Guiding Lights

Written by: MN on 30/12/2014 19:55:49

As a frame of reference, one could divide the value of metal music in all its shades into low culture and high culture, keeping in mind their subsequent connotations. Low culture metal is the "fastfood", the easily digestable, the popular, the simple and the typical. Not necessarily a negative thing, bands like Motörhead, Slayer, Korn and Chimaira all inhabit my characterization of low-culture, something that doesn't strive to break the already severely stretched boundaries in what can be performed within metal. That being said, I love these bands for their contributions, but it is bands like Skyharbor, a "high" cultural experience of progressive newer bands that capture my undivided attention. The strive to mould a sound that remains sledgehammer heavy, melodious and most importantly, to send the listener through a spiritual experience through composition in its most cutting edge format. Band's like Skyharbor, Periphery and The Contortionist are all contributors to what I consider a renaissance within the metal genre. I am, of course hugely biased as this is by far one of my favourite genres, namely "djent" infused progressive metal.

Skyharbor is a band that includes members from both Mumbai and Dehli in India, but also the now permanent American member, namely Daniel Tompkins, who was immortalized for his contributions in Tesseract's debut record "One". Skyharbor's first record "Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos" was critically acclaimed for its technical prowess, brutality and consistency throughout. Somewhat incredible, Tompkins outperformed his vocal abilities in Tesseract and continues to do so in "Guiding Lights", an exceptional record which easily features as one of the best records of 2014.

From the bass-infused intricacies of opener "Allure", to the ultra heavy and standout track "Evolution", the "Guiding Lights" is Skyharbor with tightened knobs and an even more crisp production. The guitar work on "New Devil" is astounding, while Tompkins vocals are tested to the limits with great success. There are, however, occasions on the record where one's attention drifts abit, for example in the mammoth track "Idle Minds" and in the namesake track "Guiding Lights", although the latter proves to be one of the best tracks, so patience must be deployed. It is a record best experienced in its entirety, as the songs flow seamlessly into each other and together produce a process that retains undeniable potency.

Skyharbor's success lies within the details and the dense layers of sound, the djent crunch combined with soaring clean vocals and an omnipresent bass line that just marinades the entire production with consistent flavour. Truly a record to pick up if your into "Djenty" prog metal.


Download: Allure, Evolution, Guiding Lights
For The Fans Of: Tesseract, Monuments, Disperse

Release date 10.11.2014
Basick Records

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