Monday 5 August 2019

Prometeo - Aurora (2019)

Country: Peru
Style: Groove Metal
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 23 Jun 2019
Sites: Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

Prometeo translates to Prometheus in French, Italian and Esperanto and many others, I'm sure, including Spanish, the language this band sing in because they're from Peru; they sent this in after I reviewed Coffin Rags and Regum. I love how scenes coalesce even when bands don't play in the same style. Unlike those groups who play black metal and hard rock/heavy metal respectively, Prometeo are a groove metal band.

And they're a good one. Colisión, the first track proper, kicks off with an absolutely textbook set of escalations, except it switches out the last step into fast thrash for a heavy groove instead. Prometeo play heavy throughout, often achingly so, and they play very tight too, but they resist that speed element, even though there are a whole slew of points where we think they're about to let loose.

I wonder how they would have sounded had they gone there. Profetas is a pit starter for sure and it's about as fast as they get. I think quite a few of these songs would sound more intense at higher speed, but they'd lose some of their heaviness in the process and that's not what Prometeo are looking for. Instead they use Luis Lopez's drums as a way to ratchet the intensity up and down as needed.

I'm not the world's biggest groove metal fan, but this is good stuff. To me, groove metal needs a tight sound, solid riffs and vocals that are both tough and melodic. That's not an easy set of attributes to fill, especially with as much of it reliant on good songwriting as good performance, but Prometeo have them all down. Check out the melodies in the title track, which always stays heavy even when the guitars and the vocals are getting all melodic. Intermisión does the same thing too, really well.

Part of it may be the fact that the band doesn't only feature two guitarists but two vocalists too. Percy Sonan and Christian Bjork handle the guitars in the expected sort of way, one holding down a riff while the other solos. The vocals are more interesting, because there's a male vocal and a female vocal but they're not always easily distinguished. Is that Beatriz Farfan leading the way on Yo but Leo Vannucci on most of the others?

Their collaboration leads to some really interesting sounds. Often they sing the same lyrics together for depth. On Treinta Monedas, that'll be Vannucci in front but Farfan right behind him like an improvisational echo. She's not a prominent part of the mix but she's there and she deepens the sound. What's more, on Intermisión, there's a whispery evil to the vocals which I presume is due to the two singers combining superpowers but it never leaves heavy or groove metal for a more evil genre.

Valientes is an odd one. I keep hearing old Paradise Lost songs in bands of late, but it's generally been the old doom/death Paradise Lost. Here, it's Draconian Times-era Paradise Lost because there's plenty of Once Solemn in Valientes, once it starts chugging, but always with the benefits of modern production. It's not just the guitars either but the vocals too, which feel reminiscent of Nick Holmes at that point.

I like this album, but I'd like to see them live even more. These guys ought to kick ass in a small club. Hopefully, now that they've been signed by the American label Rotten Brain Records in a two album deal, they'll get to play somewhere a little closer to me than Lima. Sure, they're just down the west coast, but there are nine countries in between.

Oh, and they have the best intro music I've heard in a long while. I really hope they come out on stage to Alea Jacta Est because it's a magnificent setup for a metal band.

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