Saturday, 7 January 2012

Review: Prosperina - Faith In Sleep

 Stoner rock has to be the most criminally underrated and overlooked rock genre of all time. At least that's the impression I've gotten from my days of being a rock fan at school, which in itself alienates me from a lot of people. The amount of times people have asked "Who?" whenever I've casually referenced Josh Homme is unacceptable and after being pretty much insulted when being asked if I was talking about a character from the Twilight movies when referring to Kyuss made me give up on discussing the genre, as I've come to realise the people around me just don't know what they're missing. Such as the sophisticated epicness presented to us on Faith In Sleep the mind-blowing debut from Welsh trio Prosperina.

 Faith In Sleep is basically a slice of rock and roll from the otherside. Honestly, it's hard to think of anything as grand in it's sense of atmospherically bleak soundscapes and its emotional sense of lowness and doom as this album. Prosperina make up this melancholic grace with their ability to make use of the best bits of the stoner rock and doom metal styles in which they execute so well. In mixing the more frantic, quicker paced riffing of stoner rock which at times reaches a grunge element, like in Arcanum with it's pounding and bouncy riffs being more reminiscent of Breaking Benjamin or various other grunge acts that everyone hates. However it's tracks like God Vs. Darwin and Trees Have Eyes where the real stoner rock influence begins to rub off and we get into the epic headbanging territory. Gethin Woolcock's harsh vocals and wild guitar skills allows such awesomeness to sound effortless.
 However, the real treat on Faith In Sleep is without a doubt the slower doom laden sections. It's these sections where the albums earthly and epic productions are at their most effective. Temples carries with it a snazzy sense of grace and majesty with its icy dwindling riffs and crunching basslines has the same kind of beauty and grandeur of Isis while Hypnagog making use of harsh and intimate vocals in it's dragging and bleak riffs has a character of pure evil about it, conjuring up a song with the qualities of a painful journey to hell, which in the realms of doom metal is a fantastic quality to have. Also impressive is the instrumental title track, the most intimate track on the album which amongst the awesome roughness and epic soundscaping manages to highlight a sense of vulnerability and sensitivity in the music. It is very beautiful. It is in these tracks where the most shocking and dramatic elements allow themselves to emerge and anyone who is not completely entranced and shocked by the epic bridge of Snow Leopard with the intimate chanting of "Into the jaws of death we ride" probably doesn't have a soul.
 Faith In Sleep gives me a reason to carry more faith in stoner rock since the fresh blood of the genre sounds as epic and unforgiving as many bands at their prime and Prosperina achieve this with a high sound of confidence and assurance with what they do. And when an album as outstanding as this is created, having such faith and confidence in a genre that is horrendously underrated and overlooked pays off well.

 Prosperina's Faith In Sleep is out now via Maybe Records.

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