Skies In Motion – Life Lessons

It is probably fair to say that there are a couple of metal bred flavours we are finding ourselves uninspired by at The RR right now, metalcore being one. There are plenty of good and enjoyable bands emerging within the genre but few which truly break from the familiar and creatively routine. UK outfit Skies In Motion is one which defies that thought especially with their new debut album Life Lessons now leading their persuasion.  It is a ferocious magnetic collection of songs as irritable and aggressive as they are creatively and melodically captivating. Certainly plenty of its appeal is down to striking potential but equally there is an imagination and enterprise at play which only excites.

Hailing from Derby, Skies In Motion stepped forward in 2012 and has increased their reputation year on year  with their live presence alone which has seen them share stages with the likes of Killswitch Engage, Devil Wears Prada, August Burns Red, While She Sleeps, Unearth, Slaves , Skindred, Don Broco, Our Hollow Our Home, Gnarwolves and many more. Their initial sound was more hardcore driven though still embracing melodic strains. Life Lessons merges those flavours with its metalcore instincts, resulting in an assault which at times maybe embraces familiar essences but is a relentlessly fresh and intriguing proposition.

The press release for the album suggests bands such as While She Sleeps and Architects are good comparisons and it is not too hard going along with that as opener Architect bites. It initial melodic invitation is a deceit giving no suggestion of the creative carnage to follow though it is not long before an invasion of riffs and rhythms accompany enticing throat raw vocals. Intrigue is quickly gripped and fed as the track evolves into successor Cascades where djent spice predation is followed by hardcore causticity and metal antagonism, vocalist Adam Connor tenaciously riding the tempest. It is a stirring mix which welcomingly infests ears and appetite, the rhythms of bassist Dan Wheeler and drummer Sam Gaines continuing the predatory invasion as guitarists Dave Stewart and Andy Shaw weave a carnal tempest of craft and temptation. Connor is as striking as the sounds around him, the diversity of his attack thoroughly enjoyable and as potently backed by those around him.  There is also infectiousness to the track which borders on poppy, a catchiness which never undermines the ferocity.

The following Realizationship is similarly woven if even more irritable and too a web of seduction and sonic violence which never stops twisting and turning within its storm. The song lacks the final striking essences of its predecessor yet with teasing grooves and fury loaded flames of melody it masterfully hits the spot and an imagination already submissive to the inventively evolving landscapes the band shares within songs.

Another plateau is breached by next up Happy Families, its stabbing riffs and wiry tendrils an instant trap to fall into which only tightens as steely grooves and rabid riffs join rapacious rhythms and a virulence of contagious antics. Connor impressively leads into and drives the chorus of vocal spirit, sound relaxing a touch to embrace the infectious roar though that moment of unity is surrounded by a compelling net of discord and unpredictability. The track is superb and another reason to suggest Skies in Motion is a real force in the making.

Learn The Hard Way is next, its grooved body a fiery cauldron of sound and emotion with some of the most delicious melodic and harmonic lures heard in a fair time while the following Ugly lives up to its name in tone though it too has a swing and exhaustive rigour which simultaneously incites and devours the body. Both songs reveal more of the bands craft in writing and performance, the latter simply a beast of cyclonic contagion to become increasingly greedy for even before Finding Myself Lost has the chance to stamp its intense authority over the senses. It is fair to say that some tracks, like this one, needs time to truly appreciate; to explore and discover its deep qualities beneath a surface which pleasures if not overwhelms though truthfully every song has a wealth of adventure ready to share with increasing listens.

Both the carnivorous Sword Swallower and the emotively conjured Gonvena provide a mercurial adventure of sound and imagination, the first a savage turbulence which flows into an emotionally acute oasis of calm while the second goes from poetic beauty and melodic reflection to blistering intensity. The second is especially bewitching, Connor further impressing with his melodic prowess and the band with its fluidity through extremely contrasting climates.

When Home Feels Distant (And Distance Feels Like Home) lacks some of the captivation and adventure of the previous two but still has ears gripped and pleasure lit with its Avenged Sevenfold spiced tapestry, next up Five Years finding the same success with its own heart bred tempest of sound and raw aggression. It too misses some of the keen ingredients of earlier encounters but leaves satisfaction full and a want for more, hungrier.

