Not to be confused with seemingly a handful of metal bands with a matching name, the Prowler unleashing new album From The Shadows, hail from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and create a rousing onslaught of horror fuelled heavy/thrash metal. Theirs is a sound which is maybe low on major surprises and high on familiarity, one unafraid to wear its inspirations on its blood soaked sleeve, but equally it only provides a compelling and thoroughly enjoyable escapade that hits the undemanding sweet spot time and time again.
Prowler began in 2010, releasing a quartet of EP’s which they subsequently brought together with an additional new track for their debut album After You in 2013. The band’s inspirations seem to stem from early Metallica and Anthrax, taking From The Shadows as an example, and indeed eighties thrash in general, essences twisted into sonic echoes and offshoots from horror movies of the same era. 2013 also saw the release of The New Blood EP, a well-received attention grabber in many ways sowing the accomplished and ravenous seeds for the Roger Lian (Slayer, Overkill, Pantera, Damageplan) mastered From The Shadows. As suggested the band’s new album does not particularly reshape the landscape or scenery of thrash metal but it does join a handful of genre releases this year which simply leave ears and appetite highly satisfied whilst uncaging anthemic fun easily luring limbs, neck muscles, and voice to get fully involved.
The album opens with R.O.T.L.D and the first of the individual film samples bookending each track within the album; here a slither of Return Of the Living Dead triggering a swiftly contagious rhythmic stroll. A riff and groove sculpted swing soon adds to the dynamic theatre and persuasion of the song, whilst vocally with a whiff of Wednesday 13 to his delivery, guitarist Patrick Best opens up the cinematic narrative. It is a raw and magnetic concoction with a horror punk scent brewing up its enmity within a thrash spawned prowl, and a rousing start to the album.
The excellent track makes way for Out Of The Fog, riffs and beats encasing the opening sample just as the theme of the lyrics impose within the cinematic source. Keys soon add spicy colouring to the antagonistic prowl of sound whilst the bass of Shawn Bruce and beats of drummer Jak Sumwalt cast their own sinister and rampant cage. It is a predatory mix with plenty of enjoyable and generally unpredictable twists, and knowing the films seeding each track, as here, only adds to the theatre of it all.
I Am Wolf quickly hunts down the senses and psyche next; the throaty primal tone of the bass and the rapier like beats alone inciting ears and imagination whilst vocally Best is a protagonist with barker like appeal around the continuing samples which puncture the passage of the track. As the first pair of songs, the track is undiluted full-blooded thrash metal, easy to offer comparisons too but hard to dismiss as a pale imitation of anything.
The commanding and stirring beats of Sumwalt make an inspiring impact across the whole of the album, and at the start of the following The Thing Not Seen, simply stalking ears with a tribal come demonic stance and canter. Like the bass tempting offered continually by Bruce, which is just as potent across From The Shadows, there is a primal feel and air to the rhythmic provocation, one emulated in their own raw and spiteful fashion by vocals and searing guitar enterprise of Best.
Prowler next offer a cover of The Ramones track, Pet Sematary, the song given a heavy metal make-over fuelled by another thrash cast tempest of energy and sound. It is a more than decent and pleasing version but lacks something compared to the band’s own songs, which maybe is how it should be with any cover song, always being eclipsed by a band’s own invention as shown immediately by Return To The Lot. Another entwining rabid rapacity and a more stalker like gait to its primeval hell, the Salems Lot inspired ravishing captures ears and imagination with visceral ease, again not splintering into new domains but healthily feeding any wants from a thrash/horror punk fusion.
Death On Wheels carries a similar attack and growl to its predecessor and wears arguably the strongest Metallica/Anthrax sound of any song within the album, and through those aspects does not quite match what has already lit up From The Shadows. There is no denying though that it has ears and pleasure in full swing before leaving Creature Of The Black and its atmospheric entrance to work another enthralling tempting. Eventually the song grows into a muscular and savagely predacious offering with carnivorous rhythms and caustic grooves, and a fine end to a thoroughly enjoyable album.
From The Shadows certainly offers little new but it certainly provides a festival of eighties aural and visual devilry with an attitude and snarl as nasty as the creatures central to each and every song. As mentioned earlier, it is enormous fun and that definitely works when looking for something to simply get the blood rushing through veins and emotions primed to take on the world.
From The Shadows is available digitally and on CD now via Slaney Records and @ http://prowlerhorror.bandcamp.com/album/from-the-shadows