Prologues - Peaceruiner”
Listen to and download the EP here.
Three years ago, two kids from Torrington, Connecticut left a music project called Aske to pursue musical endeavors outside of the internet world. Brandon Antoniak and Tyler Maldonado would start a new project under the moniker Farewell Lodge, which, with help from Cheem guitarist Skye Holden, released Owls in the Bookshelf. This album showed a lot of potential, but their sound was still underdeveloped at this point. Over the course of the next year, the two would rebrand themselves Prologues and bring on ANLMA guitarist Antonio d’Aquino and former Aske mastermind Tyler Toombs to help with the guitar work on their far more dynamic sophomore EP, Absence of Distance. While their sound was still undergoing some growing pains, it was hard not to admire its raw emotion and the band’s obvious work ethic. Now, a year since Absence, Prologues are the most prepared they have ever been as a band with new recruit and permanent guitarist Zack Santiago on board and the heaviest sound they've ever had on Peaceruiner.
The only proper way to describe Prologues’ sound on this EP is completely and relentlessly fucking angry. This EP runs six tracks in about 17 minutes, and from the moment “Dead Guilt” kicks in, I felt as if I was up against a wall with vocalist Tyler Maldonado screaming in my face, and it doesn’t stop until the EP reaches its conclusion. This is easily the best guitar work the group has ever had, meaty and packed with enough dissonant chord progressions and breakdowns to make any fan of metalcore want to mosh hard to tracks like “In Vain” (formerly “To Lose What’s In Vain”) and the title-track. I also love the eerie introduction to “Trenches” that leads into one of the fiercest sounding songs on the entire EP, with a breakdown that really left me stunned.
Since their inception, Brandon Antoniak has proved himself to be quite the drummer, and his work here demonstrates another leap in quality. He really shows off on “Arrows,” where he guides slow, heavy breakdowns into super fast, intense patterns in a matter of seconds, while sounding relatively consistent. The slow, heavy drumming that goes on throughout the title-track is also completely blood-pumping before it hits that super sick breakdown. The chemistry between the instrumental players on this EP is so much stronger than it was previously - you can hear the two playing off each other on tracks like “In Vain” with the fluidity of a much more experienced band.
Then, of course, there are vocals. I’ve been watching Tyler grow as a vocalist for over six years, but the difference between Peaceruiner and Absence of Distance is serious. Despite exerting more control over his tone than before, he’s found a way to communicate even more emotion, partly thanks to lyrical content that’s dropped a lot of the obscurity for a torrent of disdain toward unappreciative, manipulative people, leading to impressive gems like “We turn our backs on peace / We turn it all away for nothing” and “Worship the worthless arrogance / burden our souls.” The delivery, across the board, is superb.
The anger Prologues tap into on this EP is overwhelming, but it does come at a price. Peaceruiner may be a concentrated blast of relentless anger for its runtime, but that’s about it--there are no twist, turns, or detours from their mission to pummel you senseless. You can say that’s smart for the band as they get use to their new, full lineup, but it can be tiring--case in point, “Vacant,” a four-minute track that doesn’t really differentiate itself from the rest of the album. Because of the record’s relative lack of variety, by the time the title track comes on, it doesn’t feel like a climax so much as just the last song. When the band first premiered “Peace Ruiner,” I thought it was pretty sick, but after hearing the rest of the EP, and especially after tracks like “Dead Guilt” and “Trenches” that I absolutely adore, it’s lost its effect on me.
Overall, Prologues have released an EP that finally sounds like a complete band with a sound they can call their own, and the difference between it and all their other stuff is very apparent. If you’re into Zao, Cursed, and early Norma Jean, there is no reason you should sleep on this EP. It’s only 17 minutes, and the guys of Prologues have a lot more heart than most of the signed bands in their genre.
- Alex Brown