Back Pocket Prophet (BPP to fans) hail from Oxfordshire, UK and trace their roots back to 2007. Following the Dead Men Walking ep, the band released their first full length in 2011, 1:4, and followed that up with tours throughout the UK, Switzerland and Germany. As many bands endure, BPP has faced numerous challenges through lineup changes and are coming off an extended hiatus to release To Overcome.
To Overcome is like taking a step back in time. From the somewhat muddled opening riffs of “I’m Still Here”, it sounds to me as if the album was recorded more along the lines of a demo and quite a while ago. The sound just feels old, hard to explain. Dan Random’s vocals are mixed a bit loud overall in the mix and from lyrical content to delivery, this album has that dated feel to it. Reminds me of some of the lesser-known bands on the classic Tooth & Nail samplers Helpless Amongst Friends.
“Renewed Heart” starts out with fast-paced guitar riff that I would have liked to have seen continue throughout the song but the band changes things up a bit for the verse sections. This song is nearly two minutes shorter than the opening track and seems a bit more focused. The album features several tracks over 5 minutes long and those seem to struggle for direction and I think would work better if shorter as there is enough ferocity in the performances to make short songs work.
The band goes in a bit of different direction for “Demons Within”, alternating from slower, sometimes quiet, sometimes plodding verse sections to some staccato riffs and shouting sections where Dan Random’s voice really sounds strained. This song too has an extended thrash-like instrumental section in the middle that seems to go on a bit too long until Gabriel Cade takes over on guitar to lead it into a slightly different direction but really just another extended, repetitive instrumental section.
“Moment of Clarity” opens up with birds chirping and church bells ringing and one of the coolest riffs on the album that shifts into a galloping pace for the verse sections with Dan Random’s gravelly shouted vocals sounding as if they’ve found their mark. While eclipsing the 6 minute mark, this song has the direction the previous ones lacked and also has a couple nice guitar solos from Gabriel Cade near the middle and end that work well within the framework of the song. “Pain and Suffering” and I’m Strong revert continue with the same formula as the earlier tracks but do feature some good guitar solos to keep things interesting as does the closing 8 minute track “Never Alone”.
To my ears, To Overcome never really seemed to hit its stride and move beyond the feel of a demo recording. There are some stellar riffs and guitar work on the album and the pace generally leans toward the thrashier side of things, but the song structure and production leave the listener expectantly awaiting for a final version to be released.
Written by John Jackson
1. I’m Still Here
2. Renewed Heart
3. Demons Within
4. Moment of Clarity
5. Pain and Suffering
6. I’m Strong
7. Never Alone – Feat. Key Fairclough
Dan Random – Vocals
Vic Barton – Bass, vocals
Gabriel Cade – Guitars
Joakim Sehlstedt – Drums
Release Date: Oct 12th. 2018
Record Label: Independent
Video for ‘Renewed Heart’