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Last Prophecy - Shadows of the Past

Last Prophecy
Shadows of the Past
by Mark Machlay at 12 January 2021, 6:46 AM

The NWOBHM of the 80s ran out of fashion pretty quickly with the wave of grunge in the early 90s but many bands clung on to the sound they were so enamored with and LAST PROPHECY was one of those many. The French group was formed in 1992 but the history of the band is long and has many gaps of inactivity between them. They started with a demo in 1993, lost and gained a drummer, then released their debut full-length “Shadows of the Past” in 1995. That same year they lost guitarist Denis Yan for personal reasons, gained Alain Blazej on guitar the next year, toured for two more years, lost founding members guitarist Philippe Bertozzi and singer Luke Bernard in 1998, and brought in friend of the band Giles Piton on vocals with the teenaged guitarist Yann Klimezyk joining 6 months later. Back up to a quintet, the group recorded another 3-song demo in 1999, but it would short-lived with both Piton and young Klimezyk leaving only a few months later. The band would go through a couple more second guitarists until they found Lorenzo Rinaldi and founding singer Luke Bernard returned for the recording of aptly titled “Destination Unknown” in 2005.

LAST PROPHECY have not put out any new material since that 2005 album and seemingly have been battling a problem that cripples many bands after a certain period: band member turnover. For now they are re-releasing their debut full-length “Shadows of the Past” alongside a bonus disk that includes their 1993 demo as well as a pair of live tracks from their mid-90s heyday. According to the liner notes of the re-release, the band is currently seeking a vocalist and are on their eighth guitarist in Nelson Maia with bassist Stephane Sauvage being the soul original member left. Despite the circumstances they have had many opportunities to play live in the recent years and seem confident in the writing of new material for an album eventually, over a decade and a half after their previous release. Re-releasing their debut on Stormspell Records – famous for digging up forgotten gems from the past and delivering them in a polished, shining package – this seems to be their first step in trying to re-establish themselves in the metal world.

From the beginning, it’s hard to ignore how much LAST PROPHECY borrows from the great NWOBHM band IRON MAIDEN. The opening song “Rising from the Ashes” even begins with a bass intro that sets a perfect MAIDEN vibe. They even come right out and say it with a near perfect rendition of “Fear of Dark” but play it too safe, without the scorching, biting vocals of the original. Luke Bernard sure has the range and style of Bruce Dickinson but not his swagger or grit. If this album had been released maybe 5-6 years earlier than it was originally it might have gotten a decent amount of attention, but then and especially now, they’re merely a MAIDEN clone but at least a decent one. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference production-wise between the album and the demo tracks. All the studio tracks suffer from poor dynamics - everything being compressed to hell – but at least the production is clean and clear, you can make out all the instruments. They’ve got that “Up the Irons” attitude but it’s a bit old hat at this point and it just didn’t grab me as much as I wanted from the cover album art.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Rising From the Ashes
2. Sarkhandu
3. Out of Shadows
4. Lost in Space
5. Brain Damage
6. The Dark Half
7. Fallen Heroes
8. Fear of the Dark (IRON MAIDEN cover)
9. Forbidden Dreams
10. The Prince of Evil
Philippe Bertozzi – Guitars
Denis Yan – Guitars
Stephane Sauvage – Bass
Nicolas Braun – Drums
Luke Bernard – Vocals
Record Label: Stormspell Records


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