Lostprophets’ ‘Weapons’

6 Apr

This week saw Welsh rock-band, Lostprophets, release their fifth studio album titled ‘Weapons‘. Having been around for about 15 years now, these guys have seen a lot of things happen to the alternative scene; watching as bands come and go, learning all the while and never shy of musical experimentation. It is no surprise that their sound has changed slightly, but it is quite surprising that they have been able to maintain their own image and style musically; there has only been slight evolutions, developments, as they go through life. Part of their success is down to their ability to experiment and release new material without sounding like an entirely new band. Their début album, ‘The fake Sound Of Progress‘ (2000-2002), is along the lines of metal with their previous, ‘The Betrayed‘ (2007-2010) adopting a more punk-rock sound as their maturity calls for a more mellow attitude.

Weapons‘, released 2nd April, peaked at number 3 on the UK iTunes Charts showing their popularity has not diminished over time. After a brief listen to the album, one can tell that Lostprophets have not lost their way and it is not just because of the distinct vocals of Ian Watkins, but the overall sound and atmosphere that the album exudes. There is, however, something new about it due to the signs of experimentation. Briefly, dub-step influenced ‘Bring Em Down‘ and rap is used to inspire the vocal structures of ‘Better off Dead‘.  It is not entirely noticeable because the vibe is still fierce, remaining consistent with their début, so it possesses an old-school quality to it as nostalgia takes us back to their previous material of which there is definitely an echoing. My first thoughts were, it sounds like a greatest hits album as the best sounds have been taken and put into one place – the contemporary twists being only minimal. The overall album,is an enjoyable listen that has an excellent balance of their mellowed maturity and their fierce youth. The themes have the usual range that cover romance, social status and politics, giving the album a diverseness that coincides with the music, preventing any boredom.

Here is a quick track-by-track break down:

Bring ‘Em Down‘ opens the album with a rally-like atmosphere. It has multiple  layers with an infusion of their usual rock with a dub-step undertone that echoes the sound one would usually relate to The Prodigy. It is a new sound for the band, but it is still powerful thanks to the excellent lyrics shaped in the form of a revolution. All-in-all, it is a song of revolution due to the sound experimentation and it’s build-up structure but the lyrics stand out with uses of accusations and imperatives. It is a very positive opening that creates curiosity and excitement for the rest of the album. (Watch the music video posted below to feel the full effect)

The older sounds related to Lostprophets comes through in ‘We Bring An Arsenal‘. Taunting vocals alongside a fast-paced melody and steady beat. The chorus sees the same clash of sound with chants and infectious beats that go down well worth the head-bangers.

Another Shot‘ echoes the experimentation seen in the album’s opening but mellowed down. The musical structure is much more simple with guitar and drums leading the way with a retro-techno sound lingering in the background. The lyrics are the most striking part of the song, with concert imagery and convincing desperation that goes straight through any listener.

We see signs of the punkier and more upbeat side of Lostprophets comes through in ‘Jesus Walks‘; a sound that seemed to dominate a previous album, ‘Liberation Transmission‘ (2005-2007). It conforms to the more mainstream structures of the alternative sound because of it’s catchy melody and infectious beats. There is a clearness about it that contrasts the usual heavy clashes that they tend to wear making it an easy listen. It is an excellent power song that calls for strength in one’s individuality and self-motivation.

A Song From Where I’m From‘ is considered as a reaction, a follow-up, to the hit-single off ‘The Betrayed‘ – ‘Where We Belong‘. The entire musical and lyrical structure echoes that of ‘Where We Belong‘ but it is different in that there is less desperation and loneliness; instead a positive attitude takes stage and there is a sense of belonging. It is, in a way, a feel-good song that calls for a sense of security. Like a lot of their material, the lyrics are the most striking element of the song; giving it its character.

Next comes ‘A Little Reminder That I’ll Never Forget‘ is very typical of the sound one usually assigns to Lostprophets. It has a balance between heavy rock and punk; it is both meaningful and raw; mellow yet feirce. It is a well structured tune, with beautiful lyrics and controlled musical layers.

Better Off Dead‘ sees the influence of rap as the usual melodiously vocals are replaced with a chanting that boarders on actually being rap. It returns to the revolutionary atmosphere previously seen on the album that echoes much of the themes that Lostprophets cover. It is fierce and taunting in it’s attack on social conformities and hypocrisy; very old-school alternative but with an uncanny hip-hop twist.

Next we see a softer side that boarders in romantic with ‘Heart On Loan‘; one that echoes ‘Broken Hearts,Torn Up Letters & The Story of A Lonely Girl‘ from ‘Liberation Transmission‘. The sound is very mellow with a sense of the classical about it but it is undoubtedly a powerful song that is filled with sentimental meaning.

But, ‘Somedays‘ out does the sentimental mellowness of the above. It is a beautiful, stripped down track. Romantic and touching, showing Lostprophets’ range of skills in creating diverse music. It is an excellent personal tune that is both positive and upbeat but also very down-to-earth in its acceptance of reality.

The album closes with ‘Can’t Get Enough‘, a song that echoes much of Lostprophets older material with a classical twist due to the strings and piano in the background. It is a powerful ending that sums up the revolutionary root that has flowed through it all.

However, if you are patient you can hear the album’s real ending with title track, ‘Weapons‘ being a hidden one. The sound is very heavy and dark compared to the rest of the album as there is an entire return to Lostprophets’ metal-based début. It is a quite unsettled ending.

Check out Lostprophets’ official site: http://lostprophets.com/
Also watch the musical video for ‘Bring ‘Em Down’:

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3 Responses to “Lostprophets’ ‘Weapons’”

  1. Pmann May 21, 2012 at 8:29 am #

    Is this written by a lostprophets PR agent or something?? This album sounds nothing like their debut (“…still fierce, remaining consistent with their début.”)

    And I’m sorry, but this is their most tame, lame and downright boring album to date!
    Albums, 2, 3 and 4 are absolute and utter brilliance and I;ve been listening to them consistently since each release. But ‘Weapons’ sounds like a band trying to sound like lostprophets.

    A very dissapointed fan (who will never stop loving this band)

    • Kacela May 21, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

      I did honestly really enjoy the album; I’ve always enjoyed their work.
      Of course, we each have our own tastes and preferences.

    • Cole November 22, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

      I gotta say, I felt exactly the same when I first listened to it, but I’ve been giving it a chance for the last week or so and I’m really starting to love the album. As one die hard fan to another, give Weapons a chance man, I was pissed too when I first heard it but its a damn good album

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