The Prophecy Review (Rock Queen Reviews)

‘The Prophecy’ is Steve Blower’s 2nd solo release, comprising 8 tracks, amounting to 45 minutes play time.

The production of ‘TP’ commenced a week prior to the launch of ‘Back In Hell’, in October 2019. Completed in January 2020. A concept album, linked to sections of ‘BIH’, it narrates the end of the world, from a prophet’s perspective. The rest foretells the destruction of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse, ending with Satan rising.

Previewed in May 2020, as a result of Covid, via live-streaming, it was accessible as a pre-order, with acknowledgements featured on the CD’s inner sleeve. Entirely independently composed, performed, produced and cover art created by Steve.

Officially released on Friday, 23rd October 2020, on the 1st anniversary of ‘BIH’, ‘TP’ is now available on CD and digitally. (Bandcamp).

The Screaming Eye – Kicking drum intro, complete with rhythmic cymbals and steady riffs. Vocals accurately timed. A little flat, but hitting the higher notes competently. Good pace, with visual evocations. Adequate melody, holding the scream well, but just needs a bit more confidence. Riffs consistently tuneful and well timed. Good closing power scream.

Bonded By Blood – Single drum hit and straight into a darkly grungy riff tone. The bass underlies it successfully. It’s a definite step up from the last release, with a tighter sound, but the vocals still need a touch more work. Good consistent pace and tone. A bit more vocal theatre, here and there, with well-placed anthemic shouts. As ever, the riffs are Steve’s strongest suit. Audibly more melodic, with a stronger frame. It’s the rhythm that sells this track.

Black Dog – Heavier intro. Good use of in and out, quiet/loud, echo formula. Speeding it up, at the right point. Still, the vocals need a bit more work, but they’re notably better than in the previous release. More of a fulsome riff sound, with greater energy and a lighter feel to the mood. A catchy element to this track, with a well-placed vocal echo. Ending smoothly, on a melodic riff and drum hit.

And The Bell Tolls – A very Sab/AC/DC-esque funeral bell opens, followed by a nicely timed doom riff. It’s got the atmospherics down immediately. Now, the album’s hitting its stride and finding its comfort zone). This is where we start to hear a stronger sense of vocal passion. The drums get stronger, too. Decent twangy riff, approaching the mid-section and flying solo, now). Bringing it up and down effectively. Keeping the momentum going, steadily. There’s a slight memorable angle to this. A little more riff focus here. Good gradual lead up to the bell tolling, at the end.

Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse – Horses neighing and galloping forward introing. Faster paced riffs enter. Vocals matching. This is where the easier sense lies, in the vocals. It’s definitely catchier and markedly more memorable. Now it’s hitting the mark. Feeling increasingly natural, as it continues. Fairly Maiden-esque, in places. The melody grows ever stronger and the energy, with it. Bass heightening the melody and effortless ease to the timing now. Quite reminiscent of ‘The Wicker Man’.

Angel – Rather Gothic, mysterious omen to the intro riff. Quietly uttered words leading to the visually evocative scene. Again, very Dickinson-esque vocals, getting noticeably more so, as it progresses. A delicious sinister sense invades and characterises the track, as the vocals soar, with the accompaniments. Smooth flow to the riffs and general pace, as the riffs intensify. You might say this track’s fittingly titled and influenced, as it’s certainly the strongest track so far. Complete cohesion and chemistry, from start to end.

Lucifer Rising (Hell Awakens) – Drum beats intro, well spaced and complemented by the thrumming fluidity of the bass. A sinister edge suffuses it, instantly. Injecting the intrigue factor well, playing the suspension angle impressively. Those riffs are racing now, as the vocals hit their greater potential. Rapid ending, but a lively and energised track.

The End – A gentle choral intro, with riffs picking up the slack and the cymbals meting out meaningful moments. The timbre grows heavier, in a very Metallica-esque, ‘Ride The Lightning’ style. Though the vocals revert to the flat tones again here, they still hold the passion. It’s a well blended interplay of heavy/soft, loud/quiet sections, with a decent bridge in there, leading to a heightening of melody and power. Strong beats, well focused instrumentals, speeding up nicely, at the mid-section. A little more omen coming through, past that point. Drums growing more intense, as the riffs follow, with a heavier, darker refrain. Well constructed section, becoming quite ‘Master Of Puppets’-esque now. Riffs rising, to a gorgeous pitch. Coming down to a carefully executed finale.

Overall – So it may have taken a little while to warm up, but it can safely be said that ‘The Prophecy’ is gradually returning to the stronger, livelier sound of ‘Back In Hell’ and all that preceded it. Notable improvements ring through this production, via tighter sounds, stronger cohesion, intriguing tonal and thematic variations and the passion and energy is that much starker. It’s true that the vocals are still flat, in places, but they improve, more and more, in the last few tracks and the classic influences are as audible as before. It’s good to hear Steve’s music regaining its mojo again).

7.5/10 *******

For fans of Iron Maiden, Metallica, The More I See, Black Sabbath, AC/DC.


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