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Sky Empire - The Dark Tower Award winner

Sky Empire
The Dark Tower
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 06 November 2018, 6:30 AM

SKY EMPIRE is a London based Progressive Metal band, releasing their debut album here titled “The Dark Tower,” which contains five tracks. Formed from the ashes of the Prog Metal band CORE PROJECT, their sound can be described as a combination of heavy rock bands like DEEP PURPLE, IRON MAIDEN, and RUSH, with a touch of the modern flair of DREAM THEATER and SYMPHONY X. Guitarist Lecutier is the band’s main songwriter.

“Marionette” is a short opening piece, at seven minutes in length. A dexterous riff comes slowly in…reminding me of the darker side of DREAM THEATER, with vocals a little closer to SYMPHONY X. Lecutier shows his prowess with an extended guitar solo that pretty much covers every note. From here, each of the remaining songs get progressively longer. “The Wind the Sand the Stars” clocks in at close to ten minutes. The Progressive elements are present from the start. It suffers just a bit in the mid-tempo blues…even amidst all of the strong Progressive markers, it makes the song a bit less exciting. The key and guitar solo change however adds some redemption…simply incredible.

“Champions of Light” comes in at over thirteen minutes. A heavy, slow riff provides the opening sequence, with guitar and bass playing in unison. With a bit of Bruce Dickinson in his voice, Ivanov belts out his vocals. The guitar and key solos are again just excellent, showcasing an absolutely amazing talent at their instruments. All the while, drummer Jalabert keeps the rhythms in check. “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is a twenty-one minute suite. It opens with a flurry of instrumental excitement, and then some somber piano and vocals. It’s an alluring passage that sets the tone. Lecutier’s solo is a highly emotional affair here, and then they tear it up, with an extended instrumental section. What a phenomenal song here. The trick is that you lose track of time as it moves along, lost in the chord progressions and outstanding musical abilities of the band.

“The Dark Tower” closes the album, at over twenty-seven minutes in length. A keyboard solo leads off the track, done with a thoughtful approach. From there it slowly builds, with fire and passion, as vocalist Ivanov stretches out to the higher ranges. It reaches out in all directions, exploring, while keeping the original sound in mind. Overall, this is about as ambitious as an album can get. DREAM THEATER and SEVENTH WONDER have nothing on this band. The musicianship is impeccable, and the songs are intelligent and complicated. What’s amazing is the amount if times that the band changes direction, while keeping the central tenants of the songs intact. And, the album gets better as it moves along, ending in an emotional display of talent that is unmatched out there. Bravo!

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Marionette
2. The Wind the Sand the Stars
3. Champions of Light
4. Sorcerer’s Apprentice
5. The Dark Tower
Lineup:
Drazic Lecutier – Guitars
Tom Hobson – Keyboards
Jordan Ivanov – Vocals
Remi Jalabert – Drums
Record Label: Rock Company NL
     


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