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Grey Skies Fallen - Cold Dead Lands Award winner

Grey Skies Fallen
Cold Dead Lands
by Eric Poulin at 09 January 2020, 6:16 AM

GREY SKIES FALLEN is a melodic death / progressive metal project out of New York, New York in the United States, formed back in 1997 (at the time they were known as EVE OF MOURNING. This is their upcoming 5th full-length release entitled “Cold Dead Lands” that will be released independently on January 23rd 2020. The mastering and mixing was handled by the legendary Dan Swanö. It was recorded at Audio Playground studios.

I have been following since approximately 2002 when they had released the album “Tomorrows’ in Doubt” and what captivated me about that record was how their sound was taken straight out of the ever-popular Swedish melodic death realm, yet also had a distinct approach in it being also very progressive. So here we are 18 years later as I get the opportunity to review their first album in 6 years. The album has some very lengthy tracks this time around, being over 53 minutes, spanned over 6 songs; there is a lot to digest and go through here. The opener “Visions from the Last Sunset” starts off with some very dirty doom-laden riffing that draws comparisons to PALLBEARER or PARADISE LOST. Around the 2-minute mark we hear the trademark clean vocals of Rick Habeeb, always filled with emotion and passion. A shout-out to some very cool vocal harmonies as well, that are similar to the ones heard in ISOLE. I have always felt that the vocal style in this band would have been perfect in a Viking metal project. While the song may not the most energetic or fastest, it does have a lot of layers of melodies that makes for a great opening track.

The title track “Cold Dead Lands” is a bit lower in tone than the preceding song which does have a MY DYING BRIDE vibe to it. Even though I would prefer not to be too repetitive, a strong point here are the clean vocals that pierce through everything. The death vocals obviously add sheer aggression to the song and they are surprisingly very clear and easy to understand. The transitions are also done flawlessly from heavy/epic guitar riffs and powerful bass lines to almost complete silence and anticipation. “Procession to the Tombs” as the title would suggest has a great Egyptian-inspired musical portion to it, the opening riffs here are among the absolute best on the entire album, very catchy and crunchy. That combined with the angst-filled death vocals are absolutely perfect. I highly recommend listening to this track. This is a tone-downed version of NILE, combined with the heavier aspects of OPETH.

“Picking Up the Pieces” has a bit of an IRON MAIDEN flavor in the early moments (yes the dual guitar harmonies of course !). This by far is the catchiest song in terms of melodies and ironically has the greatest nods to pure old school death metal as well. What this band has always excelled at is combining violence with the sweetest and most memorable melodic notes. The closer “After the Summer Comes the Fall” is yet another pounding piece of melodic death/doom joy, it has the heaviness you want, as well as heart-filled lyrics. I have run out of words to express how each song just does an amazing job in its delivery. This is an absolute masterpiece of metal that needs to be heard and discovered in 2020. I guarantee you this album will be in many top 20's, 50's at the end of the year. It has so many influences varying from early OPETH to NEVERMORE and even DISMEMBER, yet these gentlemen have crafted their own style and sound that will please fans of many genres.

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

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Visions from the Last Sunset
2. Cold Dead Lands
3. Procession to the Tombs
4. Picking Up the Pieces
5. Ways of the World
6. After the Summer Comes the Fall
Lineup:
Rick Habeeb - Vocals, Guitars
Sal Gregory - Drums
Tom Anderer - Bass
Record Label: Xanthos Music
     


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