The Prophecies


Metal Blade Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I sometimes get the feeling that all European metal is the same - something which is borne out with each passing disc I get in the mail which I listen to. Oh, sure, there is the occasional disc which breaks the mold, and I'd like to think I'm quick to admit when this is the case.

Kenziner, featuring Finnish guitarist/bassist/keyboardist Jarno Keskinen, regrettably falls under this category. Their sophomore release The Prophecies occasionally has some moments where it feels like the mold is going to be broken, but in the end the band becomes another prog-metal import, and the lot is getting full of those models.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

This much can be said about Kenziner - Keskinen, vocalist Stephen Frederick, keyboardist Mikko Harkin and drummer Brian Harris: at least they make the disc seem like it's flying by. Many such discs feel like a minute is an hour long, but Kenziner tries their best to keep things fresh for the listener. In that sense, at least, they succeeded.

The question, of course, is whether or not the music is able to succeed in its own way. And if The Prophecies had tried more to strike out on its own unique path than follow the same one that countless other bands have tread on, it could have worked. Instead, songs like "Live Forever," "Carry On Tomorrow" and "Dimensions" might bring a case of deja vu onto the listener - that is, you'll think you've heard this somewhere before.

Yet there is some faint glimmer of hope offered by Kenziner. "Trail Of Tears" might not be the most natural sounding progression for a band like Kenziner (they never sound at home with the style), but it at least shows they were trying to do something out of the ordinary. That does end up helping the second half of the disc, where songs like "Eternity," "Like A Paradise" and the title track start to show the promise that this band could have.

One other thing that is admirable about this album: it's not too often you have a disc recorded on two continents put together to sound so natural. If I'm reading the liner notes right, the band didn't play together on any of these songs. (Then again, maybe they did like Metallica and recorded rough versions which were used as guide tracks.)

The Prophecies has a sense that we're being told the same future by Kenziner as we've been told by other bands in this genre. But there is a faint glimmer of hope that this band could still forge their own sound and rise above the rest of the pack. Let's hope that happens sooner, rather than later.

Rating: C

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© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Metal Blade Records, and is used for informational purposes only.