Skyharbor – Blinding White Noise: Illusions and Chaos – 3.5/5
Time for another short and snappy review. If I don't get it out now then I never will. I'll be honest, I – like I suspect most people – wouldn't have ever noticed this debut efforts existence if not for the presence of Dan Tompkins, recently departed vocalist from “Tesseract,” and I expect without him this Indian band would remain in the depths of obscurity. Split into two discs, the majority is taken up by the “Illusion” with the final 15 minutes devoted to the “Chaos.” You can quite clearly tell that the two are separate entities; the former full of atmospheric lines with the latter dominated by frenetic musicianship, switching jarringly between the two. Sadly, despite the decision of whether you prefer your music technical or atmospheric, neither come across as particularly memorable. In fact, this might just be the most forgettable album I've ever heard.
Now it's not that they do anything especially wrong, or even badly; they follow the djent framework to perfection, the rhythm guitar chugging along with plenty of ambient-esque passages thrown in for atmosphere. The drumming is competent and capable of varying things, though is often left so far in the back that the music is left largely to the duties of the lead guitarist and vocalist, and even more so do they perform admirably. What it's lacking is variety; every song runs at the same tempo, every line seems to be sung at the same narrow pitch range – occasionally throwing in the growl, reversed for the second part – and in the same manner (sadly devoid of those epic, sustain filled high notes that made him such a powerhouse for Tesseract). The new, soft tone he takes is not one that he often feels best suited, coming across gentle but lacking any real sense of emotion.
The guitar work is even more of a mystery, even though he uses the same tone throughout the entire release, the wealth of riffs and solo's performed would suggest at least some of them would stick but for some reason none of them do. In a sea of djent acts emerging in the past two years, it is their reliance on subtle ambient guitar work and often generic feeling lines that might have worked a few years ago but now just feels bested by many others already; it feels old already. I've listened to the album more than a dozen times and I can't name a single passage from a single song. My Djent saturation point appears to have been reached, and until they bring something new to the table I can't see my attention returning.
Over the years this has grown into my own personal project, reviewing the artists that I discover and interest me. If you wish to see more of my work, particularly my more metal-orientated material, you can find me as a regular contributor for the online magazine
Posted by T. Bawden Friday, 1 June 2012