When dealing in Avant-garde and Progressive Metal it is of course important to be both of those terms and carve out your own niche therein. With their third release this highly talented American band do just that. Opening your album with an 8-minute track and follow it up with one that is basically 2 minutes of atmospherics is one way to set the scene, but then Lotus Thief do think outside the box, they do what feels right at that moment. If it works for them, it works for the listener. There are elements of this album that draw not only from different genres, but also with the musical mentality that the influence could be from anywhere in the world, which is very refreshing.
It’s serious stuff indeed – even lyrically. It says ‘ere – “In retelling of the namesake epic trilogy from ancient Greece by tragedian Aeschylus, mastermind Bezaelith once again addresses distinctly modern topics, as the blood-drenched story of the mythical House of Atreus prompts several questions, ranging from the ethics of killing to gender roles”. Epic storytelling for epic music, and the band has a well-placed willingness to embrace many types of female and male vocal styles, harmonies, melodies and aggression, to elevate the songs and allow them to breathe, evolve and become everything that the lyrics invite them to be. Lotus Thief don’t exactly sound like anyone – the main, mellow female-sung parts of the album have elements of Madder Mortem, Kingfisher Sky, Asrai, Mostly Autumn and even Clannad – and if you play any of those bands back to back it already illustrates the diversity in Lotus Thief’s sound. But add in unexpected dashes of well-incorporated Extreme Metal here and there, plus strange passages of pure musical atmosphere and the whole thing transcends mere Progressive Metal…into the Avant-garde!
If we’re being brutally honest, “Orestia” is probably better described as an expanded EP, containing as it does, 4 tracks (two at 6 minutes and two at 8 minutes), with 4 atmospheric instrumental pieces interspersed between (though the closing track, and the most Clannad of all, does have some fabulous ethereal vocals woven in). It’s worth mentioning that this is a review of the basic album and there is a double CD available with 3 bonus tracks. But glorified EP or not, this does not detract from the expertly arranged and wonderfully produced music on “Oresteia”. This is a band with so many musical avenues to explore that this is basically just where they are at right now. Maybe a longer album would be a lot to take in (let alone make!) and this release makes the songs on offer here focus your mind on the journey the band are taking you on much better. And it is certainly a journey worth joining them on. Incidentally, Prophecy have also re-released 2014’s album “Rervm”, which is the ideal time to check out where the band started on their ongoing epic tale.
(7.5/10 Andy Barker)