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Skyblood - Skyblood

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 13 December 2019, 7:04 AM

After recording more than 50 albums in the last 30 years, Mats Leven is one of today's most sought after vocalists in the Hard Rock/Metal world. He’s recorded with Yngwie Malmsteem, Ozzy Osbourne, Gus G., and a slew of other projects. Since 2016, he’s been a touring staple with the juggernaut known as TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTA. 2019 marks his 30th year in the industry, and the release of a solo album titled “Skybood,” which contains nine tracks. I unfortunately could not find any information on who else recorded on the album.

“Skyblood Manifesto” leads off the album, with ominous symphonic tones, seguing into “The Voice.” I can see why Mats is a heavily sought after singer. He has a natural singing ability and excellent voice control. The harmonized parts sound best, in my opinion. When he reaches the upper ranges, he develops a snarl that is outstanding. “The Not Forgotten” is a slower moving track. It lacks a little in the “punch” area due to the riff being fairly simple, but Mats’ singing is excellent. “Wake up to the Truth” is a mid-tempo song which features keys and guitars in equal amounts. Again, it’s the vocal harmonies that stand out here. There is also a dark energy present but it never really gets off the ground.

“Once Invisible” opens with some symphonic elements and piano notes. It suffers from the mid-tempo blues. Mats’ voice is mostly in the lower ranges here and the music leaves a lot to be desired. “One Eye for an Eye” opens with keys and clean guitars, along with some light symphonic elements. I really don’t care for Mats’ vocals when they are in the low range. He sounds a lot better in the upper ranges. There just doesn’t sound like a whole lot of attention was paid to the music. Vocals can only carry a band so far. “Out of the Hollow” opens with some solemn keys, symphonic elements and acoustic guitar. It’s the pacing here that I have the most problem with. Too many mid-tempo songs.

“For or Against” opens with alluring piano notes and noticeable bass guitar. Unfortunately, it is yet another mid-tempo song that really doesn’t offer much. “Le Venimeux” closes the album, and is a ten minute beast. It opens with solemn piano notes and a slow cadence. It slowly begins to pick up a bit, and builds in a nice crescendo. Mats obviously has a great voice, but that’s the beginning and end of the album. The music was all quite flat…very few peaks and very little emotions expressed, besides his vocal peaks here and there. This was another dark album that fell capture to what I call the “mid-tempo” blues.

Songwriting: 3
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 3
Production: 8

2 Star Rating

1. Skyblood Manifesto
2. The Voice
3. The Not Forgotten
4. Wake up to the Truth
5. Once Invisible
6. One Eye for an Eye
7. Out of the Hollow
8. For or Against
9. Le Venimeux
Mats Leven - Vocals
Record Label: Napalm Records


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