Review by Andy Houghton for MPM
‘Flag’ is the latest album from Prosperina, the band from South Wales whose output defies easy classification. Blending elements of metal, prog, stoner and grunge (the band’s music was once memorably described as ‘metal with a brain’ by The Line of Best Fit), Prosperina have garnered widespread critical acclaim for their output over the past decade.
The new album sees Prosperina return with their most expansive vision yet. ‘Flag’ examines the helplessness and fragmentation of modern life, whilst delving into the emotions of loss, grief and fear.
There is a melancholy throughout but a triumphant resolution to this powerful lamentation.
The narrative underpinning ‘Flag’ will no doubt leave you thinking the band wrote it during the current climate, as it’s an album that focuses on an oppressive dystopian existence.
But it was actually recorded in December 2018, though it was no less a difficult period for several members of the band, which leant real depth to the darkness at the album’s heart.
Prosperina were one of the many casualties of the PledgeMusic collapse, though not entirely without irony considering the album’s overarching themes.
But despite the large financial loss, the band finally managed to honour their fans’ prior commitments to them and find the money to enable them to release the album.
Lead singer and guitarist Gethin Woolcock explains, “We had a bit of a trial to get to this point but we wanted to make sure our supporters got what they wanted, which meant spending a fair bit of our own personal savings to make it happen, as well as that of a very kind friend who supported us to get over the final hurdle.”
Whatever pains the band experienced have been channelled into powerful anthems with rousing choruses. Their masterly control of dynamics and genre-crossing songwriting aids the extraction of the pop from the prog and the drone from the doom.
Album opener ‘Deep Never’ provides an early highlight, with lyrics that examine the loss of self-liberty in a way that now seems remarkably prescient.
‘Boot’ is the album’s standout track, inspired by George Orwell’s 1984 with the chorus hollering “If you want to see a vision of the future, picture a boot stamping on a human face forever.
The track’s dystopian narrative is matched by the stomping and crushing bass-heavy instrumentals, the overall effect being strongly reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’. Woolcock adds, “‘Boot’ is an anthem for the disenfranchised Left. It feels like a counterpoint to the culture of pretence that things will always work out ok given time – a Hollywood trope that’s not always the case in the real world.
Boot’ is a track that is intended to rouse people from the morphine-esque stupor created by social media.”
Title track ‘Flag’ is another highlight, a relatively retrained song that gives the band scope for nuance and experimentation. The slow build allows the listener time to absorb the multi-layered complexity, while anticipation builds for the soaring climax.
Despite the hurdles, emotionally and logistically, Prosperina’s dogged determination has never ceased and there’s never been a more appropriate time for ‘Flag’ to be released. Highly recommended.
- Deep Never
- A New Cold
- Art Nouveau
- Drunk On The Blood Of Tokyo
- Runner In the Maze
- Perhentian Storm
‘Flag’ is released on May 21st, 2021.