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Skyborne Reveries - Utterly Away Award winner

Skyborne Reveries
Utterly Away
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 14 September 2020, 3:05 AM

SKYBORNE REVERIES is an Atmospheric Black Metal band based out of Australia. Lone member Nathan Churches handles all the duties here. "Utterly Away" is a concept album inspired by the poetry of Matsuo Basho. Each song focuses on a different one of Basho’s poems, evoking themes of mournful nostalgia and the idea that beauty can be found even in the mundane, everyday world around you. The album is black metal first and foremost, but draws on a wide array of influences from synth ambience and doom metal to take the listener on a journey through nature and memory. “Ikameshiki” opens the album. A vocal shriek can be heard in your bones. The melody develops in the guitars. A secondary melody then develops later in the song, and those atmospheric elements abound.

“The Moon Viewers” opens with spacy keys…the chirping crickets remind you of being outside in the dark, staring at the skies. You feel at peace. It slowly builds with different programming elements, but it makes you feel calm, and full of curiosity. “The Windy Moors of Memory” is a seven-minute song, opening with stalwart tones and a sense of the grandeur. From there, a slow moving groove develops, complete with charming programming and vile vocals. A sense of depression takes hold. The key interlude is quite pretty. The guitar solo is perfectly matched with the melody line, and then clean vocals come in to wash over the anger.

“Snowy Morrow” opens with what reminds me of Eastern elements. The main riff drops and it becomes a melancholy affair. It creates a longing…something you can feel in your soul. The interlude leading to the half-way mark is again done with great beauty. The clean vocals are a nice change of pace, but even when the harsh vocals return, the melody stays fresh. “Utter Away” opens with some darker tones, that turn hopeful at times, then back to the shadows. The album has a way of working with these competing elements so well. It stays here with the sound throughout the song…a very charming change of pace.

“Our Tendrilled Life” hits you square in the jaw from the opening notes. It’s raging, and intense, but not without those moments of melody. The vocals are harsh and the song drips with melancholy, but they keep the melody alive among the darkness. Just after the half-way mark, it slows to a Doomy feeling, with low vocal utterances. The contrast is quite stark. “Visiting Graves” is just under nine-minutes in length. It opens slowly, and when the main riff drops, it straddles that line between hope and despair so well. Twin lead guitars carry much of the melody from there. It changes key when the harsh vocals come into play, but those twin guitar melodies shine into the heavens.

“Wandering over Withered Fields” closes the album, at just under ten-minutes in length. About a minute in, the main riff hits. It’s fast, and somewhat aggressive, but the lead guitar provides that much needed melody line. The vocals rage behind the bed of guitars, that make odd but pleasing progressions throughout the song. It takes an instrumental pause just after the half-way mark, then returns with a commanding presence. Another key changes comes along with double kick drum to take the song to completion.

Wow, what an album! Nathan sure had a vision that he saw through to completion here. I am not familiar with Matsuo Basho’s poetry, but what can be described as above is sure to have been proven true on the album. It does indeed take you on a journey through nature and memory, but also creates some new moments of discovery and joy. What he probably does best, is makes that sense of two juxtaposed elements come together in synergy and spring to life in front of your face. He also has a mastery of melody, and chord progressions. This is surely an album that you don’t want to miss.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Ikameshiki
2. The Moon Viewers
3. The Windy Moors of Memory
4. Snowy Morrow
5. Utterly Away
6. Our Tendrilled Life
7. Visiting Graves
8. Wandering over Withered Fields
Nathan Churches – Vocals, All Instruments, Programming
Record Label: Naturmacht Productions


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Edited 01 October 2020

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