Epic Speed Metal from Germany
I first found Final Prophecy close to 10 years ago and I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me. I was just browsing YouTube like I normally did back then trying to find cool new releases when I happened to stumble across a lone Final Prophecy track – “Golgotha (Pray for Forgiveness)”. I was hit immediately with in-your-face speed metal riffs, vocals laden with the trademark Teutonic grit, complex song structures, and big choruses. Where the hell did this little demo come from? I needed more. Now.
I scoured every resource I could possibly come up with at the time to no avail. After weeks of on-off treasure hunting, I finally found a contact who could rip the tape for me. I spent so much time and energy hunting for Beyond Reality that my expectations were astronomic. All this effort for what is essentially a forgotten 25 minute demo – could it really be worth all that at this point? I could only hope the rest of this release was anywhere close to the quality of “Golgotha (Pray for Forgiveness)”.
Beyond Reality kicks off with a slow riff that is driven heavily by pounding drums and accented with a synth, a highly unusual but welcome addition that appears throughout the release. After about a minute of build up, Stefan Kaiser’s vocals come in and it quickly becomes apparent that this is not your typical demo. Kaiser delivers an impassioned yell filled with tremendous aggression and tenacity, setting the tone for the remainder of the demo. His rasp and vocal approach is reminiscent of fellow German Rolf Kasparek, the main driving force behind the legendary Running Wild. Given the sound that Final Prophecy go for, the vocals fit in perfectly like a missing puzzle piece.
Despite playing a power/speed hybrid common at the time in Germany with peers such as Running Wild, Helloween, Airwolf, and Rage among others, Final Prophecy are entirely unlike the rest of the field. While landmark German speed metal releases of the time, such as Walls of Jericho, favored a more straightforward approach, Beyond Reality takes a different road. The songs found here are more complex in nature and longer with “Into the Unknown” clocking in at just under 9 minutes. The riffs are fast, heavy, and varied with strong lead guitars and Kaiser’s scowl driving them forward. The resulting sound is something of a cross between Helstar’s Nosferatu and Helloween’s Walls of Jericho in spirit, yet entirely unique on its own.
The production of the demo is as expected for an independent band in 1988 – lo-fi. With that said however, the mix is actually remarkably well done. Kaiser’s vocals are clear and presented front in center along with the guitars. The bass and drums are audible and mixed in a way to highlight them without specifically overshadowing the fantastic leads and vocals. The end result is a production that although poor, demonstrates the musical prowess that Final Prophecy undoubtedly possessed.
I was so floored after hearing the full Beyond Reality demo that I had to have more. I kept looking and asking around for anything that sounded like this release, but my efforts were fruitless. Final Prophecy’s lone demo remains as nothing but a peculiar little slice of German metal history – a shining example of what could have been. Despite the band’s unfortunate status, this demo is undoubtedly worth pursuing. All that effort I put into hunting this one down almost a decade ago was worth it. Beyond Reality has captivated me for all these years and is still a mainstay in my listening rotation.
Favorite Track: Oppression
Album Rating: 93/100