Lostprophets have had quite a ride since the release of ‘Liberation Transmission’ in 06...
Lostprophets have had quite a ride since the release of ‘Liberation Transmission’ in 06; they’ve had the highs – conquering Download 08, quite a feat considering they were dubbed “the unwelcome guests”, dealing with the criticism levelled at them with their usual aplomb by cheekily releasing their own ‘fuck Lostprophets’ T-shirts. They’ve also had the lows: losing drummer Ilan Rubin (who’s since been replaced by Beat Union sticksman Luke Johnson) and the scrapping of former recordings since work began on this album in 07.
There’s been no Bob Rock and Hawaii, as was the case with ‘Liberation…’, instead there were a series of sessions in California with John Feldmann (amongst others) of which guitarist Mike Lewis explained to Rock Sound in July: “We had a record and it was finished but we weren’t happy with it – not that it was shit, we just weren’t satisfied when we sat back and listened to it, it didn’t tick all the boxes for us.”
Well, it’s taken a few years to rediscover their sound and, making the brave move to fuck the big name producers (not literally, you understand) and take matters into their own hands, they returned to Wales to finally nail this beast. With the green, green grass of home (and the moss, rain, mist etc, no doubt!) providing inspiration and bassist Stuart Richardson at the production helm, ‘The Betrayed’ is finally here.
There’s no denying the fact that this is an album that’s clearly divided, with the ‘typical’ ‘Prophets anthemic sing-alongs that’ll please the aficionados (‘It’s Not The End Of The World, But I Can See It From Here’), but there’s an obvious shift towards the more sinister side – it appears that when frontman Ian Watkins promised us a “darker sound”, way back in issue 104, he wasn’t kidding. With a gritty edge and a raw, angry guitar tone, ‘The Betrayed’ is possibly the band’s bravest move yet. ‘Next Stop Atro City’ clearly displays guitarist Mike Lewis’ hardcore roots in the jagged riffery and harsh axework – which probably would’ve been nicely ironed out and made ‘radio-friendly’ or pop had the boys continued with their first draft recording.
There’s also a hint at the six-piece’s listening fodder in some of the tracks, with ‘For He’s a Jolly Good Felon’ reeking somewhat of Green Day, closer ‘The Light That Burns Twice As Bright’ verging on ‘Pretty Hate Machine’-era Nine Inch Nails territory in its moody execution and delivery, and – dare we say it – there’s a even a nod towards U2’s ‘With Or Without You’ in the album’s biggest song, ‘Where We Belong’, a title made even more poignant by the fact that had the boys not come home to Wales this album may not even have seen the light of day.
With no outside influences to force these leek-lovin’ lads’ song-writing hand, they’ve delivered an album that, although not as polished as previous efforts (but that’s part of the charm), is purely Lostprophets; and the real sound of progress, for sure.