PROSPEKT – The Illuminated Sky (Sensory/The Laser’s Edge)PROSPEKT – The Illuminated Sky (Sensory/The Laser’s Edge)

Scoring points aplenty for style, panache and an almost indiscriminate arrogance ‘The Illuminated Sky’ continues on the progressive metal journey Prospekt started with their debut album ‘The Colourless Sunrise’ in 2015. The band’s second album though is much more expansive than its predecessor, as is the Oxfordshire outfit itself, come to that, with the line-up now boasting keyboard player Rox Capriotti alongside guitarist Lee Luland, bassist Phil Wicker and drummer Blake Richardson; in addition, up front ‘n’ centre there’s a new face too with Michael Morris – a man with a fabulous voice and a terrific range – taking over from previous vocalist Richard Marshall.

In one respect there’s nothing so different about these young pups. They wear their Dream Theater, Pagan’s Mind and Symphony X influences proudly on their sleeves, wrap their album in some luscious artwork and obviously all know their way around their respective instruments. So far, so metal… But let’s not lose sight of the prize here, as Prospekt are the UK’s metal music secret weapon. Happily tearing up the rule book, this is a band that’s not afraid to take chances, and ‘The Illuminated Sky’ is an electrifying and brash collision of technical and expertly delivered metal and the endless and exciting possibilities of progressive music. Prospekt’s material draws on a seemingly unending of talent imbued with an obvious and almost overwhelming enthusiasm, while blissfully shying away from the narcissism and self-indulgence that so often saturates many similar bands within the genre.

This band should be huge. This band deserves to be huge. Listen to the grandiose and exciting title track, with its twists and turns and soaring vocals; or ‘Alien Makers Of Discord’, slightly slower, a little longer, but a punchy and almost unstoppable juggernaut; or the ballad ‘Akaibara’, with its piano introduction giving way to one of Luland’s monster riffs and a guitar break to die for. Not that these guys need any help, but a couple of guests pop up and make an appearance – guitarist Greg Howe soloing like a fury on the aforementioned ‘Alien Makers Of Discord’ and Dragonforce’s Marc Hudson duetting with Morris on the epic album closer ‘Where Masters Fall’. Great songs, great band; what more do you want? Dismiss Prospekt at your peril. Trust me on this.

© John Tucker July 2017