The Smokin' Prophets

Well, it’s been a while since I first encountered The Smokin Prophets, maybe 7 years ago playing support at The Joiners to a band who’s name escapes me. And ever since I have followed their fortunes, albeit on the local scene from afar. When the band approached me to review their official debut LP “Deceived Diseased”. I thought it only right to do the honours. A band that ceased to exist as another act “The Liabilities” were formed, and then back again to their original guise. Ten songs are debuted here and it was worth the wait.

“You Better Run” opens the album with its throbbing bass intro before the guitar kicks in. A very slight Yank drawl in the vocal amid hints of a “hair metal” sound. There’s a clicky beat in the bridge while the vocal remains constant – a decent opener. “The Innocent” has a harder, chunkier feel with its thumping drums matched to some twisted guitar chords. The vocals are pure 100% “Dirty R ‘n R” but with a mid-80’s slant. Midpoint goes off on a tangent somewhat but returns with power. The noodly bridge has echoes of mid 80’s hair metal but thankfully that influence is brief!

On “Pumped Up” the sharp drumming nestles behind the noodly guitars in the intro before that strong direct vocal kicks in. There’s a confident swagger in Marty’s vocal delivery here, however, I find the chorus a tad self-indulgent; while there’s a strange growl towards the end. Certainly not a contender as a single (IMO) but worth its place in this collection. “Liability” sees yet more noodling on the intro with pacey drumming to match. Somewhat semi-autobiographical I’m guessing with an anthemic backing vocal. Again, I guess the tongue in cheek chorus is deliberate. More noodling and “woah’s” throughout on this humorous little number. I detect a slight nod to Billie Joe Armstrong, however, one could choose from half a dozen influences.

On “Gonna Make It” the guitars are scratchier but that staple laid-back vocal is ever present. A clarion call maybe to the “subject’s” detractors. The stretched chords and noodling in the bridge are a tad experimental and again the mid 80’s come to mind. After that, they take the overall sound up a layer where the chorus is repeated to the song’s conclusion. ‘Don’t Hold Back’ boasts more of a Classic Rock intro with added “wah wah” to the fore. There’s a real ‘Yank Rawk’ feel to the song and (again) more noodling! And; not unlike its predecessor it jumps a level at the end, noodling its way to its ending.

The Smokin' Prophets

“Longing for You” has a slower, low tempo feel – a ballad possibly or an ode to a lover/partner. Chiming guitars replace the all-out rockier feel, matched to heartfelt and honest storytelling lyrics. A simple bridge makes way for the bass and cymbal thrashing before the vocal kicks back in. ‘Do You Believe’ returns to the sound of most of the LP with chunkier, heavy guitars; yet more subtle this time. There are the obvious hair metal influences throughout but the ending is great.

“Lost Hope” is much dirtier and sleazier from the outset. The layered vocals are twisted for extra effect while the guitars are beefier throughout. The echoey vocal mid-song gives a different dimension and I’m reminded of Backyard Babies. “Trade the World” ends the album with its chiming guitar intro, mid-paced matched to a clear vocal. Those chimes are the main feature here while the bridge is much more structured – less experimental. The bass is virtually hidden in the background, while the ending is concise.

On the only occasion, I saw this band live I concluded that it was like watching Johnny Thunders fronting the Backyard Babies. Thankfully not much has changed. And while there are more than a handful of influences and genres that have been pilfered from, it remains a decent body of work and debut that has been a long time in the making. With a settled line-up and gigs to play, I see no reason why The Smokin Prophets cannot build on the momentum they have garnered here. By not nailing their flag to any single genre I feel they are all-encompassing and ‘everyone is welcome’! It remains to be seen how far they can go, but the early signs are good.

Line Up
Marty Mayhem – l.vox/guitar
Jayke Turl – bass/b. vox
Matt Bristow – guitars
Alex Williams – drums

Track Listing
You Better Run
The Innocent
Pumped Up
Gonna Make It
Don’t Hold Back
Longing For You
Do You Believe
Lost Hope
Trade The World


Review by Ross A. Ferrone.