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4.29 | 4 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2012


1. Inceptum (1:28)
2. Catalyst (4:52)
3. Cynic Dreams (7:06)
4. The Chosen Ones (6:15)
5. Illuminatum (2:27)
6. My Own Deception (8:13)
7. Into Oblivion (5:02)
8. Impetus (1:35)
9. Gravity Well (7:11)
10. The Ageless Heart Of Memory (6:54)
11. Exiled (4:58)
12. Communion (5:18)

Total Time: 61:19


- Vince Levalois / Vocals, Guitar
- Kragen Lum / Guitar
- Kirk Scherer / Bass
- Pat Magrath / Drums

About this release

Label: Nightmare Records
Release Date: September 11, 2012

Produced entirely by the band and mixed by Neil Kernon.
Cover art by Travis Smith.

Thanks to Stooge for the addition and adg211288 for the updates


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Catalyst is the long awaited third full-length album release from US progressive thrash metal act Prototype. Their last album was Continuum in 2006. Unlike many other bands who fall off the radar for a few years Prototype amazingly return with pretty much the same line-up intact with the re-addition of drummer Pat Magrath who had a one song guest slot on Continuum and had been a member of the band between 1997 – 2002, meaning Catalyst is a full return to the line-up that recorded the 2004 debut Trinity.

Since they’ve been absent from the scene for all those years it didn’t surprise me that I personally hadn’t encountered the music of Prototype before Catalyst. While normally included under the umbrella of progressive metal Prototype have produced an album in Catalyst that is clearly progressively driven but also has much in common with thrash metal and melodic heavy metal as it does traditional progressive metal. In some ways I think they are comparable to their label mates Teramaze. Both bands produce progressive thrash albums, but in some ways they are mirror images of each other. Teramaze being more thrash and Prototype being more progressive. While I imagine fans of either one will enjoy the other just as much at the very least any prog fans who found Teramaze not progressive enough will love Prototype (and likewise if thrash fans don’t find Prototype thrash enough they will love Teramaze).

But enough with comparisons and on to the album at hand. Prototype’s music is a riff driven form of progressive metal. The vocals are mostly performed cleanly and melodically albeit with a bit of a rough edge to them and with a few growled lines are thrown in here and there across the album. Unlike some other bands who include growling in a style that doesn’t use it by default the music doesn’t gain any sort of death or black metal elements because of it. Vince Levalois has the right sort of vocal style for the music but it’s the instrumentation I’m most impressed with. Mostly heavy and intricate the band also throws in light sections which add atmosphere to the compositions. True to their thrash aspect they manage to do atmospheric without resorting to keyboards, something they pull off well, along with seamless variation between melodic and aggressive sections.

Also being a concept album Catalyst has a good flow to it from track to track and sometimes it’s difficult to realise that one song is done and another has started. It’s a story and while following concept album stories has never been my personal forte I think it’s safe to say that Catalyst in particular is one of those concept albums where you’ll only get its full effect when taken as a whole. There is probably in all fairness nothing to stop one from enjoying Prototype’s songs individually, the longer ones at least as the album features many shorter tracks, but you don’t skip a chapter when you’re reading a book, so why do it with an album?

I’ve really enjoyed my experience with Catalyst. It’s consistent and well-played throughout and because of that even with a duration of over an hour I’m drawn into it by the time of the second track (the first being a shorter piece), Catalyst, and that’s me stuck until the album’s climax with Communion. I haven’t heard their prior work but if Catalyst is anything to go by Prototype have made an album to make the wait very much worth it.


(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven ( on 29/08/12)
If you like the music of Fates Warning or Psychotic Waltz, but feel that it lacks a thrashy 'bite', Catalyst from Los Angeles-based metal act Prototype may be right up your alley. Although I'm not yet familiar with the band's earlier material, this 2012 observation for Nightmare Records strikes me as an interesting and progressive take on the modern thrash metal genre. Catalyst does have a few noticeable setbacks, but the overall quality of the release makes this a very recommendable purchase for fans of thrash metal and progressive metal alike.

When it comes to tying Catalyst down to a single genre tag, it can get a bit challenging. Although I would label Prototype's music as progressive thrash metal if I were asked to describe it, the band bears no resemblance to contemporary acts like Meshuggah, and also sounds quite different from the progressive works of late eighties' Metallica. I get a bit of a nu-metal impression from Prototype's music, and a good portion of Catalyst sounds like a cross between Fates Warning, Disturbed, and Metallica - as a fan of all three of these bands, that's certainly not a bad thing at all, and I really dig the band's aggressive and modern thrash sound combined with a progressive attitude.

While a lot of the music here consists of fairly conventional riffs, abundant time changes and sections with clean guitars add a progressive vibe to the music. A lot of the lighter portions of the album have a jazzy edge (this can be heard in some killer tracks like "Communion", "Gravity Well", or "The Ageless Heart of Memory"), and this diversity adds a nice change of pace to Catalyst's otherwise standard modern thrash sound. It's during these sections that Catalyst really shines, and if I could make one suggestion to Prototype for future releases, it would be to actually expand a bit on the progressive side of their sound - parts of Catalyst do lack memorability, and I think even more variation could help make the album's hour-plus running time here seem a little less daunting.

Although Catalyst may have benefited from a slightly shorter running time, I think Prototype have still cooked up an impressive effort this time around. The band's very modern and progressive take on thrash metal is bound to have a wide appeal within the metal community at large, and it's this transcendent style that makes Catalyst an easy recommendation. While I can't comment on how this chalks up next to the band's prior offerings just yet, I can say that I'm impressed by this very solid and professional album.
Time Signature
The chosen ones...

Genre: melodic thrash metal with progressive tendencies

Having never heard prototype before, this is my acquaintance with the band, so I do not know what their previous releases sound like. The band is slated as a progressive metal band, and the music on "Catalyst" is definitely progressively oriented, but it strikes me as being more of a melodic power-thrash metal album than a vanilla progressive metal album.

Anyway, genres aside, "Catalyst" is definitely a very good album, I think, featuring catchy vocal melodies on top of aggressive and groovy guitar riffs. The progressive tendencies of Prototype are primarily reflected in dynamic song structures that juxtapose melodic clean-guitared sections and thrashy sections as well as changes in time signature - with some passages being odd-metered. The guitar leads are melodic and technically advanced, but, other than that, we are not dealing with technical thrash metal. Still, the songs on this album are sophisticated and could easily fit into a progressive metal-themed playlist featuring music from Dream theater, Fates Warning, Queensrÿche,, Psychotic Waltz and all those bands.

Vince Levalois' voice is slightly reminiscent of Chris Astley from Xentrix, but with a more melodic sensibility. The musicianship is top notch, and this is a band who really understand the power of melody and the power of the riff.

If you liked Terramaze's "Anhedonia", Anoxia's "A Lapdance for the Devil" or Charred Walls of the Damned's "Charred Walls of the Damned" as well as the two last Xentrix albums, then - if you do not mind this sort of music with a progressive twist - you are likely to enjoy Prototype's "Catalyst" as well.

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