Our lives are characterized by a series of snapshot events. We are transient beings that are comprised of a series of fleeting moments, far-fetched dreams, and vast idealizations. In the cosmic scheme of things, we’re merely temporary special specks that exit life as soon as we enter it. We, therefore, try to capture and document each moment in a photograph in an attempt to create a visual preservation of a memory and pass down its story to future generations. In a sense, we actualize the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” every time we press the shutter button on a camera. Sadly, photographs get lost, burned, thrown away, or faded beyond recognition, thereby burying its associated memory and message in the ever-erasing passage of time. With over 7 billion people on the planet, it’s easy to become a forgotten memory or a faded photograph, lost in the sands of time. But, a few images are so powerful that they stand as an ever-lasting tribute, and The Prestige has risen to this stature. Their sophomore release, Amer, casts a vibrant image that will outlast the turning of time with every searing riff and bitter verse.
Kicking off the album is the title track, “Amer”, a dark, eerie track that will instantly grip your ears and send chills down your spine. Blistering, eerie riffs that seethe bitterness greet your ears as rising industrial-esque instrumental effects rumble forth and plunder your ears with the might of a hellish stampede before flourishing into a ravaging intertwined display of headbang-inducing punctuality and hair-raising riffage. Drummer Thibaut Cavelier lightly wraps pounding, intense percussive elements around the swirling storm of instrumentation as vocalist Alex Diaz’s raw screams tear at your ears with a bitter, melancholic urgency. The clustering storm of skin-shredding instrumentation dissipates into the familiar eerie introductory riff before carrying over into the next aurally seductive track, “Bête Noire.” Menacing riffs, harsh screams, and driving percussion descend upon your ears like vultures to a carcass as they viciously tear at your ears. Guitarists Alex and Raphael’s excellent display of skin-shredding, heavy riffage is fast met by spastic squeals and haunting melodic overlays that soar and hover overtop the torrent of face-melting instrumentation. Lurking beneath these high-flying instrumentals is bassist Julien’s brooding bass riffs and licks that steadily groove with a bitter, chilling tonality. Drummer Thibaut Cavelier wields a powerful combination of excellent cymbal play, quick footwork, and fantastic rolls and solos for an overall insanity-inducing percussive display that will make you question the number of arms he truly has. Intermittent interludes in the form of spastic, energetic arias and quick licks burst and bloom over powerful, heavy riffs to give the track a chaotic depth to the already unnerving, bone-tingling instrumentation and musicality as it gradually settles and fades into an amalgamation of squealing instrumentals that, in turn, dissolve into silence.
Although every track on this album can be considered a stand-out track, “Léger De Main” is absolutely deserving of an honorable mention. A deep, venomous riff stealthily paces back and forth through your ears as infectious, echoed melodic notes and overlays grow increasingly haunting with each suspenseful rise and retreat. Alex opens with spine-chilling, sinister clean vocals that gradually escalate to his raw style of bristling mid screams. The eerie instrumentals, following parallel to Alex’s vocal display, also gradually rise, building in intensity with every passing second. Raphael and Alex’s haunting licks eventually give way to anxiety-inducing dark riffs and Julien’s brooding undertones which swiftly take command and steadily encroach on your ears like a panther stalking its prey. Cavelier follows suit, gradually introducing light percussive elements that steadily turn to ominous pounding that is sure to incite heart-palpitations with each suspenseful kick and hit. The instrumentals as a unit masterfully continue this seizing, heart-attack-inducing, suspenseful aural stalking before suddenly launching a blazing attack of maddening pull-riffs, grooving bass, driving percussion, and ear-splitting screams for a cumulatively blood-curdling tonality that will destroy you as it rips your ears and your sanity to shreds.
The album closes with “Cri De Coeur”, a track that oozes bitter resentment in every jarring piece of instrumentation. Sliding, enticing pull-riffs and bitter, raw mid screams instantly hit your ears with the intensity of a passing freight train. Pick slides and slightly discordant melodic overlays abound this track and nip at your ears as they soar over Julien’s spiteful bass lines and Cavelier’s aptly crafted, relentless percussion. Alex and Raphael frequently break the flood of heavy riffage with a masterful blend of ambient, haunting overlays, melodic arias, and flying sustained notes before melting back into the emotive, bone-crunching instrumentals. Cavelier unleashes his technical prowess in a series of mind-blowing drum rolls and solos that pierce your ears with the ravaging intensity of bullets from a firing squad. A grooving interlude built upon steadily rumbling bass lines and melodic, chilling arias, and eerie backing “ah’s” echo behind Alex’s urgent mid screams comes to a grinding halt for a haunting pairing of desperate screams and a faded piano medley that will make your hair stand on end. This jarringly eerie, emotive instrumental break sweeps back into one last wave of raging, ferociously bitter instrumentation, thereby leaving you aurally ravaged and bereft of breath long after the music has ceased to play.
Overall, The Prestige has created one of the most timeless and intense hardcore albums to date. The amount of musicianship and energy that poured into each meticulously crafted track is absolutely astounding and sets the bar at a new level that most other hardcore bands will never quite reach. Every bitter riff and verse is not without purpose or precision. Amer is more than an album and more than a snapshot- it’s a story with an image that burns so vividly and vibrantly that it takes on an everlasting form. If a picture is truly worth a thousand words, The Prestige’s Ameris the story of a lifetime. (Katt Hass)
For Fans Of: Deafheaven, Every Time I Die, Touche Amore