(All Album Reviews by jlneudorf)
Neo-Prophet are a Belgium progressive rock band that formed in 2005 with Monsters being their first full length release. The band play a style of progressive music that will appeal to fans of symphonic, neo-progressive and even harder edged prog. In the band are Hans 'Mac' Six (lead vocals, bass), Frank Debruyne (guitars, vocals), Rudi Lins (drums, percussion) and Sjoerd 'Cap' Bruyneel (piano, keyboards, vocals).
This is real melodic stuff and the musicianship is top notch. Keyboards and guitar get equal billing and there are many nice solos often playing off one another. There are many symphonic moments scattered throughout these eight tunes but also plenty of guitar crunch that will make progressive metal fans happy. I should emphasize that songwriting appears to be very important to the band as the songs are very well written with excellent orchestral arrangements and fine melodies are found all over this sixty-two minute disc.
When I first played this CD I did have some reservations, mainly with the lead vocals. Hans Six has a slightly gruff voice with a pretty heavy accent. Further listens however have revealed a singer with a strong and emotional voice that just took getting used to. He does not have the greatest range but he sings well and does not try to overstrain his voice. Perhaps it was the accent that initially turned me off which I now find quite pleasant. There are also some fine background vocals which help to soften the lead voice.
The album's first song is the catchy "The Truth", a neo-progressive number with an initial guitar line that reminded me of U2, although overall the song sounds nothing like that band. Six puts in an emotional performance here and the backing vocals are very good. Other highlights include the orchestral "(March of the) Boneless", with fabulous guitar and synth solos and an Eastern influence that harkens back to Zeppelin's "Kashmir". The album's most ambitious offering has to be the twenty minute epic "The New Prophet". Its six movements flow very nicely boasting tricky rhythms, great synths, melodic lead guitar and some of the album's nicest vocals.
I am very impressed with Neo-Prophet and considering this is their first full album they should have a bright future indeed. If you like bands like Pendragon, Marillion, and IQ, to name but a few, Monsters should be a safe bet and is a CD that I highly recommend.
Rating: 8 (out of ten)