Concluding with Hopebringer, another track which needs time to blossom into a fascinating and invasive fury of sound and potential, Life Lessons needs no help in luring ears and attention back again and indeed again. It is a debut which more than suggests, actually declares Skies In Motion as a band able to bring a fresh breath to the hardcore/metalcore scene. Whether they can live up to its potential time will tell but we would not bet against it.

Life Lessons is out now @ http://skiesinmotionuk.bigcartel.com/product/pre-order-life-lessons-albumu

http://www.skiesinmotion.com/    https://www.facebook.com/skiesinmotion    https://twitter.com/skiesinmotion

Pete RingMaster 14/09/2017

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Silent Screams-When It Rains

The new album When It Rains from Coventry band Silent Screams marks not only an impressive debut for the UK metalcore band but the initial release from Ghost Music, the new label founded by Ghostfest creator Toyan St Hilaire, who made the band his first signing. Immediately impressed by the band’s album St Hilaire threw himself into unleashing it on the world; commenting about the release he said “As soon as I heard the new SILENT SCREAMS record, I just knew it was gold – I just knew I had to do something with it… ‘When It Rains’ made such an impact on me that I’ve decided to finally put my money where my mouth is; hence GHOST MUSIC was born! I’m super excited to be working with this band and their record!”  Upon hearing When It Rains it is easy to understand his enthusiasm as the album is a power house of intent and creation. For a debut it is immense and though it may not be flawless it carries an edge and purpose as well as thoroughly stunning sounds that many if not most releases lack.

The band already have impressed during their rise up the UK metal ranks, tours and shared stages with the likes of Bring Me The Horizon, Your Demise, For The Fallen Dreams, and Emmure around not only the UK but Europe and Australia, bringing constant upward surge in their following and anticipation for their debut release. When It Rains produced by renowned producer/engineer Joey Sturgis (Devil Wears Prada, Asking Alexandria, Miss May I), does not disappoint at all only pleases.  

To some extent When It Rains takes a little work when first diving into its feast of sound, there is not an immediate connection. Well not strictly true as musically it does light up the senses and offers intrigue and thrills at every twist and turn in its varied soundscape of hardcore, progressive and melodic metalcore. Where it struggled to make an impact initially was vocally though repeated listens, which all releases deserve for a true assessment, found the blend much easier to come to terms with. It is hard to work out if it is the production or James Ryan’s natural delivery but his growls and shouts at times lack definition and are too unrefined to make them easy at first to take in. To be fair it does not help when alongside him bassist Tom Craig provides clean vocals that are glorious and give a wonderful scope to the songs. Personally the hope more use will be made of his voice in the future to bring a greater even mix between them both brings eager anticipation.

That is the only issue there is with an excellent debut form the band. Musically they are tight and unafraid to infuse varied directions and ideas which provide a constant interest and invitation within their release. Opening track ‘Assume The Worst’ strikes with full aggression and intent providing a mighty wave of fierce drumming from the explosive Adam Mallabone and cutting guitars sounds and bludgeoning riffs from Sam Varney and Ozzi Osman. The first half of the track paces itself with a firm steadiness holding back its diverse moment when with a growling riff and resonating bass from Craig it starts exploring and expanding its limits, the vocals from the bassist soaring out over the gruffness of Ryan.

The consistency across the album is perfect, not one track dipping below the high level set with the opener. Songs like ‘Desperation’ with its commanding teasing groove, the strongly emotive ‘Til There’s Nothing Left’, and the album’s best track ‘Sinking’ all raise the bar with sounds and performance lined with fierce assertiveness and incisive delivery. The latter of the three unveils its kaleidoscope of inspired songwriting, intricate play, and diversity wonderfully, engaging forcibly as it permeates the senses. It is the strongest example of what the whole album achieves and which is bringing menacing and brutal sounds together with stirring harmonies and delicious melodies that enthuse as equally as the forthright and irrepressible riffs.

When It Rains is an immense debut and gives strong excitement for future releases from Silent Screams, and if they find sort out the vocals a little more the band will tower over most rivals.

RingMaster 25/10/2011

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