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Music Life: Gathering of prophets

ULSTER'S metal music followers are destined to find their salvation - in the company of lostprophets tonight.

ULSTER'S metal music followers are destined to find their salvation - in the company of lostprophets tonight.

For this Welsh-born six-piece have become one of the biggest breakthrough heavy rock act of recent times, with their bone-crunching twin-guitared nu metal sound.

The band first emerged from the ashes of teenage group, Public Disturbance in 1997, in the mining community town of Pontyrpridd - famous for being the birthplace of Tom Jones!

Their first demo attracted the attention of metal magazine, Kerrang!, which promptly offered them their first significant live appearance, outside Wales.

From that gig showcase came the offer of a recording deal with independent label, Visible Noise, and the release of a demo they had made in their basement at home, for the cut-price sum of £4,000.

That 'demo' recording became their first album, thefakesoundofprogress, which went gold in the UK, and shifted more than 100,000 copies, in the notoriously hard to crack US market.

The group - Ian Watkins (vocals), Mike Lewis (guitar), Lee Gaze (guitar), Stuart Richardson (bass), Mike Chiplin (drums) and Jamie Oliver (turntables and keyboards) - offer up a more accessible form of nu metal.

The pseudo rapping and hi-tech sheen of their sound removes them from the more boorish, traditional aspects of heavy rock.

But, to some, their sound is rather sanitised and ironically, outdated in the post-Linkin Park climate.

Accused of apeing the vocal inflections of Faith No More mainman, Mike Patton in his early days, and that group's trailblazing rap-meets-rock, lostprophets have come in for a fair amount of stick from certain critical quarters.

But their sustained success, even reputedly outselling the much more heavily-hyped The Darkness in the US, outmanoeuvres the lostprophets' begrudgers.

Current album, Say Something, has sold over one million copies worldwide, and has provided them with four consecutive UK Top 20 singles, including the Kerrang! Best Single Award with Last Train Home.

A fifth and final single from the set, Goodbye Tonight, underlines their crossover credentials, where Kerrang!, NME and Radio One fraternities all voice their approval.

lostprophets end their 12-date British Isles tour, with a gig at the Ulster Hall, Belfast, tonight. Tickets, £18 (ground floor) and £19 (balcony) are available from Ticketmaster outlets, and at the venue on the night.

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