Progressive doom death formation The Prophecy (Great Britain) is ready to strike again! They were touring a lot after release of excellent full-length “Into The Light” in 2009 and only now the news came from Priori Studio – gentlemen almost have their fourth album in hand! Forget about Doom’s Day in December of 2012, keep faith and prepare yourself for “Salvation” which will be granted to you in January of 2013. Matt Lawson, voice of The Prophecy, will tell us about it tonight.
Hi Matt! It seems that I’ve heard about The Prophecy last time when you played in Russian Moscow Doom Festival about three years ago, it was right after your last release “Into the Light”. Where have you been all this time? What’s new in the band?
Russia was a great experience for us but we're always keen to visit new places and so we made a little bit of history after the Moscow Doom Festival by becoming the first English metal band to play Midifest in Beijing, China, and then going on to be the first British metal band to play in Cuba, completing a two week tour of the island on the annual Brutalfest touring festival. Obviously we've done our usual requirement of UK gigs and have been fortunate enough to be able to organize tours for some international bands, Insanity Reigns Supreme, Saturnus, Nomad Son etc. In fact we were honored to help both Saturnus and Insanity Reigns Supreme to play their first ever English gigs.
This year on the live front, we have had our very first year without playing a single gig since our formation in 2002, but for good reason, as the new album has required that we had no distractions from the writing process. As a result it is our most focused and cohesive album to date.
I see that The Prophecy played two big festivals in such exotic (for metalheads) countries like Chine and Cuba! How did you get onto these festivals?
The Prophecy has always been a hard working band and it was great to see this pay off with the China and Cuba festivals. I think it is our adventurous spirit combined with the strength of our determination to get our music heard that drives us to always seek new places to perform. We see ourselves as pioneers of the scene seeking out new audiences and introducing them to a totally different style of music that challenges their perceptions of the boundaries of what metal music can be.
Main news from the band is recording of new album “Salvation” at Priory Studio; how much time did you spend there and what is your progress?
The new album took much longer than we expected to write. After 'Into the Light' we had a blank canvas. The only prerequisite was that this album would be better than the previous. We spent a month in Priory studios with this album, allowing some time to add studio inspirations to the framework of the recording. There's only five tracks on this album which give the listener approaching an hour of music and whereas Into the light was a great collection of live songs, Salvation is much more indulgent, allowing us to really push our abilities and at the same time not worry too much how is going to work in the live arena.
Speaking of your last official release “Into the Light”… I remember that you kept a good balance between classic doom death metal and more progressive, calmer elements of your compositions, how did your sound change through last years?
“Into the Light” was the first the Prophecy album with our current line up and was very autobiographical. It was us as a band coming together to realise exactly what we wanted to sound like, unique with our own personalities expressed through each instrument. No longer a renaissance doom death band, we became tinged with progressive elements and forged our own style. It surprising that suddenly there are a number of 'progressive' doom bands out there following our lead. In some ways into the light was the dawning of our own realisation that we could be different and rather than emulating that which came before we could be something new and exciting.
How do you see a difference between atmosphere of old straightforward songs of The Prophecy and new progressive doom stuff? Did you write it in some different way?
There is a tremendous amount of thought going into our music these days. Its no coincidence Salvation has taken 4 years to record. We all have our input but we're forever stretching the boundaries of our abilities rather than settling for the first good sounding riff that comes along.
How can you describe that changes which did drive you from classical death doom to it’s other form, does it come with age?
The change in styles has come with age, experience, maturity and confidence. We've performed many live gigs and always tested the songs out on the audience before recording. This album is the exception where none of the songs have been played live deliberately. We didn't want to constrain ourselves to writing songs that would just work on a live level, instead freeing us to write an album that flows rather than a collection of live songs.
Matt, you sang a lot with clear voice on “Into the Light”, it’s okay for me, but don’t you forget how to growl?
The vocals on the new album do feature quite a deal of clean singing but do not worry, we have not done an Opeth and done an album with no heavy vocals! The heavy vocals on this album duel with the clean vocals at times or add to the angst and ferocity of the heavier sections while the clean vocals are more poignant or be much heavier than when I've used them before.
I see now that songs from “Into The Light” sound bright yet sometimes despair, as if depression and frustration were leading motives of the album. What kind of themes did you choose for lyrics if new songs?
The theme of the new album as the title suggests is 'salvation' or at least the search and/or desire for it. It deals with the struggle for redemption in a world filled with temptation, where deliverance is far from assured. The album artwork has been superbly done by DOSE productions to our specifications and complements the album theme well. To be saved one first needs to be lost, to be redeemed means that one has to be forgiven. Its all darkness and light, something the prophecy specialises in.
Don’t you want to make an acoustic live set as 40 Watts Sun played? I think you could find few songs to perform such gig for an hour.
Its funny we have often talked of doing an acoustic set but have never quite got around to doing it. Perhaps one day we will but for the moment The Prophecy is still about the heavy riffs as well as the melancholia.
What are your priorities now when you work with new stuff? Are you going to start another big tour promoting new album?
So to the future. We unlikely to be touring in the fist half of this year as my first son is due to be born in February, so I am likely to be very busy. However we are looking to try get on some festivals over summer and then do some touring later on in the year. It all depends on what opportunities are presented to us. A return to Russia will be on the cards if we can find away, though this time we would love to travel outside of Moscow and see more of the country, especially St. Petersburg which i would personally like to experience. In the meantime we have already begun work on album number 5...
Thank you Matt, don’t forget to let us know about final dates of new release! Good luck mate! Do you have few more words for our readers?
The date for the release has still not been confirmed but were expecting it to be in January 2013. So far it has all mostly gone to plan and artwork, mastering etc are progressing nicely. I'm sure there will be some sort of fanfare when everything is finalised. As for your readers we really want to be able to visit you guys again. Moscow made us feel very welcome despite our very poor grasp of Russian. I'm sure our pronunciation was terrible but the bar tender always got our orders right! So enjoy the album and be patient as we will try our best to play for you again.
Interview By Aleks Evdokimov