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As Skies Divide – Declining the Abstract Award winner

As Skies Divide
Declining the Abstract
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 20 January 2021, 7:34 AM

From their Bandcamp page, “Declining the Abstract” expands the conceptual themes with an abstract, yet cohesive story. It is also the moment where the band not only refined their sound, but also their image to create something even more unique. The purpose of the album is to be more than music…it is also a journey. As far as I can tell, this is their sophomore release, and contains fourteen songs.

“The Creation of Everything and Nothing” leads off the album. It’s a short, under-two-minute mood setting instrumental. Eerie and ominous tones abound. “As the Planets Start to Shake” opens with clean lead guitars, leading to smooth and easy tones, with both clean and harsh vocals. They kind of remind me a bit of MECHINA. “A Catastrophic Rupture” begins with heavier tones and big guitar strikes. The clean vocals under a bed of heavy and aggressive guitars brings a glossy and effortless sound, but those big guitar strikes shake the very ground you walk on.

“Timeless Beasts” opens with a slower groove, and a note of Djent. The Progressive elements come through stronger here in this song, but the melodies are kept in the forefront. Clean and harsh vocals wrestle here like two seasoned animals in a cage match. “Empty Echoes” begins with a raging and hateful sound, fueled by harsh vocals and ultra-heavy guitars. But the cleans come in and wash everything away, if only for a moment. An eerie key sequence follows, with heavy thuds and some technical mastery displayed. “Rejecting the Truth” opens with ominous piano notes and some background ambiance. Clean vocals sooth you as the heaviness in the guitars develop. The instrumental passage is nicely done, and their high level of musicianship shows.

“Celestial Fabric” is a bit longer. So far this journey that they talk about is spot on. It begins with some easy on the ears tones, but the heavy guitars join in with bass and drums, pulverizing your ears with intense harsh vocal passages. Smooth sax notes round out the edges, ending on a soft key passage. “Traversing with the Energy” is another short instrumental, connecting the album tracks with some heavy atmosphere. “In Search of the Astral Plane” begins with some charming melodies. The clean vocals are as smooth as warm butter, and even the heavy accents brim with melodies. Keys in the background are the glue that holds it all together.

“The Elixir” begins with a slow and heavy groove. Those big guitar accents remain a staple on the album. The bass begins to stretch out a bit, as harsh vocals combine with cleans to create that yin and yang. “Reciprocal Space” begins with raging vocals and heavy guitar and bass work. It takes a slow pause around the half way mark, with pretty melodies under some weighted guitar notes. “The Inevitable” begins with a slow and melancholy groove, with vocals that are at first raging, and then lighten up a bit later on. The piano and lead guitar section is very well done. “Blackened Skies” closes the album. It features some light and airy passages, as well as some harsher ones, but they never lose sight of those glorious melodies.

Like MECHINA, the tale here seems space-themed to me. It is a journey to the outer areas of the universe, and one where you might not return from. The transitions in and out of the harsher and more charming passages are done with precision, and emotion. I have no idea how their previous album sounded, but this one is an undeniable winner. 14 tracks are a very ambitious undertaking for a band to make successfully. But you never grow tired of the album along the way. I would say that not only did the band succeed here with this concept album, but they succeeded way above the bar. This is an album to kick back, and just enjoy.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

1. The Creation of Everything and Nothing
2. As the Planets Start to Shake
3. A Catastrophic Rupture
4. Timeless Beasts
5. Empty Echoes
6. Rejecting the Truth
7. Celestial Fabric
8. Traversing with the Energy
9. In Search of the Astral Plane
10. The Elixir
11. Reciprocal Space
12. The Inevitable
13. Blackened Skies
14. The Destruction of Nothing and Everything
Victor Goch – Vocals
Peter Dömstedt – Bass
Marko Holmberg – Guitar
Tim Blom – Guitar
Felix Mårlid – Drums
Record Label: Violent Groove Records


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Edited 31 January 2023

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