lodged firmly enough in my brain that I had to play the album again, and on doing so I realised it was mostly a pretty great listen. Prototype have a true talent for melodic heavy metal that draws on hard rock, combined with a keen sense for the epic without ever quite crossing over into Power Metal. There is a genuine song craft on display here once you realise it’s nothing particularly progressive or experimental.

Which leads me to the big gripe I have with this album - it seems a little too much like Prog Metal by-the-numbers. There’s a bit too much of a formula in effect on these songs, which is really the main culprit behind that initial impression I got. Most songs utilise a fairly standard verse-chorus-verse structure, with the big melodic chorus getting several repetitions. Then they intermittently throw in some thrashy bits, shoehorn in an instrumental break every once in a while, an odd time signature here and there and voila! It’s Prog Metal. Adherence to formula isn’t an inherently bad characteristic for a band, but in this particular genre I think it’s fair to expect a little more experimentation.

That the finished album eventually amounts to significantly more than the sum of its parts, I think is a real testament to the sheer professionalism of the musicians involved. The skills these gentlemen utilise to get your head banging are certainly well-practised, as there is a profound assuredness to the songs that can only come from years of honing one’s craft. If they can better combine their progressive aspirations with the commercial sound they do so well, Prototype might yet release a killer record.

Killing Songs :
Catalyst, Cynic Dreams, My Own Deception, Into Oblivion, Gravity Well
Bar quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by Prototype that we have reviewed:
Prototype - Continuum reviewed by Marty and quoted 78 /100
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There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:44 am
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