The Best of Prophecy Fest: Antimatter
Now in its second year, Prophecy Fest — hosted by German melting pot label Prophecy Productions — takes place INSIDE OF A FUCKING CAVE.
If images flood your head of dust and mildew floating through the air amidst questionable body odors, bat shit, a poorly lit stage and cacophonous sound, you’re way off the mark: Prophecy Fest — located in the tiny, fairytale-like town of Balve in western Germany — was one of the most civilized metal gatherings I’ve ever attended. The cave, Balver Höhle, from which the remains of both proto-humans and wooly mammoths have been exhumed, is the immaculate metal venue; plenty of room for a full stage, merch, a bar and roughly 2,000 concertgoers, with moody lighting and immaculate sound. Combine that with Prophecy’s diverse roster of artists — flown in from as far away as Australia and Canada, and driven from right down the road — and a die-hard audience with an appreciation for eclectic music, and they’ve struck a winning tone for a festival that’s unlike any other.
I’ll be featuring five of my favorite bands from the festival in this space in the coming days. Read my brief thoughts, check out a tune, and get hip to what Prophecy Productions is doing; after 20 years they’re only just now hitting their stride with big things on the horizon.
View my full coverage of Prophecy Fest 2016 here.
Our musical past informs our musical present. With years upon years of listening firmly embedded in our grey matter, settling and growing more comfortable there with each passing year, they’re unshakeable parts of our being that influence our perceptions of everything we hear. The bands we listened to as teenagers hold extra weight on top of that.
I tell you this now because all I could think about during Antimatter’s set was Pink Floyd. Would any other person in the room watching a band with roots in the ’90s British doom scene — founding member Duncan Patterson formed the group in 1997 after several years in Anathema (though he departed in the mid ’00s) — and who bills themselves as “dark alternative rock” come away with the same conclusion? Would I have if I’d just listened to an album of theirs at home instead of becoming enveloped in their sonic waves live? I’m not certain, but to me it was as plain as day in that moment: complete, total Pink Floyd worship, in the best of ways.
To be clear, we’re talking straight forward, moody, guitar-driven mid-period Floyd here; no conceptual Roger Waters opuses, just pure Gilmourian bliss. Mick Moss’s voice is even reminiscent of Gilmour’s, smooth and sultry croon, although I kept waiting for the stage left guitarist — with apologies, I can’t find information about the band’s current lineup anywhere — to bust out a magnificent, rip-roaring solo, which he never did. Still, the set was incredibly engaging and tight, and a fine reminder of all the variety Prophecy’s roster offers.