Review Summary: A convincing and confident tour-de-force of addictive anthem-writing, propelled by something rebellious.
Shadowing Lostprophets is a tricky endeavour; sprinting away from the return-to-roots stylings of 2010's The Betrayed
, they find themselves back(?) in the domain of no-holds-barred anthemic rock. I query the notion of return because Weapons
is no Liberation Transmission
; we've abandoned the weak-willed side of songs like "4am Forever" for a new, overtly rebellious and big
declaration. As Ian Watkins announces on "Jesus Walks": "no matter what you do, you're gonna have to fight some day."
And so even though it eschews the accessibility of "Rooftops" and the nu-metal edge they toyed with reclaiming two years ago, Weapons
is, bizarrely, the first record you can (perhaps) say sounds like a Lostprophets album. The guitars crash from side to side and every song is packed full of adrenaline-fuelled angst, often softly political, and even as it lacks the roughness fans clamoured for last time out, it finds depth in its intricacies. It's gorgeously trapped in the way "A Little Reminder That I'll Never Forget" takes tiny cues from Coheed's Black Rainbow
electronics, and equally in the unadulterated sing-alongs.
And what's more endearing still is that a record devoid of real philosophy or poetic things to say grows into something to hold onto as a result of its own adamancy. Bolstered by the conviction with which the band deliver their steadfast fight-the-power
mentality, this straight-up rock approach feels somewhat comprehensive in a way that makes their previous material feel unimportant. Take, for example, "Better Off Dead"'s defiant call of "I'd rather die on my feet than ever live on my knees," delivered from a podium which deliberately separates itself from the almost-rap of the song's verses. It's so well-executed that the cries of artifice!
from various corners aren't even audible.
And if you press this all together with a production which surrounds and makes Watkins sound like part of some class-war whirlwind, what results is an album which weirdly defines Lostprophets in a way it's often been difficult to do. It's not that the Welsh rockers have ever blazed innovative trails, and it's certainly not that they do that here, but Weapons
feels so full, so intentional, that it's hard not to get dragged into the chorus of people that will doubtless lock arms to these songs live. That's where these songs belong, if we're honest, but they sound pretty damn energised here too - as long as you turn them up loud.