Soul-searching progressive death metal from Sweden, avoiding reliance for its primary communication on established death metal standards, rather using the tools of its genre trade in the manner which progressive rock bands use 'rock' elements. The result is death metal as if played by a 1970s progressive rock band. The psychedelic atmosphere and the cosmic and sometimes spiral melodies reminiscent of space rock give this music a strange character not typically associated with death metal. The compositions are quite involved; not to the extent that it is 'complex', but rather, like the best of 'experimental' music, its many sections are organized in a fashion that suggests haphazardness, or jam-room randomness passed off as 'improvisational', yet intentionally resolves itself in aesthetically logical and pleasing conclusions. Though the music contains identifiable elements of early 1990s Swedish death metal, particularly the guitar melodies and leads, not to mention the Sunlight Studio production, which peculiarly merge the dark and the translucent, this band's adventurousness separated it from its contemporaries of the time (1992), most of whom were hoping to cash in on the success of Entombed and other forerunners of the Swedish scene. Prodigal Sun sounds like nothing else that was being produced in Sweden at the time of its release, but it's the music's substance that allows this freshness its validity.
"Now... stop looking to the skies
no entity of light will help you
now... who created who?
Did man create god?"
The music is performed with an abundance of energy and skill, and this combined with the intelligence of structural design, especially the awareness of mood dynamic, makes this an exciting listen. The death metal growls are a bit goofy, which, at least for the first few listens, leaves the listener with the impression that this might have been more effective as an instrumental work, but in the context of the busy music with its and rapidly shifting in quick transitions, gives the band's sound an aura of madness, a lunacy that interestingly contrasts with the keen awareness of the music and its thematic presentation, exploring the self and its relation to a bizarre world and its destruction by its own inhabitants, a lost humanity falling into error of environmental destruction and technological obsession as it desperately and therefore thoughtlessly tries to make sense of its existence. The superficial uniformity of society, which unifies itself only through and for appearance, rather than for the purposes of logicality and harmony, is often contrasted by the band with pagan mythology, spirituality, and appreciation of nature, not so much for rebellion's sake, but as a way to express through comparison the difference between its effects. Each song-as-journey ends only when all possible and adequate explorations and their elaborations have been exhausted to the degree required for each track to properly represent itself, resulting in engaging songs, which, however, are always legitimized because of the band's talent for interesting melodies and the eccentric atmosphere, which seems like a natural result of the combined elements rather than an intention of its creators. The production might be a tad muddy for music this involved, but the clarity of the guitars, always a staple of Sunlight Studios, brings out the sometimes weird yet mostly charming riffs and cosmic melodies.
"The home of life
will seal his doom..."
The vocals are the weakest part of this album, but after a few listens this is hardly recognized, because the musical journey is, much like the journey of life, interesting enough to keep one from ending it because of one slight annoyance, which is quickly and easily overcome. It's inspired music, that in turn inspires its audience by its will to self-discovery and creation. The music rises and sets with the sun, eschewing the obscurity of night and the hollowness of midday. Its spirit is that of the dawn and early evening, as the rising and setting sun commenting on the events to come and those that have passed. Chaotic, overflowing with inspiration and surge, vision, imagination, exploding with creativity and power. Somehow this gifted band managed to become lost in the sea of Swedish death metal bands of the time, but they had a lot more to say, and much fresher and more interesting ways to say it, than most of their regional competition.