You’ve more than likely never heard of the band Promethee, and that’s pretty much a given. Promethee are a Swiss metal band with a sound swinging between metalcore and deathcore, depending on whatever mood they’re in. There’s a slight progressive undertone, so maybe you could toss them into the Sumeriancore subgenre. Promethee gave the world a sampling of their music recently with their self-titled five-track EP, Promethee.
It went largely unnoticed, as it tends to happen to small foreign bands; they only have 127 listeners on last.fm. How I came across this EP is a bit serendipitous, finding myself browsing deathcore music blogs on blogger for bands with the tag “progressive deathcore”. I didn’t really expect to find anything overly enjoyable that I haven’t already heard of. While Promethee aren’t exactly pushing musical boundaries with their EP (they really aren’t), it can actually be a very fun listen.
The album opens with “And Then The Earth Was Shaken”. It opens well enough, with an excellent melodic and ominous buildup that, well, ends up going into your average one note chugging breakdown. Yeah, it was too good to be true, wasn’t it? They drop the sonic environment they built at the beginning and just start chugging while the vocalist enters and does his thing. If they continued the melodic atmosphere further into the breakdown, it would make the track exponentially better. A couple of well placed slightly distorted bass drops are tossed in, but they feel fitting and comfortable where they are.
The song slows into a stagger and the second track, “Shipwreck”, kicks in at full force with melodic death riffs and gang vocals chanting “We came, we saw, we conquered!”. The song goes surprisingly well for a while with some of the best metalcore riffs I’ve heard in a while, until they stop the show to do a breakdown. They pick the song back up and manage to salvage what’s left with some speedy tapping, pummeling drums, a few bass drops (man, I love the sound of these things), and vocal work that sounds like it was done through a megaphone. It all fits very well, surprisingly. The song ends with vocal chants and music fading out into the guitar track and an faint atmospheric backing.
“Sink Or Swim” opens with some urgent classical piano with orchestration and choir. The full band comes in and the song is full speed ahead with some more melodic death inspired riffing and a trade off of your run of the mill deathcore vocals, hardcore yelling, and gang shouts. Then, in a moment where I literally facepalmed, they stop everything again and do a breakdown. The only thing stopping these guys from sounding amazing are the terrible breakdowns. The breakdowns could do with some layers in the background, but they act more like prison bars in their forms; with staccato rhythms and monophonic texture leaving noticeable gaps in between notes, which could be rage inducing if you nit-pick like I do. Thankfully, this doesn’t last long and a few unforced guitar solos follow into a proggy riff with emphasized bass. More of their melodic deathcore sound end the track.
Like I said earlier, Promethee know how to write some excellent melodic deathcore/metalcore, and this carries over into the song “Ashes”. The breakdown in this song? It’s actually tolerable, and definitely more fitting than the ones in previous tracks, as they throw some guitar wankery over it this time. The chorus sort of reminds me of Born Of Osiris, in that it has a faint air of epicness to it. The guitar solo on this song puts the ones on “Sink or Swim” to shame, sweeping up and down the fretboard. With this song, I get the suspicion that Promethee ordered the tracklist from worst-to-best of their songs. The song flows seamlessly into the EP’s finale “Over The Horizon”, Promethee’s shining beacon of hope, and confirms my belief.
“Over The Horizon” is a fast paced festival of epically melodic progcore wank, and I love it. I’ll just let this song speak for itself since it’s that damn awesome.
Best news: the breakdown serves a valid purpose, building an explosive sonic scenery that was foreshadowed in the song’s chorus, “I want to see a nation of warriors.” The breakdown ends with machine-gun blasting bass drum pounding and back into the melodic motif the song carries and chorus trade-off. An excellently delivered guitar solo and a high spirited falling action ends the EP with a cadence.
This EP is a great first step for Promethee. I can’t wait to see them grow in their songwriting and evolve as musicians as time goes on. As I’ve said before, the only problems here are the poorly executed breakdowns. If they continue to make great music and grow as musicians, then we’ll have a heavy hitting band with a bigger worldwide presence.
Promethee – Promethee gets
Visit Promethee on MySpace