Review by Michael on May 18, 2023.
With Prey the Dutch guys and a gals deliver a pretty cool and very bombastic debut album which came out on Listenable Records. You can tell immediately that they are not some newcomers, but musicians who have been swirling around in the Dutch scene for a long time, among others with God Dethroned, Asagraum or Bleeding Gods.
The intro 'Let The World Burn' alone leaves no doubt about that and the first "real" track 'The Killing Spree' seems just as sublime and majestic. The very varied high lead vocals of Marloes Voskuil and the deep growls of David Gutierrez Rojas, who is also responsible for the keyboards, which are an important feature on Prey, are a very interesting and entertaining symbiosis. Musically, the album has become an epic black metal opera, which (especially through the spoken words and the keyboards) repeatedly reminds of an unholy mixture of old Nocturnus and Cradle Of Filth and could pass as a soundtrack for historical film epics or science fiction. However, the whole thing never drifts into kitschy realms, but always remains on a very high level and very sophisticated. Although the evilness here and there leaves much to be desired, but still, through the use of keyboards often very oppressive but also atmospheric moments are delivered. The rather low tuned guitars complement the songs very well and offer an interesting contrast to the bombastic melodies. Here also a certain death metal component comes into play, but also some classics, reminiscent of Iron Maiden, heavy metal elements can be recognized here and there in the guitar playing. Most of the time the six Dutchmen move in the mid tempo range, but when the tempo is increased, then really: fat blast beats and aggressive guitar leads are then blasted into the ears of the listener and leave no doubt about the musical abilities of the band.
Even though I unfortunately didn't have any lyrics for the album, the words are reasonably well understandable and especially 'Prey' and 'Schizophrenia', the bonus track, are very interesting. These are about inner conflicts and mental problems, which are told very sophisticatedly from the first-person perspective or from the perspective of an outsider ('Schizophrenia'). Thus, the band stands out from many other genre colleagues not only musically, but also lyrically.
The production is also very powerful, well balanced and leaves nothing to be desired.
With so much praise - are there also points of criticism? Well, I have to say that I found the album a bit exhausting to follow during the first two listens, but with each listen the album becomes more interesting and draws me in more. So, anyone who doesn't find the album convincing right away - listen to it several times, because it's worth it!
Rating: 9 out of 101.40k