Release Date: Jun 19, 2012
Record label: Fearless Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Post-Grunge
The Zapata quote "I'd rather die on my feet than ever live on my knees" is reproduced in large type in the CD booklet of Lostprophets' fifth album, probably because it mirrors their own vision of themselves as rock'n'roll freedom fighters. It's an aggrandised self-image for a Welsh sextet whose mainstream rock is always listenable, yet rarely unique (has any band ever been described as "Lostprophetsesque"?), but they play these songs with passion and swagger, and do what they feel is right. In the case of Better Off Dead, that includes rapping about the state of the nation ("The picket lines and signs, the closed-down schools," sputters singer Ian Watkins, who may not have flow, but sounds as if he cares deeply).
The fifth studio outing from Welsh rockers Lostprophets strikes a nice balance between the metallic fury and desperation of their 2001 debut, Fake Sound of Progress, and the slicker, more commercial sound of 2009's Betrayed. Typically polished and predictably apocalyptic, Weapons works best when it's firing on all cylinders. Tracks like "We Bring an Arsenal" and "Better Off Dead," the latter of which suggests an industrial, chrome-drunk take on the dystopian Godfathers classic "Birth, School, Work, Death," bristle with electro-metal goodness, fusing Muse's libertine enthusiasm with Green Day's flair for rousing suburban angst.
Review Summary: A convincing and confident tour-de-force of addictive anthem-writing, propelled by something rebellious. Shadowing Lostprophets is a tricky endeavour; sprinting away from the return-to-roots stylings of 2010's The Betrayed, they find themselves back(?) in the domain of no-holds-barred anthemic rock. I query the notion of return because Weapons is no Liberation Transmission; we've abandoned the weak-willed side of songs like "4am Forever" for a new, overtly rebellious and big declaration.
Nu-metal vets Lostprophets stated that their aim with ‘Weapons’ was to essentially re-energise the rock charts. Typical, then, that they started a pissing contest only to release a predictably uninspiring album. Their fifth studio release opens with single ‘Bring ’Em Down’, which has an egregiously over-familiar tone: “[i]You ain’t the first to come and try/Won’t be the last to say goodbye[/i]”.
With more than a decade of recording under their belts, Welsh-based Lostprophets have carved out their own niche in the legion of hard rock bands. They found some success in the middle of the last decade with singles “Last Train Home” and “Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast)” and hung around long enough to put out their fifth studio album, Weapons. With this new release, the sextet forgoes expanding any of their musical boundaries and instead focuses on what has worked in the past.
Welsh-Anglo rock sextet returns with a purposeful fifth album. Ian Winwood 2012 John Lydon knew better than most of what he spoke when in 1986, with all the emotional flexibility of a Dalek, he asserted that "anger is an energy". He might well have added that there are other forms of resentment and discontent that burn with a phosphorescence sufficient to fuel a band’s entire career.
With Weapons, the fifth full-length of Lostprophets’ 15-year career, the Welsh sextet show glimpses of the anthemic greatness displayed on 2006’s Liberation Transmission and absent from much of 2010’s The Betrayed. This time out, they make an effort to push electronic elements to the foreground of their straight-ahead rock; in the process, they don't blow anyone’s perceptions out of the water. But big choruses, bigger production and the sun-drenched feel of many of the tracks will make for good listening as summer draws near.
Any good marketeer would advise releasing your strongest material as a lead single but the Pontypridd sextet’s opener ‘Bring ‘Em Down’ is the sound of a band on autopilot with some Enter Shikari style electronic beats thrown in for good measure. Elsewhere ‘A Song For Where I’m From’ revisits the theme of small town living explored previously in the catchy ‘Streets Of Nowhere’. This time it’s altogether less successful, a bloated cobweb of cliches symptomatic of the creative stagnancy that plagues much of this release.