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Great Leap Skyward - Map Of Broken Dreams Award winner

Great Leap Skyward
Map Of Broken Dreams
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 26 July 2018, 7:36 AM

GREAT LEAP SKYWARD originally formed under the name KNIGHTMARE, in Australia, and are best described as Progressive Cinematic Metal, though they draw from varied influences and have been described as an act that defies any immediate classification. As far as I can tell, “Map of Broken Dreams” is their debut album, set for release in August of 2018, and contains eight tracks.

The title track leads off the album. The opening tones are hushed and suspenseful. A murky heaviness builds, drops with the entrance of ethereal clean vocals, and then returns. The rhythm is like a marching army of the undead, sure to reach their destination. A little DREAM THEATER influence here, but definitely in their darker and more mischievous work. “I am the Black Matriarch” is an eight minute behemoth. Opening with hearty galloping drumming and riffing, the vocals are clean but in the higher ranges have a raspy edge. After beating you senseless for some moments, they rest in an ambient passage that is somber and alluring. The instrumentation and musicianship is super tight, and emotional peaks make an impact with the addition of harsh vocals. The keep on that great melody line throughout all of the Progressive shifts that occur along the way.

“Singularity” is little shorter and opens cautiously with the feeling that something lurks behind you. When the harsh vocals come in, it is all hands on deck in a furious but beautiful sound that shoots for the stars above. Clouds roll in a bit later and threatening skies begin to fill with thunder as a darker element encroaches. “Kindred” is next. Like the rising of flowers and warmth of that first spring day following an intense winter, it rouses your senses with its tender charm. Though it strengthens heartily soon after, the melody stays at the forefront while the pulverizing music courses through your body. Allen proves quite beastly behind the kit here, rattling out a bevy of heat pounding beats while holding the meter to a preciseness as the band shifts and explores in different methods. “Junkyard Planet” has a chaotic opening with vocals hitting in the high rage and Allen threatening to lose any parts of the kit that aren’t bolted down, but there are dreamy passages here that just hold the suspense long enough between the heavier ones to keep you uncomfortable.

“Nuclear Winter” is over nine minutes in length. It has an elegant opening sound that transforms from a sheep to a wolf with the addition of raging harsh vocals and reflective of the bleakness of the song title. The starkness continues through shifting passages and never lose their intense grip on you. “Sepulcral y Sin Nombre” enters with a samba type rhythm and a South American sound from acoustical guitars that shifts quickly into an intense and substantial sound that is rich in texture. The cello passage was unexpected but circling back to the opening sound a bit it somehow makes sense sonically. The vocal harmonies are great here as well.

“Black Sea of Trees” is the closing sound. Those bass drum strikes continue to come at you like bullet from an assault rifle while the opening vocals are both clean and harsh, alternating in bars. Cello and bass then perform an interlude with legato melodies and a feeling that you were just time warped somewhere without your knowledge. Back to the darkened sound, the meter shifts as it rolls to completion, with clean harmony passages and devastating harsh vocals that are like the last gasps of air from a dying tortured man.

In my OCD need to align sounds with genres, I ultimately acquiesced here that it wasn’t fitting into any one sub-genre of Metal. Under the larger umbrella of “Progressive Music,” it fits there, but that falls short of labeling what is a very strong album with a lot of diversity in the music. Some central themes throughout is surely the impeccable musicianship of each member, and not being afraid to experiment along the way. This takes the songs to different places that you might not normally expect. If you like heavy Progressive music, chocked with harmonies and melodies, as well as various vocal offerings, this is a very fresh and original offering in the genre.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Great Leap Skyward
2. I am the Black Matriarch
3. Singularity
4. Kindred
5. Junkyard Planet
6. Nuclear Winter
7. Sepulcral y Sin Nombre
8. Black Sea of Trees
Lineup:
Luke Besley – Guitars/Vocals/Cello/Synths
James Munro – Guitars
Matt McConaghy – Bass
Dave Allen – Drums
Record Label: Metalapolis Records
     


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