Reviewed: September, 2020
Released: 2020, Self Produced
Steve Blower is the guitarist, main composer, and singer for Wakefield, England’s Hamerex. The band is currently on hold, so Blower has been active with his solo music. THE PROPHECY is the follow-up to 2019’s BACK IN HELL and paired together present a conceptual story of the end of the world viewed through the eyes of The Prophet. Blower plays all instruments on the album and does all the vocals. Additionally, he handled mixing, mastering, and artwork design!
Blower’s love for traditional metal shines on THE PROPHECY. Lead-off track “The Screaming Eye” draws inspiration from Iron Maiden from its driving guitars to Blower’s vocals that certainly are reminiscent of Bruce Dickinson. “Black Dog” has a speed metal feel to it and features one of Blower’s best solos on the album, melodic and resolving. While much of the album settles into a mid-paced tempo, “Four Horseman Of The Apocalypse” speeds things up and features a classic NWOBHM gallop with harmonized riffs in the verses and other parts of the song.
The last three songs of the album shake up what has come before with some experimental surprises. The sinister opening arpeggio of “The Angel” takes me back to Slayer’s “Seasons In The Abyss”, and that creepy guitar that sets the stage for the crash to come. This tune also features the first truly noticeable keyboards, adding some color to the mostly black and white direct approach of previous songs. “Lucifer Rising” has a cool drum and bass intro lock and for more than half of its four minutes is an instrumental before some vocals kick in. “The End” fittingly is an eight-minute epic that features several changes and brings all the different musical elements and influences together in one final track.
Overall, THE PROPHECY succeeds admirably in its goal to provide enjoyable and unpretentious metal. The passion and influences that Blower draws from are also infused with his own personal stamp, particularly in his composition of guitar solos that favor substance and service to the song over unnecessary notes and flash. Anyone that has been in a band knows how hard it can be, and being a one-person band is no easy task. As a result, Blower has done the best with the resources at his disposal, but do not expect a mix of sterling, major label fidelity. The songs are consistent, with a couple of stand-out tracks in the “The Screaming Eye” and “And The Bell Tolls” while a few have similar sounds and tempo. Still, the total package is a winner and recommended for fans of Hamerex as well as traditional metal bands like Saxon, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.