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–Prototype: Seed demo (Retro Review, 1996)

(This review was originally published in Kollnot Music #3, Summer 1996. Occasionally I will be revisiting some of my old reviews that I recently found in storage. I figure it’ll be fun to see how opinions change over time and to take another look at some great 1990s releases. Kragen Lum is now well known for his work in Heathen and his long current stint as lead guitarist for Exodus.)

Perhaps you are one of the lucky 1,200 who own a copy of the classic Lifeforce CD by California thrash legends Psychosis (not to be confused with the band on Massacre Records). If so, you remember what a fine collection of aggressive and powerful, if derivative, thrash it was. It had a similarity to Testament with the straight-ahead riffs and clear yet undefined vocals. Now, the duo of Vince Levalois (vocals/rhythm guitars) and Kragen Lum (lead guitar) have returned with their 1994 demo from Prototype. 

Prototype have combined their thrash roots with progressive touches, creating a vibrant, emotional, and inspirational piece of work. While they still play aggressive thrash metal, complete with Levalois’ raspy but enjoyable vocal style, these three songs bury the Psychosis material into a sea of beautiful atmosphere and dynamic moods. The songs on Seed border on the slower side, whereas Psychosis always indulged in fast tempos. A strong contrast between arpeggiated progressive guitar textures and the crunchy riffing of Lum/Levalois creates songs that are constantly moving, changing direction, and surprising. Lum’s lead guitarwork is particularly impressive, especially on the standout “Shine,” and the musicianship of all four members is superb. “Seed” and “Dead of Jericho” continue in a mid-tempo vein,and the demo is complete. 

Lum/Levalois probe complex issues like Christianity and corruption, presenting them in an interesting light. The biblical references in their music are hard to ignore on “Dead of Jericho.” “Seasons will follow/the death of the land/governed by spirits/the sons of Abraham.” The Christian themes are more critical on songs like “Cold is This God” from Psychosis. Kragen explained that they write about religion because it interests them, and the lyrics are sung from the point of view that Christianity has problems and contradictions. (The original review ended with pricing and old contact info for Prototype, including such quaint technologies as a snail-mail address and an aol.com email. 😁)–4/5

–Jonathan Kollnot 

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~ by jonnyboyrocker on September 23, 2017.

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