In Metal there are a few countries that are very closely connected to a certain tradition. I only say Norway - Black Metal, Germany - Thrash and Power Metal, Florida - Death Metal etc. Great Britain, too, has such a tradition and THE PROPHECY fully stand in that one: Doom/Death Metal.
Bands like MY DYING BRIDE, ANATHEMA, old PARADISE LOST or if you leave out the Death part of course BLACK SABBATH have been/are the ancestors and THE PROPHECY show absolute potential to become part of them with their debut "Ashes", because the six songs that they present us with here are strong, really strong! And the sextet manages not to sound like one of these bands, but take the sound and put it onto their own level. That the band hails from Yorkshire is also more than just coincidence as this also is the birth region of MY DYING BRIDE and PARADISE LOST, must be something in the water...
What is quite obvious right away is the use of keyboards, which add another dimension to the melancholic sound, an additional atmosphere and warmth that works excellently with the strong riffs of the Brits and the mostly sluggish tempo, altogether creating a mood that is at the same time menacing and still comforting and can play with the best out there, no exaggeration!
Heaviest Doom riffs meet beautiful melancholic/melodic guitar leads, a deep (but understandable) growl sporadic clean passages, mostly slow tempo a few faster outbursts, melancholy meets atmosphere that the brightest day darkens and within the ton heavy sound suddenly acoustic guitars that ignite a spark of hope in the deep sadness of the compositions.
Best example for all of this without a doubt is "The Killing Fields", a monumental track that at first listen already forevermore has me in its vice like grip, this song already now stands in the line of future classics, because here almost everything fits that makes truly magnificent Doom/Death Metal, great, that's what I call a true hymn! The opening title track "Ashes" already has broken the ground by then, with also great Doom/Death Metal, the atmospheric keyboards in the background and damn good riffing…
"The Prophecy" will then put all fans of MY DYING BRIDE into seventh heaven, because the only word that I could use for this track is: celebrate. This is pure Doom, slow, melodic, melancholic, with clean as well as growled vocals and an almost hypnotizing atmosphere that inevitably pulls you in. The following "Dawn" brings us a few faster passages before "Blackened Desire" breaks through the Doom/Death of THE PROPHACY with some pure Black/Death attacks, which for themselves are not bad, just do not really fit into the overall atmosphere and mood of the album. The closing "Till Light Enshrouds" finally starts with a lone lead guitar of pure melancholy before turning into another Doom/Death hit.
All in all I have to attest THE PROPHECY a more than remarkable debut with "Ashes", which bears everything in it to catapult them into the pantheon of Doom/Death Metal in the very near future already, so if you like the mentioned bands, then do not hesitate a single second and get "Ashes" still today! (Online August 31, 2003)