Country: Malta
Title: Banished from Death
Label: Independent
Year: 2017
Style: Doom Black Metal

Martin Ciappara is back with the fifth full-length album of his long-lasting (11 years and counting) one man band Prayer of the Dying, at a 4 years distance from the previous studio effort. This copy I've got here I think is intended for finding a suitable label to release it in professional format later on, as it's a Pro CDR seemingly limited to only 150 copies. Banished from Death features 13 tracks and clocks a bit over an hour of playing time. As always Martin brings forth some really interesting ideas, a mix between traditional Doom, Melancholic Rock Metal, Epic Metal and Black Metal, an experimental music that will make you replay a few of the tracks inhere for sure. The main problem in my opinion is the thin production especially on the vocal segment; the main vocals are a bit annoying, Black Metal shrieks that sound forced and chocking most of the time, not menacing, not evil, not dark, but on the other hand the occasional supporting clean vocals seem to be amazing, too bad one can barely hear them in the mix, they sound Ghost-like, really solemn and majestic. In my opinion Martin would do this project a lot of good by losing the shrieks and focusing on the clean vocals, although the project would lose some force, it doesn't sound too aggressive now anyways. The Doom Metal-influenced melodies constructed here are probably the highlight of this album, the guitar part is really fantastic most of the time mixing epic Doom leads and riffs with freezing Black Metal riffs, expressive and catchy, building some memorable moments; there's plenty of potential in PotD, maybe more than Martin imagines... I just wish Martin would get rid of the shrieks or find a proper vocalist for them, and focus on his excellent guitar harmonies and clean vocals.
Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 7/10