lostprophets: Liberation Transmission
A brainwavez.org Music Review

United States of Americaby Jase Luttrell
Posted: 17 October 2006

In September of 2006 Jase Luttrell went to see the Welsh metal band lostprophets in concert. This isn't a review of the concert, because he spent too much time in the mosh pit. Later, he cleaned off the blood and sweat, and went home to write a review of the band's latest album, Liberation Transmission.

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lostprophets: Liberation TransmissionLiberation Transmission is an album that signifies a break from previous traditions established in thefakesoundofprogress (2001) and Start Something (2004). For the first time, lostprophets, hailing from Pontypridd, Wales, published the lyrics to its songs in the sleek album liner notes. In addition, the liner notes aren't littered with a collage of arbitrary photographs. Musically, the band departed from including its signature interludes and recorded jam sessions between songs, which were prevalent on the previous two albums. Despite these changes, Liberation Transmission is unified by a central theme of revolution, and maintains the band's musical and artistic integrity.

The album kicks off with heavy drumming and searing guitars, introducing this album as hard and "ready to go." The lyrics of "Everyday Combat", the lead track, are fast, but not difficult to understand. However, because of the line "dancing in the dmz", I did have to look up "dmz" on the Internet, because I had no idea what this was. In this song the band sends out its recognition to its early days playing the toilet circuit of the London area. "Everyday Combat" is, for me, a song about breaking out of the ordinary routine. This theme is pervasive and evolves throughout the album.

The final portion of "Everyday Combat" may seem repetitive but the constant shouting/screaming of the line "don't think you're safe 'cause it's not over" is only repetitive if you are not really interested in the song. I have no problem with this repetition, because I really like the song, and I like how some members of the band shout the line while you can distinctly hear lead singer and lostprophets founder Ian Watkins singing the line.

"A Town Called Hypocrisy" is a catchy song, slightly slower than "Everyday Combat" and far more melodic. My favourite part is the background "la la" in the pre-chorus. The guitar work is melodically rolling during the instrumentals but is strongly rhythmic during the verses and chorus. The line "there's no pride to be found when you follow sheep around" continues the theme of forward thinking and elimination of monotonous routine.

The listener is also treated to a groove session halfway through the song where the drums play, the background vocal "la la" is sung, and a distorted electric guitar plays on the off beats. This is a quick, fun jam session the band proffers, and hopefully extends during a live show.

"The New Transmission" speeds the album back up (though "A Town Called Hypocrisy" is not at all slow). The new transmission lostprophets is sending out is to eliminate the routine of our lives, to establish ourselves as individuals, and to avoid the institutionalisations of society. Approximately halfway through the song the drums stop playing and we hear the seriousness of the dramatic piano played by keyboardist Jamie Oliver, which fortifies this new transmission as being revolutionary thinking but also sincere to the band's ideology.

"Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast)", the first single that was released from Liberation Transmission in June 2006, is the most melodic song on the album. It is far more serious and is the slowest (though not that slow) on the album. The line "when our time is up, when our lives are done, will we say we've had our fun?" stresses the importance of defining oneself as an individual, and to declare this to the world: "standing on the rooftops everybody scream your heart out". The final third of the song is repetitive as the same chorus lines are sung over and over too many times, but it is still beautiful and even people who aren't fond of the genre or familiar with the band should take note because of its message.

The fifth track, "Can't Stop, Gotta Date With Hate", changes the album's direction to one of relationships, with subtle overtones of the aforementioned theme. The rhythmic sixteenth note piano fill used during the verses is interesting to listen to, but the most artistic keyboard instrumentation comes from the rolling arpeggios of pizzicato string sounds during the second verse. Lyrically, the song is not memorable. Melodically, the song is catchy and memorable, but the best part of the song is its musicality - it is immensely, albeit subtly, creative and innovative.

"Can't Catch Tomorrow (Good Shoes Won't Save You This Time)" is comparable to "Everyday Combat" in tempo, and also with the use of the backing vocals, which the band collectively sings as "do do do dit" repeatedly. During these parts of the song (the intro, mainly), the musical construction is creative and driving as the bass line ascends and descends loudly to accentuate the changes in chord progressions.

