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Prospekt - The Illuminated Sky

Format: CD download
Released: 2017
Label: Sensory Records
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 9.5/10

Is it cliche to open your heavy album with a light, symphonic instrumental overture? Apparently not yet, because Prospekt begin their 2017 Illuminated Sky album majestically with "Ex Nihilo," an electrifying, haunting piece that's part TSO, part Two Steps From Hell, part Disney Tomorrowland theme park music. Prospekt establish a high bar with this intro, but manage to sustain it with the companion piece title song, leading into the more grounded “Titan” at track 3.


This is an exciting release from start to finish, on which Prospekt deliver a supercharged bit of Power Prog Metal, reminiscent of Dream Theater, Symphony X, Savatage, Judas Priest, Joe Satriani, and Opeth. Singer Michael Morris’s voice soars higher than a Hair Metal singer’s bangs, elevating him to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with his illustrious peers on the mic in the aforementioned bands.
The UK has the longest Metal history of any region, but there’s oddly little British representation in the world of Power Prog Metal.* Prospekt’s insanely enjoyable sophomore record is good enough to change that dynamic, and can hopefully get the Union Jack waving alongside the German and American banners in this field.
Where lesser bands of this ilk get fixated on dazzling with complexity and technical wizardry, utilizing a “more is more” approach to keyboard and guitar notes and drum fills, as well as for time changes and structural geeking, Prospekt deliver all of those goodies inside of a song-quality-first package. Their closest brethren would probably be Symphony X, especially the dexterity and neo-classical flashes to the lead guitar, which bring Michael Romeo’s talent to mind. The keys also serve the higher purpose of melody and nuance here, rather than simply having a different instrument blazing 10,000-note-per-second solos, and nothing more.
“The Illuminated Sky” is overflowing with standout tracks. The opening duo are killer; “Distant Anamnesis” is too short, but gorgeous. I’d also recommend “In the Shadows of the Earth” and “Alien Makers of Discord,” which features a low-key appearance from Greg Howe. “Cosmic Emissary” breaks all kinds of shredder speed limits, while still managing to be a pleasing, awe-inspiring listener experience. And I can’t neglect “Akaibara,” a beautifully lush, textured, down-tempo non-ballad.
It’s impossible to endorse this album strongly enough. As of July, it’s my top album release of 2017. Prospekt - “The Illuminated Sky;” seek it out now and thank me later.

*Genre definitions can be subjective. Feel free to disagree, if you must.


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