Album: Faces Of War
Release Date: 16th March, 2018
Label: Load4 Records
Review by John
To describe ‘Faces Of War’ as “long awaited” would be something of an understatement. The gestation period was seemingly so long that at one point even Tool claimed that Promethium were really taking their time over it (this may not be true).
But the wait is finally over. And thankfully, it has been well worth it.
From the bombastic opening of lead single ‘Enemies Fate’ right through to the last seconds of album closer (and title track) ‘Faces Of War’, the band genuflect on war and conflict in various guises.
No stone is left unturned as Promethium unleash what could potentially be thought of as a kind of pseudo concept album.
Opener ‘Enemies Fate’ touches on the blind patriotism of those sent to die for a cause that they may not understand, but will gladly sacrifice all for, and blends nicely with second track ‘Declaration’, to draw the listener in with a catchy, groove laden double salvo. ‘Declaration’ in particular features some interesting guitar work from Daniel Lovett-Horn.
Next up are two tracks that again seem to work well together as a pairing and form the real emotional core of the album.‘P.O.W’ with themes of capture and torture cleverly switches perspective throughout the track – one minute we are in the mind of the sadistic torturer, before a sudden about face gives us the other side, from the viewpoint of the victim. It’s a bold move, but the evocative lyrics are so well crafted that it is one that works well on several levels.
‘Shellshock’ is perhaps the stand out track on the album, a haunting, slowed down offering featuring some great vocal work from returning frontman Steve Graham. A harrowing examination of PTSD, this is a track that will stay with you long after the album has finished. As will the excellent, emotive solo.
Next up, Barry Mills of Massive Wagons joins Graham on vocal duties for ‘20,21,15’ as the band drag us into an explosive (no pun intended) assault that dwells on the topic of mutually assured nuclear destruction, a theme that is now, somewhat worryingly, more relevant than ever. While both vocal parts work well enough on their own, when they join forces it is (pun fully intended) thermonuclear stuff.
‘Turncoat’ is probably the weakest of the tracks here. While it is a perfectly fine offering on its own, it doesn’t sound quite as good as the rest of the album, and in places sounds a little too similar to ‘Enemies Fate’.
Fortunately, ‘Stolen Valour’ gets us back on track as a pulsating groove immediately grabs your attention. Again, this is lyrically impressive stuff as Graham rallies against those who are all too eager to make false claims of their own phoney military service. It’s powerful stuff but once again brilliantly handled.
As the title suggests, ‘Final Solution’ tackles the holocaust and gives the rhythm section a chance to shine as drummer Kevin Yates and bassist Henry Greenwood underpin a track that manages to be both downright bleak and unbelievably catchy in the same breath, almost breaking into full on thrash towards the end.
But maybe that is deliberate, as things get downright thrashy on ‘Kill On Demand’, possibly the most straightforward song on the album, and one that is not afraid to proudly wave the flag of old school metal.Things draw to a close with title track ‘Faces Of War’ which, more than anything else on the album, dwells on the absolute futility of war. With more than a few echoes of Iron Maiden, it’s a NWOBHM influenced track that seems to choose the absolute perfect moments to shift gears. Likely to become a future live favourite, it’s a song with plenty of scope for a good old fashioned singalong. The sort of offering that was seemingly written with epic stage invasions in mind.
It may have been a long time coming, but it’s fair to say that Promethium have spent their time well and crafted an album that demands repeat listening,If you have a hunger for some no holds barred full on metal then you can do at lot worse than to peruse Promethium’s fully laden menu and gorge on the delights within.
01. Enemies Fate
04. Shell Shock
07. Stolen Valour
08. Final Solution
09. Kill On Demand
10. Faces Of War
Visit the band on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Promethiumband
Get the album here: www.promethiumband.com