"Can't Catch Tomorrow (Good Shoes Won't Save You This Time)" has a very strong, almost rockabilly beat to it that is distinctive and driving, with a straightforward, pulsing eighth-note bass line. In the final chorus, Ian Watkins sings about changing your hair and clothes and how it may look great, but it doesn't change the individual underneath, in an effort to put forth the message that change, which is necessary according to the band, is far more than skin deep.

The second half of Liberation Transmission begins with "Everybody's Screaming!!!", which blatantly challenges authority, institutions, and those against the revolution lostprophets puts forth. A telling lyrical example is: "I'm sick of working a week for people I cannot stand, I'm sick of holding it in, the action's in the palm of my hand". This is far more than a typical defiant metal song because of its melodic structure, the band singing call back to Ian Watkin's lyrics, and the subtle soaring synthesizer elements.

"Broken Hearts, Torn Up Letters And The Story Of A Lonely Girl" departs from the revolutionary theme slightly to offer advice on love. It is a great song with a strong melody, but doesn't quite fit the theme of the rest of the album, unless one interprets the meaning of the line "you'll regret it all living behind your wall" as a warning to anyone who doesn't make the change towards individuality Liberation Transmission stresses.

The most heartbreaking and difficult song to listen to on the album is track nine, "4:am Forever". It is an evocative song about the loss of a very close friend. Lyrically, it is the first time the band blatantly attempts to rhyme its lyrics, but the effort is by no means contrived.

The song makes its way through the Five Stages of Grief: 1. Denial - "Why can't you hear me when I'm calling out to you"; 2. Anger - the distortion-laden chorus; 3. Bargaining - "yesterday I wanted time to end" and "I wonder if my heart will ever mend"; 4. Depression - in the bridge, the line "I wish the sun would never come" and "it's 4:AM and I'm alone"; and finally, 5. Acceptance - the repetitious, final "goodbye, goodbye, goodbye". This really is an amazing array of emotions to span in a 4:27 minute song, and proves that the members of the band are not only good musicians, they can artfully write a masterpiece.

"For All These Times Kid, For All These Times" picks up on the acceptance of "4:AM Forever", and is easily interpreted as a song of recognition and determination to "make it past this one". In the last half of the song the band again breaks into a brief jam session, in which the drums play and the entire band sings the chorus, which is hopefully extended during a live show as well.

"Heaven For The Weather, Hell For The Company" opens up with a synthesized introduction, which evokes the previous album, Start Something. This song is a darker sounding song than any other on the disc, and predominantly features the synthesizers and Ian Watkin's vocal percussion abilities. The song is a strong rock song, but the lyrics are not memorable, and the melody changes so often that it is not instantly accessible like some of the other tracks.

A far departure from "Heaven For The Weather, Hell For The Company" is "Always All Ways (Apologies, Glances, and Messed Up Chances)". This song is strongly melodic and features slight harmonic vocals, and is the most mainstream-accessible of any song on the album. I would not be surprised if this is released as a single to help propel the album's slumping sales record.

Despite the sales record, this is a really great album, and establishes lostprophets as a group of gifted musicians and songwriters who have created an album unified by a central theme, one that is very important and pertinent to the social conditions of today. I only wish the band had included the artistic musical interludes prevalent on its previous albums; though they are wholly unnecessary, they are fun to listen to. Perhaps the next album will include them but, until then, listeners will be easily contented by Liberation Transmission and what it has to offer.

brainwavez.org Opinion
Rating: 9/10
Key Facts (Review Copy)
Artist: lostprophets
Title: Liberation Transmission (Audio CD)
Label: Sony BMG
Release Date: 27 June 2006
Genre: Metal

Track Listing:
1. Everyday Combat ... 05:11
2. A Town Called Hypocrisy ... 03:39
3. The New Transmission ... 03:33
4. Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast) ... 04:11
5. Can't Stop, Gotta Date With Hate ... 03:42
6. Can't Catch Tomorrow (Good Shoes Won't Save You This Time) ... 03:36
7. Everybody's Screaming!!! ... 03:52
8. Broken Hearts, Torn Up Letters And The Story Of A Lonely Girl ... 04:04
9. 4:am Forever ... 04:27
10. For All These Times Kid, For All These Times ... 03:54
11. Heaven For The Weather, Hell For The Company ... 04:13
12. Always All Ways (Apologies, Glances & Messed Up Chances) ... 04:25

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