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Manchester groove metallers Prognosis have just dropped their debut record ‘Definition’ to rave reviews, with their refined sound of technical prog metal mixed with the heaviness of Carcass and Death.
We caught up with guitarist and vocalist Phil Weller to find out everything Prognosis, from how the band formed to what their plans are for the future.
FOR FANS OF:
Gojira / Mastodon / Dream Theater
‘Definition’ (2018) (Stream)
LATEST MUSIC VIDEO:
DECEMBER 01 – LIVERPOOL, The Zanzibar Club
DECEMBER 15 – SWANSEA, Crowleys Rock Bar
JANUARY 19 – SHEFFIELD, The Royal Standard
WHAT THE BAND SAY:
DP!: How would you describe yourselves to someone who has never heard Prognosis before?
Phil Weller: We’ve always defined ourselves as a progressive metal band, mainly because we love so much music and like to throw it all into one big melting pot, that it’s easier and more freeing to put ourselves under such a label. Metal Hammer recently described us as “a slew of prog, thrash and groove metal with a dash of metalcore” and someone in the Facebook comments questioned how such a mix of genres was possible. But, to us, that’s what we find exciting about the songs we write, we aren’t tied down to one particular corner of metal, we like to surprise and keep the listener on their toes. Expect meaty riffs, a blend of aggressive and clean vocals, complex instrumentals, lots of solos and plenty of big, accessible hooks.
Mastodon, Gojira, Dream Theater, Strapping Young Lad, Carcass, Death and Trivium are all bands that we’ve been compared to.
DP!: How did the band form?
Phil: I’d been friends with Christian for a while, we met through my brother and other mutual friends and we’d often hang out at his place. He’d always been this incredible guitarist who I looked up to a hell of a lot and then one day I’d come round with my guitar and showed him a song that I’d been working on (which would later become ‘Repentance’/’The Sycophant’), which was my first foray into playing about with time signatures and tension building. He liked the idea, started learning it and then before we knew it we were having fun writing songs together. It all stemmed from there really. When we needed a bassist Chris Appleton, who plays in a local metal band called Absolva (and now also with Blaze Bailey) recommended we got in touch with a guy called Danny who they’d just auditioned to be their bassist. We got on like a house on fire immediately and pushed on from there. Aaron’s only been in the band a little over a year now, and while a fair few of the songs on ‘Definition’ had already been written at that point, they properly felt finished until he put his spin on them and ramped up the tempo of every track. He’s a special talent – he’s completely nuts too – and I think the four of us bring a really cool mesh of styles and personalities to the table.
DP!: What plans do you have for the future?
Phil: Now that the album’s out, we want to play anywhere and everywhere across the UK that’ll have them. We want to smash every venue we can with our live show, promote the new material, spread the word about the band and really try to make an impact on everyone we play for with both our songs and how entertaining we are on stage.
Following on from that we want to be playing bigger and better shows, we want to get across to Europe and America, play more and more festivals and get on some support slots on tours with bands we admire.
We’ve already written a good handful of tracks for the next album and in the creative sense our focus for the future is building on the success of Definition and developing and evolving our sound into something that maintains what people and ourselves as a band dig about the record and take it further. We are always challenging ourselves creatively and this new material is definitely feeling like Prognosis 2.0. This is only just the beginning for us.
DP!: Which new bands are you listening to right now?
Phil: For me, I’m hooked on the new Black Peaks record. I’ve admired the band for years but this new record, ‘All That Divides’, is everything I love about them done better; the songs are so smartly written, the guitar work is exactly what I love in a guitarist, and Will Gardner’s vocals are inspiring me so, so much with our own new material.
Other new bands that are exciting me are Exploring Birdsong, who play beautiful piano-driven prog rock, Trigger Thumb, who are like a proggier System of A Down (they’re mental and I love it), and God Complex for your vile hardcore needs when you just want to listen to an angry bunch of blokes giving it some wellie.
Across the band there’s a lot of love for bands like Ramage Inc and Scare Tactics, 40,000 Leagues and Impavidus, we’ve gigged with all of those bands before and they never fail to impress us. Playing with other great bands is extremely inspiring and it really brings the best out of our own live performances as a result I feel.
DP!: Which bands do you aspire to and why?
Phil: I’ve always been a massive Muse fan, so I’ll always aspire to them. I’d kill for, one day, being able to have the same kind of budget and extravagance for a live show, I think we’d all love to be able to put on a massive spectacle like that. Matt Bellamy is also the reason I wanted to play guitar having watched the ‘Plug In Baby’ video on Kerrang! when I was about eight or nine years old.
Another band who have had an enormous impact on the band is Mastodon, for many reasons. Going back to when we first formed the band, after Christian and I had decided we were going to make a go of this and we found Danny and we had a drummer, we had always planned to bring in a vocalist. We wanted someone who could front the band and take care of that side of things as none of us could sing. But we felt the chemistry of a four piece was too good to mess with so, taking inspiration from Mastodon, we opted to go for it ourselves and even if the vocals weren’t amazing at least different voices could provide different textures and feelings to our sound. If you listen to early Mastodon, none of their vocal performances are particularly great, but look at them now! Songs like ‘Sultan’s Curse’ really show that development with each of the three vocalists offering their own uniqueness to the track and its different sections. Sooner or later Christian and Aaron – who does a mean Brian Johnson impression by the way – will start adding their voices into our songs and give us more to play with dynamically.
Then there’s Dream Theater, who are just ridiculous.
DP!: What’s the stand out moment in your career so far?
Phil: It’s so hard to pick out just one highlight. Playing Bloodstock last year was incredible, even though it flew by – and in fact winning the whole Metal 2 The Masses competition to get there, after everything we went through as a band to get to the festival was incredible. The competition made us grow so much as a band and it created a lot of learning curves for us. But Metal Hammer’s recent ‘Hot New Band’ article on us is a dream come true, a real bucket list thing for all of us. And the fact that they’re tipping us to be Britain’s answer to Mastodon and Gojira is serious, serious praise which is both incredible to get and also kind of terrifying. It puts a lot of hype on pressure on us now and we’re determined to make the most of that and prove Metal Hammer right. We want to make the most of all this good press we’re getting and really put ourselves at the forefront of new British metal, we’re confident in our music and we do think that the music we play strides a great balance between familiarity and freshness, we don’t wanna be one of those bands that falls by the wayside – we’re planning bigger and better things and like I said, this is just the beginning for Prognosis.
Prognosis‘s new album ‘Definition’ is out now and you can download it from iTunes here.
Features Editor for DEAD PRESS | Based in MK