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Skyliner - Outsiders Award winner

Skyliner
Outsiders
by Daniel Fox at 20 March 2014, 5:59 PM

To be in a band remotely related to the realms of Progressive and Power, is to be an immensely accomplished instrumentalist in your own right. However, it is all too easy for entire bands to be lost in the sea of generic driven mass, regardless of the title of 'progressive', swamped in unusual and atonal melodic progressions and multi-rhythmic drumming. Sometimes even the lyrics can become a drawl; who wants to hear about the same knight fighting the same dragon across 10 different bands? This is where Floridians SKYLINER come into play, ablaze with fresh ideologies, tried-and-true Power Metal establishments with Progressive embellishments, and very real lyrical philosophies.

The intro track blew me away with its eerie soundscape and powerful vocal delivery, not unlike a cross between VOLBEAT's Michael Poulsen and ex-ICED EARTH vocalist Matthew Barlow. Pulling no punches is "Symphony in Black" delivering a speedy and uplifting cascade of riffs steeped in creative melodies. Jake delivers a unique vocal effort, sticking to an aggressive Heavy Metal approach with unusual, yet catchy inflections in his melodies. "Forever Young" is a powerful track that hits home with passages evolving in both speed and technicality, with abrupt crescendos marked by drastic blast-offs in tempo; an incredibly solid track with creative drumming and even more diverse vocal performances.

I would devote a significant portion of my writing towards the epic "Worlds of Conflict", wherein the lads "pulled a DREAM THEATER" and wrote an enormous, 21-minute track. Rarely does one hear something of such epic proportions. Never stale, it seamlessly weaves in and out of passages of their own individuality that coalesce into powerful crescendos, or on the other hand may diverge into various sentient soundscapes. The bass work in this track is thoroughly impressive, going past a meat-and-potatoes approach to offer an astounding array of dynamics to add to a track that would ordinarily require a great amount of fleshing-out. I stress, this is not something you would chuck on to fit the mood. Absorb it, and embrace it.

Individually, the tracks are excellent. The 21 minute monster is at a masterpiece level, I cannot get enough of it. If I had a single qualm it would be that each of the tracks are 'too' different from the next, that the album feels more like a collection of works as opposed to, well, an 'album'. But then, I could be wrong; I could be too used to listening to 2-hour, drawlish concept albums. It is my belief that the end product was their 100% intention. They have done this right.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Signals
2. Symphony in Black
3. Undying Wings
4. Forever Young
5. Aria of the Waters
6. The Human Residue
7. Dawn of the Dead
8. The Alchemist
9. Worlds of Conflict
Lineup:
Jake Becker – Guitars, Vocals
Ben Brenner – Drums, Percussion
Nathaniel Curtis – Bass, Backing Vocals
Record Label: Limb Music
     


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