Review by Ritchie Birnie for MPM
Lancaster based five piece Promethium release album number five and it is a 2023 version of a NWoBHM monster.
The main difference from this album and those heady days of the 80s is the sound. This album sounds incredible and with a new line up things have definitely been spiced up. The album has taken three years to release and you can hear where the work has gone in.
The album opens with a stunning instrumental in “Goat” and from the floating guitar opening it builds into the force that Bleeding the Ghost will become and the power and veracity will not let up and is taken straight into the title track. The dual guitars harks of Smith / Murray and Downing / Tipton and is wrapped in Angelwitch brilliance. The boys love a good old war epic and this adds nicely to their catalogue of gruesome, gore drenched anthems.
“Priest” has a riff to tear through your body and leave your rib cage rattling. Throw in a battering bass line and thunderous drumming and you have a classic.
“Murder She Wrote” is definitely no delicate Angela Lansbury feel good ditty. She would be punch drunk if she had to deal with the brutal guitars on display and her head would be battered and bloody leaving her unable to remember her own name, never mind solve a murder mystery.
The pace continues on “Healing Your Sin” and the opening is outstanding as it builds to a full force beast. The metronome needle flew off and this song is a maniacal masterpiece.
The NWoBHM vibe is left in the dust on “knives Out” as the guitars takes the song in a different direction with the song structure flaying the songs that have proceeded. This is bang up to date and the punctuated lyrics are spat at you with hate and vehemence. This is a stand out track.
“Manhattan” took me back to early Maiden, This is a song that was made for Paul Dianno. Singer James Candlin funnels every emotion in his vocals as the dual guitars of Lovett -horn and Haworth wring out every emotion available from a fretboard. This is a stunningly epic number. If there is any song you could pick for the Oppenheimer soundtrack this is it. Having this song pasted over the visions of destruction would have been so powerful.
Newbie Stu Gordon is on fire as the drums burst from the speakers on “Catfish”. A musical story of who to avoid and will have you shaking your head as we have all been there but this is another furious track that does not let up.
I do love a bass intro and “Snakebite” opens with a melodic battering before settling down to an almost spoken word opening that had me thinking of Geoff Tate. I was disappointed to find this was not about the drink with my preference snakebite and black or as is better known in Scotland a Diesel.
It is not even about a snake but another dig at the female variety of reprobates that I too readily acknowledged and sighed at but the song itself is another top shelf offering.
The album ends with “My Fate” and this track opens with keys and strings which sets the stage to build into a writhing ball of tension. This song is dark, very dark…just like the Spinal Tap album cover, there is nothing blacker.
The keys and strings stay throughout and feed you a little hope between the foreboding but as the song delves to its depths the hope fades till there is no bright side left and acceptance is all you can hope for but musically this could be the strongest and most in depth composition on the album. This track is divinely devilish in its shroud of despair.
What an album from Promethium. The new guys have added more depth and have help pad out the bands sound. This wrapped together with incredible songwriting has easily produced the bands best album to date which is saying something as the likes of “Welcome to the Institution” and “Faces of War” were excellent.
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