Of all the things to write songs about, Japanese entertainment properties rarely get mentioned, which is odd since so many have become iconic. Sure, Blue Oyster Cult took a stab at it in the '70s with "Godzilla" while the Flaming Lips gave a nod or more. But leave it to a band from Wales to add to the limited collection.
On their '01 release "Thefakesoundofprogress" the Lostprophets paid tribute to arcade game "Shinobi Vs. Dragon Ninja;" a great song driven by a pulsating guitar.
When Public Disturbance bit the dust Ian Watkins, then a drummer, and Mike Lewis decided to carry on. Lee Glaze and Mike Chiplin joined with Watkins moving to vocals.
Following a course taken by countless other bands, Lostprophets began recording and distributing demos while building a reputation as a live act. Then Stuart Richardson came onboard just prior to the group's signing with the indie Visible Noise label. '00's "Thefakesoundofprogress" was released in the U.K. and did well on the charts. With Jamie Oliver now in the fold, completing the group's sound, "Thefakesoundofprogress" was remixed and released in the U.S. the following year. The group toured opening for Linkin Park and the Deftones. Sophomore album "Start Something" arrived in '04. Less than a year later, Chiplin departed to "pursue other interests."
On '06 release, "Liberation Transmission," A Perfect Circle drummer, John Freese, was brought in and laid down his tracks in two days. For touring the group used Ilan Rubin.
"The Betrayed" and "Weapons" arrived in '10 and '12, respectively. Ironically, 'the betrayed' could have described the band after Watkins was arrested and charged with crimes against children - a charge Watkins "furiously denied."
With Watkins court date approaching, the Lostprophets announced on 01/10/13 that they were breaking up but left the door open to future ventures under a different name.
"After nearly a year of coming to terms with our heartache, we finally feel ready to announce publicly what we have thought privately for some time. We can no longer continue making or performing music as Lostprophets," stated a band post.
If there was ever an anticlimactic coda it was when Watkins pled guilty to a number of child sex offences approximately a month after the group disbanded.
2004 Start Something
2006 Liberation Transmission
2010 The Betrayed
Lostprophets are often compared to Linkin Park and other Nu Metal groups. That's generally on target. On "Thefakesoundofprogress," Lostprophets have an alienation/angst laden lyrical style. "There's nothing left in my heart" from "Five Is A Four Letter Word" is typical. Yet they are also able to sling their tongue firmly in their cheek on the aforementioned "Shinobi Vs. Dragon Ninja." Lostprophets also ply the common "unadorned verse/roaring chorus" technique. However, their verses are not throw-a-ways and actually have a melodic turn to them that gets a hold of the listener and doesn't let go.
With titles "We Still Kill The Old Way," "To Hell We Ride" and "Burn, Burn" it isn't hard to deduce Lostprophets' lyrical viewpoint on "Start Something." The LP features smack-down chords alternating with tight, compact riffs. The three songs listed above Rock hard. Other highlights include "A Million Miles" with Watkins' breathy reading and impressive backing vocals. The title track is a heavy ominous Rocker while "I Don't Know" is a sparse song, with a solid melody, leaning toward pop accessibility. That tendency was extended to Lostprophets' next effort.
"Liberation Transmission" is not nearly as dense as its predecessors nor are Watkins' angst drenched vocals as harsh. "Standing on the rooftops, everybody scream you heart out" from "Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast)" and "there's destiny when everyone is an enemy" on "A Lonely Girl" along with songs "Everyday Combat," "Can't Stop, Gotta Date With Hate" and "Heaven For The Weather, Hell For The Company" show the lostprophets still have their edge. But they insert a lighter touch here and there. "Everybody's Screaming" has "whoa, whoa, whoa" backing vocals. This juxtaposition of serious and silly actually works and is reminiscent of the group's earlier jabs.