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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Skyward

Skyward

Review by Gary Hill

While not everything here is metal, I'd consider this outfit to be a metal band. They make great use of dual male and female voices. The music generally runs along a territory that's bordered on one side by European epic metal and on the other by nu-metal. That said, it breaks out of that zone at times, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Daily

Moody and trippy, this is very much a psychedelic kind of piece. Overall it probably lands in the neighborhood of modern atmospheric prog. When it rocks out that's even more apparent. The mix of male and female vocals works very well on this.

Casualty
Much harder rocking, this lands in the general territory of European epic metal. I dig this one a lot. It's screaming hot for sure.
The Floor
Although there are some prog metal elements here, this is very much more of a mainstream metal tune. It's modern, and the dropped back section is a cool melodic twist.
Animal
A bit mellower cut, this one definitely has more of that modern electronic prog vibe. There are certainly elements of the epic metal sound, too. The cut makes good use of both the male and female voices.
Stand-Ins
Other than the dropped back section, this is very much a modern metal tune. It's quite mainstream. That short mellow section actually leans toward pure pop music. This is an effective number for sure.
Burn
Now, this one definitely has a lot of that epic metal vibe. It's a hot tune with great coordination between the male and female vocals. It's one of my favorites here. It just works so well.
Now
More of a mainstream rocker, this still has enough metal in it to land the cut there. It's more of a raunch and roll rocker in some ways. Yet there are some modern edges to it, too.
Crows and Wolves
This is a dynamic piece. The balance between harder edged and mellower is dramatic. It's one of the most complex things here. Yet, the metal edge is undeniable. This is more of a progressive metal piece than it is anything else, really. I think it's almost my favorite tune on the disc.
(M)arrow

The female vocals start this song in a mellower motif that's more in line with modern pop music. The male vocals join in the more sedate arrangement, bringing an almost soulful edge. In some ways this cut makes me think of something Lana Lane might do. It does get a bit of a modern metal edge to it in some ways. Other than the first cut, this is the most "different" thing here. It's also a real standout.

Giving Tree
This is a killer modern metal tune. It's part nu-metal, part epic metal and all cool. It makes good use of mellower and more rocking stuff. It also has a powerful group vocal anthemic segment later.
Drag Me Through
Not a big change or anything out of the ordinary, this rocker is strong nonetheless. It's more alternative rock based and less metal, but it's still strong. It's an effective tune for sure.
What You've Become (Bonus Track)
This bonus track is a cool ballad that makes great use of the two voices. Personally, I think it's better than the last song. It also brings a lot of variety.
 
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