Review by Michael on January 17, 2022.
Prospectors hailing from the Netherlands don't make it easy for the listener. To start with you have to know that Proven Lands is a completely instrumental album and as for a second point, most of the music isn't really easy to listen to. You really need time to get into it and you should better take a very relaxed moment for listening to this because the mixture of all stylistic elements and the arrangements don't offer a very comfortable trip. Both musicians (Matthias Ruijgrok and Michiel van der Werff) are originated in the Dutch black metal scene but on this album they don't really offer this style of music. Together with guest musician Michiel van der Pflicht (drummer in Pestilence) they play some real interesting experimental music which is quite difficult to categorize: some dissonant guitar sounds are paired with some free-jazz elements, doom and psychedelic stuff.
The first songs create a very cold, hectic atmosphere because the music is very fast, yet chaotic and not really structured. The opener 'Ravelling Motion' starts with a quite hypnotic riff but soon turns into a very strange trip. It seems as if the band would try to explain musically how something tries to unravel itself (maybe it would be a cool track to feature a video where a butterfly develops from the cocoon to the adult butterfly). The next track 'Obsidious Veins' is also very chaotic but all this chaos makes this track very interesting. Once you like a riff or find something quite catchy, the band turns into different direction instantly so there are no predictable elements to find here. Most of the time the guitars are quite dissonant and the drumming really chaotic. It is hard to find any melodies or something that you are used to when you listen to the music. At the end of this song however the band decreases the speed and lets you relax for a minute. With the fourth track, 'Become Void' they break into a totally different path. This track spreads a cold, gloomy and somewhat threatening atmosphere – I have some dark Sci-Fi scenes in my head when I listen to it. It is some kind of ambient track – really interesting and together with the last track it's my favorite one. After this intermezzo Prospectors turn into a more structured and easier to listen music. You can find melodies and some catchy tunes which remind me a little bit of some experimental death metal stuff from the early 90s but only very rudimentary. The album closes with a very melodic and slow track which takes you back to Earth after this quite exhausting journey.
If you want to listen to some really impressive and interesting music played without any boundaries or limitations and it is not necessary for you to have vocals on an album this may be an intriguing release for you. You'll have to focus solely on listening so pick some relaxing time in your day. You will probably need more than one listening session for this to become accessible but I promise you that Proven Lands is quite astonishing experience.
Rating: 7.8 out of 10526