The Prophecy eh, nobody foretold their return. Well I was surprised at any rate until I luckily found their new album Origins nestling in my junk folder among all the others needy for review. Naturally I grabbed it straight away as the Halifax doom crew have been a constant companion through the years ever since I first encountered them back in 2003 with debut album ‘Ashes.’ Naturally they are nowhere near as well-known as others from said area of Yorkshire but their music has always been mature, steadfast and an engrossing experience so it is great that they are back with their 5th album after a long period of silence since 2013 release Salvation
As with that particular album what we have here are another 5 epic tracks although this time around entitled after the album itself and divided into parts each with an average 10 minute running time. The quartet are all long standing members so obviously there is nothing in that respect that has caused such a long gap between releases and on listening to this I can only assume they have been working hard to get this opus sounding just right; music like this certainly cannot be rushed.
A drum beats time slowly and the listener must prepare themselves for a lengthy and heartfelt journey, one that is full of emotion and not necessarily one that is going to be all hugs and kisses as it is a tale of lost love with a certain amount of misery to accompany it along the way. Matt Lawson narrates and has one of the most rich and expressive voices around. You may well be reminded a bit of recent Anathema here which is no bad thing at all and this certainly has the scope to have fans of acts like 40 Watt Sun and Warning blubbing their way through a box of tissues. Fragrance and mellowness is exuded in an overwrought fashion that is emotive but not in any childish fashion. There are occasional growling parts and these are especially noted in the first part where they accompany a stumbling drum pattern that seems a bit out of sorts to everything else going on around it. That’s a brief moment of disconcertion though and the album as a whole doesn’t go anywhere near the death-laden structures the band have played around with in the past and is indeed replaced by a soaring guitar line and lyrics speaking of loss at journey’s end. Tears are definitely going to be shed by the bucket load, the weeping violin reflects this but there’s nothing like having a good sob at beauty like this.
The music becomes more dramatic and denser in the second part and the vocals with growls and lush female backing parts more varied but it’s the melodies and captivating croons of Lawson that really get your attention as his solitary journey continues, lost and looking back to where he came from. The pumped up “ocean rising, hammers falling from the skies” lyrical part is as powerful as a storm whiplashing over a Yorkshire dale and once heard will soak you right through to the skin. There are some absolutely gorgeous sparkling motifs within the framework of the third part as the vocals peak screaming out in a near redemptive state to be set free. Everything soars and glistens within the storm and one wonders if there is any hope for the storyteller but you get the feeling that a rainbow is just about to cast just that. It’s all about “breaking the bonds” and setting oneself free as we venture to the fourth part which has a great acoustic flow breaking into a fantastic chorus “you take the life from me” making one pretty sure it is a lost relationship that has caused all this suffering resulting in this very cathartic outpouring. How does it all end, well you will have to find that out for yourself but you are guaranteed a weighty album here that is full of passion. As for if there’s anything biographical within the lyrics here well they have certainly been well and truly exorcised here. Welcome back you miserable bastards!
(8/10 Pete Woods)