(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new third album by the Israeli band Prey For Nothing.)
First, you should go check out my previous article on this band where I gave an overview of their music, as well as band-authorized downloads of their first two albums. I’d like to not waste time on the typical introductory shit today.
Melodic death metal nowadays really does need to be two things if it wants to be relevant and interesting. It needs depth, and it needs songwriting. While we’ve definitely seen this in the doom-driven aspect of the scene, every other approach to it has been more often than not done rather halfheartedly, much to my disappointment. Prey For Nothing definitely have the depth and the songwriting, taking their brand of Schuldiner-drenched melodic death-dealing proficiency to a new level of intricacy.
The Reasoning in a lot of ways is their best record just for the sake of its sophistication. I may admittedly have preferences for the band’s previous album Against Good and Evil, but I’m finding myself just as in love with The Reasoning, though for different reasons.
The Reasoning is about fat, stuffed-as-a-pig, progressive melodic death metal that really aims to capture the essence of what good riffing is. The guitars on this album have everything I need to be satiated: Technicality, memorability, a lot of interplay, and a talent for finding small ways to turn even the simplest riffs into interesting mind-benders. A lot of the album is in odd time signatures, and there is an emphasis on groove that allows the guitars room to breathe.
The album is, in truth, objectively heavier and has a more pissed character to it, despite the average speed across the album being toned down. There’s also a fuck ton of influence from the classic stylistic trinity of Thrash, Death, and Black Metal. In a lot of ways, I’d also dare to say that if you like NCS favorites Byzantine, Prey for Nothing touches a similar nerve here, as well as across all their work, but especially on The Reasoning.
The opener (also the title track) is really fucking good. It starts with typical clean-guitar intro stuff, but moves on to a pretty interesting melody that comes off as very Wagner-ian. This melody is also the central return point of the song, although not its chorus, which is an entirely different section. It could be argued this song actually has TWO choruses, both with their own preceding verse riffs. I love the main verse riff of this song, part neo-classical and part tech-thrash with a bit of bending and conventional melodic progression that adds just that bit of flavor to it. I also like the abrupt shift the main chorus puts onto the song, a waltz of blackened chords with a classic jazz fusion melodic progression that also retains a slightly blackened quality.
“No Heir to the Throne” is essentially a song which screams at you that start/stop riffing can sometimes be an enthralling experience to listen to. The entire song is built on a foundation of it, channeling some Atheist. This has one of my favorite choruses on the album as well, another example of the band taking a more traditional melodic death metal melody and twisting it just that small bit to throw you off.
In this song bassist Amir Salomon also makes his first noticeable appearance, ushering in the meat of the song with a killer bass solo. His bass presence on this record, for the record, is pretty stellar. The man is a true student of his instrument. There is a lot of counterpoint and unique bass lines apart from the guitars on this album thanks to him, and it REALLY sticks out and gives the music a much needed edge of intricacy. You just get the first taste of that here.
“No Heir to the Throne” transitions seamlessly to “The Devil’s Words (From the Angel’s Mouth)”, the first prime example of the fucking stellar dual guitar work on this album. The verse riff is really hooky, with the staccoto’d chords of one guitar and the other slithering up and down the fret board behind a groove that is extremely busy on the drum front. The chorus, with blackened chords and punchy leads utilizing pedal point, is one of my favorite parts of the entire record. The solo and the way it and the rhythm bounce off each other is also very impressive.
“Lost to the Flame” sounds a lot like something that would have been at home on Death’s The Sound of Perseverance. In fact, a lot of people might well mistake this for a newly discovered Death song, especially in its structure and in the main riff, which is undeniably Schuldiner porn. The melodies here are really cool, and I’m pretty in love with the chorus riff of this song as well.
“The Chemical Crusaders” is one of my favorite songs on the album, a blackened seasoning on top of of the best of the Lamb of God sound from back in the day, with Meshuggah gang shouts to boot. The central riff is so blackened thrash you can feel the ice coating your lungs, but mixed with the polyrhythms in place in the song your frozen lungs may as well be ground into dust beneath granite-encased tank treads.
“The Scale” continues in the vein of The Sound of Perseverance worship, with a thrashy, driving approach this time. “Wolves in Wolve’s Clothing” is the best song on the record. It includes some explosive drum work, meaty riffing, and the best solo on the album, with a particularly gripping pre-solo section with a harpsichord and some kickass bass work going on.
These songs are the highlights, but the rest of the album is also fucking good. Like, really fucking good. Prey for Nothing may very well be my favorite Middle Eastern band out there. Check out the album. It’s free, just go to their Facebook for details, seeing as it’s out today.