Bold, pro­gres­sively minded metal is big­ger than ever – and Prognosis may mean Eng­land fi­nally has an an­swer to Go­jira, Mastodon et al

Metal Hammer (UK) - - New Noise - WORDS: MATT MILLS

“MIGHTY OAKS FROM lit­tle acorns grow” is an old English id­iom that has in­spired many a cre­ative mind. And it’s a state­ment that ap­plies whole­heart­edly to Prognosis: the young, Manch­ester­based bruis­ers whose melodic and groove­laden take on prog metal is al­ready earn­ing them com­par­isons to such he­roes as Go­jira, Dream The­ater and Mastodon, de­spite their unas­sum­ing ori­gins.

“I think we sounded a lit­tle clas­sic rock at the start,” says bassist and front­man Danny Dae­mon, de­scrib­ing his band’s ini­tial, de­riv­a­tive sound be­fore their evo­lu­tion into the bru­tally di­verse up­starts fans know them as to­day.

“It was all about Maiden and stuff like that,” elab­o­rates gui­tarist and co-vo­cal­ist Phil Weller. “This is our first band, so it made sense to start off with some­thing more met­al­head, more Iron Maiden: that sim­ple, more bluesy side of things.

“I think when we started writ­ing Drones was when that re­ally changed,” he con­tin­ues. “That was in a weird time sig­na­ture and heav­ier than any­thing we had ever done. It def­i­nitely didn’t sound clas­sic rock.”

Un­veiled in Au­gust 2016 as Prognosis’s first ever sin­gle, Drones marked the be­gin­ning of a mu­si­cal jour­ney that would not hit its cul­mi­na­tion un­til more than two years down the line, fi­nally reach­ing its com­plete re­al­i­sa­tion with the quar­tet’s de­but al­bum, Def­i­ni­tion.

“Drones was the turn­ing point,” re­calls Phil, “one of those songs that cap­tures what Prognosis are try­ing to achieve in gen­eral, be­cause there are those pro­gres­sive el­e­ments and the struc­ture’s less ‘in­tro-verse-cho­rus-verse-cho­rus’. But it’s also got those re­ally punchy 4/4 sec­tions and that big cho­rus: for me, there was al­most a Muse in­flu­ence on that. Then you’ve got those weird, slightly off-kil­ter riffs, and that just in­spired the rest of the al­bum.”

The lauded and long-awaited ful­l­length Def­i­ni­tion is very much an ex­pan­sion of the twisted yet hook-filled ex­per­i­men­tal­ism that com­menced on Drones. Pow­er­ful new songs like High Road, Down­fall and The Sy­co­phant con­tinue in their pro­gen­i­tor’s foot­steps: they jux­ta­pose wacky time sig­na­tures and ex­per­i­men­tal song struc­tures with such pri­mal plea­sures as skull-crush­ing grooves, un­stop­pable gui­tar chops, melodic cho­ruses and an un­pre­dictable in­ter­play be­tween Danny’s grunts and Phil’s clean singing. The end re­sult is a packed al­bum full of nods to sludge, groove metal, prog, met­al­core, hard rock and more.

“It’s al­ways been about that balance of im­press­ing peo­ple and hav­ing that catchy ele­ment,” Phil says of his band’s im­pres­sively mas­sive sound­scape.

Danny adds, “We don’t like to show fear when we’re learn­ing new songs. If you show any sort of hes­i­ta­tion that it might be dif­fi­cult… we have a thing in Prognosis which is, ‘Cool, we’re do­ing that then!’”

“There was a good six-month phase where Danny’s catch­phrase was ‘There’s no such thing as can’t’,” the gui­tarist replies. “If some­one came up with a sec­tion and one of us was strug­gling, it was never, ‘Oh, let’s make this eas­ier or over­sim­plify it to help them out.’

There was never any of that.”

And as ex­treme, pro­gres­sive eclec­ti­cism – pi­o­neered by ti­tans like Meshug­gah and Go­jira – en­ters into its most pop­u­lar era yet, it’s hard to think of a more ap­pro­pri­ate time for the gut­tural pun­ish­ment of Prognosis to se­cure a well-de­served break­through.

“With Mastodon, Go­jira and Devin Townsend, we are aware of that and we have that kind of sound,” Phil con­cludes. “I think, for us, it’s al­ways been about find­ing a balance be­tween pro­gres­sive mu­sic – we all like to throw silly time sig­na­tures at one an­other – and the groove ele­ment. You want cho­ruses that you can sing along to and stuff where you can pull that ‘riff face’ and bang your head.”


Def­i­ni­tion is out now


Prognosis: be pre­paredto pull your ‘riff face’

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