After glancing at the unimpressive album cover and bland song titles, I assumed Sweden’s PREY were just another generic Power Metal band, and I was fully prepared to tear them a new asshole if their music also failed to stand out. Well, as I soon realized, PREY aren’t a Power Metal band at all, but rather a Melodic Metal band that’s often only two steps away from straight-up AOR. Sure, they’ve got a fast song or two about revolutionary knights, but they also address the topic Metal fans love to hate: love. Oh, and the songs are pretty damn good.
The album opener, “Knights Of The Revolution,” breaks out the double bass fairly early. See, they want to trick you into thinking they’re Power Metal, and then…what’s this? Heavy keyboard usage in the prechorus? An all-too-smooth chorus? An even smoother pre-solo interlude? By the second song, “Deliver The Goods,” the Melodic Metal-ness is fully embraced, as these guys sound way more like a harder-edged Joe Lynn Turner-era RAINBOW than fellow Swedes HAMMERFALL. As a matter of fact, “Get Out” is 100% AOR; it’s ‘80s Pop-Rock worship at its finest.
Each of the band members perform admirably on “Knights Of The Revolution.” Thomas Nystroem’s vocals are at once smooth and powerful, and are perfectly suited to the band’s status as in between Power Metal and AOR. His guitars are also excellent. Bassist Peter Baecke anchors the band solidly, and he practically makes the verses of “Get Out” his own. Robban Bäck brings the thunder like no other, proving to be adept at the speedy Power Metal-like tracks as well as the more subdued AOR ones. Perhaps the unsung hero of the band is keyboardist Fredrik Plahn, smoothing nearly every song into a Melodic masterpiece and adding a surprisingly edgy Techno sound to “Into Fire.” The two things that most separate PREY from today’s Power Metal bands (besides the excellently catchy songwriting) are Plahn’s keyboards, which are a welcome departure from the Jens Johansson school of keyboarding, and the wonderful background vocals provided by all the band members.
With this release, PREY have proven themselves to be very adept songwriters indeed (and so early in their career!) For fans of Melodic Metal, “Knights Of The Revolution” is worth every penny. Power Metal fans looking for something a little slower and a lot smoother might also want to check this out, as would AOR fans looking to make the leap into the world of Metal. “Knights Of The Revolution” truly has something for everyone.
(Online June 15, 2009)