Secrets of the Sky

To Sail Black Waters

Written by: MST on 26/02/2014 22:36:23

Blending multiple genres is always an interesting thing to do as it opens up many more opportunities for your music. It can be risky though, as it also adds many more different aspects that a musician needs to master. The American sextet Secrets of the Sky decided to go down that road with their 2013 debut album "To Sail Black Waters" on which the band play a mixture of blackened post-metal and doom metal, resulting in a very progressive selection of songs.

Heavy riffs with melodic leads interspersed between them, slowly pounding drums, soaring keyboards from time to time and a wide selection of vocal styles is what awaits as "Winter" opens the album as the first of four tracks on this 41-minute album. The atmosphere changes drastically as the album flows, from sections with menacing riffs accompanied by Garett Gazay's screams and growls to more optimistic moments where Gazay brings some impressive clean vocals to the table that in the calmer moments sound quite Katatonia-esque. This is especially the case in album highlight "Decline" which, at 13 minutes in length is the longest track on the record. The progressive nature of the music in general brings to mind bands like Opeth and Agalloch, especially in some of those moments of tranquility.

There are plenty of separate moments I could pull out to showcase the combined capabilities of Secrets of the Sky, but what I'm more interested in talking about is how it all just doesn't quite work out as intended. The album as a whole is underwhelming: I was unimpressed after a couple of listens and after going through it for the tenth time that hadn't changed. I've enjoyed it every time, mind you, but there was never really an urge to hear the album again. The album flows within itself decently, but there's no red thread outside of the individual tracks that combines a good beginning with some build-up and a great climax or anything of the sort. Of course it doesn't help that the ending to the album, the last part of the otherwise enjoyable track "Black Waters" is a long drawn-out section of weird effect-laden vocals that just make me wish the album would end.

To me, "To Sail Black Waters" is one of those albums that could have been really good, but the end result just disappoints. While half of the album is quite good, the other half is mostly forgettable. It goes without saying that Secrets of the Sky are a talented bunch of musicians and I'm sure they could eventually write a great album. This just isn't it.

Download: Decline, Black Waters
For The Fans Of: The Ocean, Isis, Opeth, Agalloch
Listen: Facebook

Release date: 04.10.2013
Kolony Records / Alive (Sure Shot)

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