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Prototype - Continuum

Ok, now this is a kicking CD! Prototype has been around for quite a while and this is their third full length release, with their previous 
two coming back in 1998 & 2002. This band has been around the block, paid their dues, and have been rewarded by playing the same stage as many of the most popular metal acts of today...like Nevermore, Hammerfall, Exodus, Morbid Angel, Mercyful Fate, Death, Strapping Young Lad, Fates Warning, and many others! They've also played on many tribute albums including ones for Metallica, Rush, Iron Maiden, and Testament! If those last two sentences didn't get your attention, then you might as well just stop reading this review now. 

As for Prototype themselves, they aren't really the household name for some reason, but that hasn't stopped them from making quality metal. If a style of progressive/melodic thrash appeals to you, then Prototype is a band you should be rushing to check out. Musically, this band just nails everything on this disc. Thrash fans will love the heaviness and speed, but progressive fans will love the intricate musicianship that doesn't always stick to a boring formula. Whether is the blistering riffing, the killer solos, and the double bass that attack and destroy, or the gorgeous acoustic guitars on songs like "Sea of Tranquility" or "Undying" that shows off the band's softer side, this is fabulous stuff from start to finish. And both thrash and progressive fans will get into the vocals as well, with their mixture of aggressive vocals that are reminiscent of a mixture of James Hetfield, Warrel Dane, and Eddie Vetter, and also their more cleanly and smoothly sung vocals. At first I had a little bit of a difficult time getting into them, but they have really grew on me after multiple listens. Vince Levalois is very versatile and seems at home regardless of how he approaches each song.

To further the name dropping if you still aren't convinced, the production and artwork on this disc had the involvement of Neil Kernon and Travis Smith (Opeth, Nevermore, Iced Earth, etc.) Not too bad for a band that doesn't seem to be at the top of everybody's want list in 2006. As for lyrics, they weren't included with the promo, they aren't on the band's website, and I didn't have much of a chance to dig into them while just listening, but their label states that they explore topics of history, humanity, and questioning one's faith. 

If you are one of those people who crave quality metal and you don't mind venturing outside of all those household names, this is a pretty good band to take a chance on.

Rating: 89/100

Review By: Matt Morrow

Label: Nightmare Records

Total Songs: 11

Total Time: 42:41

Tracklisting: 1. The Way it Ends, 2. Probe, 3. Devotion, 4. With Vision, 5. Synthespian, 6. Sea of Tranquility, 7. Transcendent Velocity, 8. Seed, 9. Undying, 10. Heart Machine, 11. Cold is this God.

Best Songs: Tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, & 7.

Band Lineup: Vince Levalois - Vocals/Guitars, Kragen Lum - Guitar, Kirk Scherer - Bass, Damion Ramirez/Pat Magrath - Drums.

Band Website: http://www.prototypeonline.com or http://www.myspace.com/prototypeonline