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Skyryder – Vol 2 Award winner

Vol 2
by Rachel Montgomery at 03 April 2020, 8:41 AM

SKYRIDER hails from the influence of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWBHM), citing influences like AMULET, WYTCH HAZEL and SEVEN SISTERS. Formed in 2016 from all over England, but based in the Northeast, the band began as a project according to guitarist Adam Thorpe, in which their “Vol 1” EP was just supposed to be a one-off release. “However”, he explained, “upon completion \[of “Vol 1”], the story just didn’t feel finished”. Hence, the release of the second EP, aptly titled “Vol 2”, a collection of five songs that showcase the nostalgia of NWBHM and combine it with the intensity and production quality that can be achieved today.

“Virtual Humanity” opens with a beautiful guitar lick overlaid with harmonies. As the howling guitar sneaks its way in, eventually forming the main riff, the harmonies intensify. The intro is so rich with notations and flourishes that I can’t even know where to begin. Thus, when it settles into a typical traditional metal ballad for the first part of the verse, it’s anything but, thanks to the strong, intricate instrumentals holding up the song. Everything about this song is intense: the sweeps, the vocal reaches, nothing is half-assed.

The middle three tracks are also solid. The highlight track on the album has to be “Dead City”. The song begins with a high-pitched intense guitar lick and carries on like a single from a rock album gone by. Everything about this song screams high energy, from the intense ballad-lyrics to the climbing guitar sweeps introducing the solo. Another notable song, “Mistress Of Darkness” is one of those fake-out songs that makes the listener believe it’s the slow track. The beginning chords creep through the song for a while until the fast guitars squeal in with a galloping riff. From there, the song is another high-octane treat that fans can get behind. The third track, “Midnight Rider” was also a solid song, with a distinct JUDAS PRIEST feel. The way the guitar solo bursts into the song is distinctive.

The closer, “Take The Night” roars in with some gallops that burst into sweeps in the intro. The selection thus leaves us with the most intense song, vocally and instrumentally. However, it leaves something to be desired. While all these tracks are good, they all have the same feeling or distinct tone. After the first couple songs, with a few exceptions in each song, they all begin to sound the same. Despite that, though, all of these songs are well-produced, beautifully executed, and intense.

Overall, the songs on this EP are great. They showcase traditional rock with intensity and clarity that really hones the nostalgia while using contemporary production to up the power. This band is worth a listen for anyone who enjoys intense, old-school power metal with good quality production.

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

5 Star Rating

1. Virtual Humanity
2. Dead City
3. Midnight Ryder
4. Mistress Of Darkness
5. Take The Night
Luke Mils - Vocals
Adam Thorpe - Guitars
Jonny Stern - Guitars
Luke Williams - Bass
Andy Macknight - Drums
Record Label: High Roller Records


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