CD Reviews

Prototype - 'Catalyst' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 02, 2013    
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Prototype return after almost fourteen years.

Prototype was initially formed by guitarist Kragen Lum and singer/guitarist Vince Levalois in 1994. The two men were both members of thrash metal act Psychosis but wanted to broaden their sound by adding a more progressive slant to the song writing and arrangements; and thus Prototype was born. The two men then recorded the critically acclaimed ‘Seed’ demo, which was soon followed by the album ‘Cloned’ in 1998. The band then went on what can only be described as a bit of a sabbatical of almost fourteen years, until they return to us in 2012 with the aggressive, attacking and compelling album ’Catalyst’. Now elsewhere in this issue* I lament the fact that some bands riff and riff on their guitars with little or no melody or structure involved in the process. Prototype also use lots of riffs but they temper them with clever time changes, intricate guitar solos and an understanding of melody that balances the heaviness of this album.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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So what of the songs themselves? Well they in places they kind of remind me of a heavier Fates Warning coupled with Redemption, which then are mixed with Metallica like vocal arrangements and Symphony X style guitar solos; a strange concoction I know. But when you listen to ‘Cynic Dreams’ with its heavy riff lead melody you’ll soon find yourself warming to this album. The solos on the song brought to mind Jim Matheos at his best and the complex arrangements and different moods and styles that the band evoke as they play the song, show that Prototype are a force to be reckoned with. Then why not move on to ‘Illuminatum - My Own Deception’ which starts off with some of the most glorious guitar and bass work I’ve heard this side of Dream Theater, the superb intro to this song is enough on its own to draw you into the song’s inner workings and when finally it kicks off properly, we are treated to another clever and complicated melody, that the band execute to perfection. Now at this point I have to say that here and there on this CD you will hear a few growls but please - if you’re a fan of heavy prog metal - don’t let this put you off because if you do then you’ll miss out on such wonderful songs as ‘Gravity Well’, ‘The Ageless Heart Of Memory’ and ‘Inceptum’.

So ‘Catalyst’ might not be to the liking of everyone who reads this magazine** or web site, but this album by Prototype is still worthy of inclusion here because of the sheer class and quality of the music they have to offer.

Ian Johnson

(* of Fireworks Magazine 55)
(** Fireworks Magazine)

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Darkmatter said:

A modest correction to your review: Prototype was not on hiatus for 14 years. They release two albums prior to Catalyst. Trinity in 2001 and Continuum in 2006. Thanks!
March 04, 2013
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