The Prowlers - 'Point Of No Return'

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The Prowlers - 'Point Of No Return'

A captivating mix of thunderous guitars, cleverly atmospheric keyboards and lip-smacking vocals.

It used to be a bit of a surprise when you stumbled across a quality Metal release from the sunny shores of Italy. However in recent years the trickle of Italian Progressive Metal acts has turned into a flood of multi-Metallic genres, with everything from Westcoast to Extreme now being the norm from Naples to Rimini. For The Prowlers, our destination is the Italian capital of Rome, a fitting setting when you experience the stunning force of melodic Power Metal that this ever evolving outfit have served up with their fourth album. The only constant in The Prowlers since their inception back in 1996 has been change, with umpteen band members coming and going. Rather than take you through those myriad changes, let's just cover the (almost) here and now by saying that this excellent album was put together by the scintillating talents of guitarist Roberto "Robin" Franz, bassist Alex Vincis, drummer Dr. K, keyboard whizz Max De Stefano and singer Fabio Minchillo. Although since this release was readied (a little digging reveals that may actually have been as long ago as October 2011), "Robin" has departed, being replaced by Massimo "Reckless Fable" Confora.

Enough with the preamble and on to the captivating mix of thunderous guitars, cleverly atmospheric keyboards and lip-smacking vocals, which characterise an album positively dripping with songs containing the ability to grab the attention both through their pulsating intensity and shimmering melody. A less full-on Pagan's Mind are a good comparison, so are a more complex Primal Fear, but then so would a less intricate Threshold. The likes of 'Warriors Of The Wasteland' balances poise, technique, ruggedness and force perfectly, while the album's title track disproves any possible theory that heavy intense music can't be infuriatingly memorable and technically sophisticated at the same time. It is a joy to be impressed by the expert construction of these tracks while still being unable to shift chorus lines from your head. Minchillo's superb Kiske-esque vocals – he genuinely is one of the best singers I've encountered for quite some time – carrying just the right amount of glistening clarity and aggressive purposefulness to hit home hard every time.

I have to admit that I've never heard any of the previous three The Prowler albums. Something I aim to rectify immediately, having been unable to shift this album from the CD player for the best part of a fortnight!

Steven Reid

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