Reviewed by Dylan Raine
Label: SBS Records
Date of Release: 31/01/2012
Genre: Galician Heavy Metal
Hometown: Vigo, Spain
1. Perfect Mind
2. Winter’s Hideout
3. Living Hell
4. The Inner Killer
6. Human Void
7. Orphan of the Dark
8. Crossing the North
Founded by Daniel Soengas, in the seaside town of Vigo, north-western Spain, Skydancer defined a unique style featuring Extremely rough vocals, melodic patterns and skilful guitar solos. In the six years Skydancer have been around they have been growing step by step to make themselves a shining name amongst the immense mass of Heavy Metal bands out there today.
With previous albums making waves amongst the global audience, Skydancer are sure set in becoming one of the forerunners of great heavy metal.
Bringing in their third album ‘WinterKiller‘, Skydancer are attempting to shape and perhaps even mould the very fabric of one’s own conscious outlook of winter and the bleak coldness that surrounds it. With the warming, yet haunting introductions featuring rich orchestral melodies and obscure patterns, follows an almost intimidating onslaught of melodic thrash metal from the very beginning.
Keeping in line with many thrash metal bands out there today holding onto the tight gritty sound that is famous within this genre, Skydancer include fast paced driven blasts of melody throughout the album whilst introducing shouts and screaming growls. A lot of the melodic metal seems to be hidden behind heavily driven thrash yet “Perfect Mind” is A-typical of the sort of expressions you would expect to see in power-metal whilst the solos are not far from the genre either. There is a lot going on in this song to slightly alter the perception of the listener.
Into “Winter’s Hideout” and melodic death seems to be missing here, although a very interesting song full of crazy patterns and techniques to confuse even the most experienced listener, this track is very defined throughout. From the super-fast paced thrash soloing to the aggressive movements “Winter’s Hideout” really opens up another possibility in music.
Into something a little more melodic now “Living Hell” with the Celtic style introduction grabbing attention to the listener before the Bach-esq motifs kick in an exemplify the track a little more. Galloping is almost a must in any metal of this sort and we are not disappointed here, whilst jumping back and forth between melodic structures before a wonderful echoed solo section takes over and slows the pace down enough to allow the Neo-Classical driven sweeping to kick in and expand the track a whole lot more than we would have expected from the start.
Into the haunting atmospheric disruptions of “Absinthe” with the well constructed pianos leading throughout before the distorted guitars come in to join this simple yet well executed piece of music. The main issue I have with this piece of music is it all feels a little too MIDI from start to finish; although there are some interesting compositional features going on here it is just lacking any depth and feeling. Bringing in the lead guitars to the mix half way through and I’d have expected a little more than what was given based on the rest of the album thus far.
Dragging you into the mind-set of “Human Void” and the technical obscurities that are going on here is definitely interesting from a guitarist’s point of view, but is it enough? Bring in the vocals after a very yawn worthy motif which by any good guitarist’s standards should have been opened up a little more, yet the vocals do give another textural possibility of an additional madness within. “Orphan of the Dark” has one of those powerful head nodding introduction lines to it which after you get past the ridiculous speed-picking scale run at the start you begin to really appreciate this song as a whole. Brilliantly executed harmony lines and melodic passages opens this song up as being one of the bests on this album so far! As you progress through the “Orphan of the Dark” everything that is good about metal is shown here from the distinctive chopping guitars to the harmonies into the choruses which have very addictive properties to them. As we expect from this track we should be heading to a unique solo and yes we are given something like that, from the delayed pitched harmonics and bar-dives to the alternative arpeggios, it is well created for the best possible effect.
We leave this thrash based melodic metal album with the very harmonic and very melodic “Crossing the North” which features everything that is interesting in this genre from the high speed tremolo picking to the thrash chopping, into the power metal motifs and back into blasts from the drums before picking up again. Add to this a bridge section of interesting broken riffs just to slightly alter things before once again speeding up and chopping through the track a little more. As far as obscure tracks go, this is up there with the best of them! There are some interesting passages throughout yet the definition is sometimes lost by all the timing changes as just as you’ve got used to listening to one part, it all goes nuts and leaves you bewildered in the dark. It could be said this is what Skydancer were trying to achieve and if so, well done, my mind is totally screwed! As we come out of the high octane riffs we are saluted with a very Maiden-esq melody which feels as we are building into something a little more exceptional, and yes, we do! Thrown back into a madness of sorts that are the obscurities of the track with all the madness combined before the inevitable mixed harmony solo sections come in to destroy what sanity you have left, assuming you had any to start with. This is definitely an interesting track!
As far as interesting albums go, this is definitely one of them. It gives you a huge mix of genres to delight your senses with before destroying anysense of understanding you may once have held. Other than that obscurities and effects a lot of the mix feels hidden behind the noise of distorted mayhem and lacks the thumping body shifting I would have come to expect. However, this is one album not to be missed or put aside for any reason.
Daniel Soengas (Guitars / Vocals)
Jose Casal (Guitars)
Daniel Díaz (Drums)
François Mendez (Bass)