A while ago, I received a demo made by Belgium band Neo-Prophet: The Feeblemindedness Of The Inept And The Ignorant. The band recorded the album in their own WAMP-studio, with only a cheap laptop, a stereo soundcard, a condenser mike, a free software Cubasis-program and good ears. I played the demo a couple of times before I concluded that it was not good enough to review. Bass player Hans Six told me that the band was already working on a new and this time professional album. I decided to wait to see if they really could come up with better stuff. I read several already published reviews, before I received a copy of Monsters myself during the iO Pages festival in Zoetermeer. Most of the reviews I read were very positive. In general, the critics noticed that Neo-Prophet was not a real progressive rock band, but actually the band never said to be a prog rock band. They just write music with prog rock elements.
Thanks to the help of producer Frank Van Bogaert, Neo-Prophet managed to create a fantastic album. Van Bogaert also produced Actors In A Play by Mindgames, another outstanding Belgian band. Frank gave Mindgames a transparent and clear sound. The same applies to this release, but a good production is one thing, it does not help you very much if the compositions are bad or mediocre. Fortunately, that is not the case here. All tracks on Monsters are good, without any weak spot. I loved March Of Boneless immediately. The intro sounds a bit like Perfect Strangers made by Deep Purple, in my opinion the best hard rock band on this globe. The rest of the songs contain enough original ideas of their own to call it great songs. Especially the keyboards of Sjoerd Bruyneel sound awesome and give the album a great sound throughout. A sound loved by prog heads all the way. The epic The New Prophet sometimes reminds me of Riders On The Storm by The Doors or Rockpommels Land by Grobschnitt. I noticed influences from The Beatles - the most popular band ever - as well. Some reviewers do not like the voice of Hans Six that much. His vocals are indeed a bit raw moving into the direction of a hard rock voice, but the more you play the entire album, the more you get used to it.
Everyone who likes AOR, prog rock or prog metal will enjoy this album. Elements of all those genres are present in the music of Neo-Prophet. A couple of years ago I wrote that Mindgames put Belgium back on the prog map. Neo-Prophet proves that the rest of the world cannot ignore Belgium any longer as far as prog rock is concerned. Nowadays they produce great progressive rock music there!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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