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Promethium – Faces of War

 

Promethium – Faces of War

I have always wondered how bands structure an album. After they have written all the songs how do you pick the running order and more importantly what should you kick the album off with. In this day and age everyone has the attention span of a goldfish so you need to get it right.

In my mind I can see the band sitting down and mutually agreeing we do the “lets rip their face of with a riff” approach and so “Enemies Fate” opens and does exactly that. What an star, powerful, brutal and as bloodthirsty as the Vikings they sing about. Good choice guys as this is probably one of my favourite subjects so stick music to it and I am hooked. I am sitting here with my Ragnar tattoo, drinking horn and raven on my shoulder screaming fuck yeah!

“Declaration” is up next and with the chant” This is War” even the slowest witted will be seeing a theme here. I do not wish to point any shrinks in the direction of this band as I got enough looks as a child whilst drawing skulls, blood and decapitated bodies so what they would make of the bands thoughts I have no idea. Forgetting that war always makes for a good metal song and with a brilliant riff once again we are off to an excellent start to an album.

“P.O.W” comes for your metal hearts and souls. A real heavy Sabbath riffage with some vocal dramatics from Steve Graham. A powerful song and story behind the atrocities of war(which is anything to do with war). The staccato vocals spit at you with venom, hate and pain.

Things are slowed down considerably which is a perfect way to emphasise the lyrics in “Shell Shock”. The affects of war leak into the future far beyond any ceasefire or final tour of duty. I loved the dark and light, the soft and heavy which screams of the pain when it is all meant to be over. I loved this song and for me it is the best the band have ever done. This is a classic.

With such a heavy subject the last thing I should be doing is smiling but as “ 20.21.15” starts all I can think of is the video tid bits we were fed to us on social media of guest vocalist Baz Mills from Massive Wagons not taking things too seriously. Once I compose myself I settle down and the song really hits home. Nuclear devastation and something I have known for a long time. I sit here writing this review seven miles from the UK nuclear submarine fleet. I grew up with this shadow on my doorstep, I was at school during the cold war and we had drills in school and some brilliant and well paid person had the great idea to tell kids to hide under their desk as if that would do anything other than that old adage kiss your ass goodbye. This song took me back to those thoughts so long ago and that says all I need to say about the power of this track.

“Turncoat” drags out another brilliant riff. A real early Metallica feel with Paul Di’Anno on vocals. This is as good as it gets, the drumming from Kevin Yates is incredible, it layers the brutality as does the screamed vocals. I played this on repeat for ages. It is followed up quickly with “Stolen Valour” and the heavy vibe just keeps going, the guitar work is fast and furious, the screamed vocals continue to add a stamp of hatred. Those lyrics “Spit in the Eye of the Damned” will haunt you for some time to come.

Before I get onto the song “Final Solution” I want to talk about the picture accompanying the lyrics within the CD booklet. It is infamous and shows the railway tracks that lead into a concentration camp. The funny thing about war(and there is not much) is that there is always things behind them that very few people see. That is because it is hidden…as they say, history is written by the winners. What has that to do with the picture depicted? Well, a little known fact is that the american motor company Ford laid those tracks and were known to make profits from both sides in the second world war. Yes, war is not as straightforward as you think. The song itself conjures up a horror I think very few today can imagine…and it is a lesson we still haven’t learned.

“Kill on Demand” is another atrocity of war(I am sorry, I did not intend to set out my political views on this review but for me this album brought out everything I hate about war and for those emotions to be brought forward so easily is down to the power of the music and lyrics). Another killer(oops) riff, a more melodic chorus and awesome guitar solo. This is as close to a perfect metal song as you can get.

Everything is wrapped up with the title track “Faces of War” and the intro is pure Maiden at their best, I am talking back to Piece of Mind era. It has the feeling of a Dickenson written song and the chorus and melodies are outstanding. What a way to bow out, on a song basis and lyrically looking at the price the people at the bottom of the ladder pay for the sins of the wealthy.

At first this is a good album but man it grows on you. I would highly recommend ditching a digital copy and going for physical purely so you can take in the lyrics printed as this takes the whole album to a different level, the lyrics are the story and they need to be understood alongside the music.

There is no doubt that promethium have produced their best on “Faces of War”. I would go as far to say they just pissed over their first two releases and that is no mean feat. An outstanding album.

Review Ritchie Birnie