Skies Below

It's been just over a year now since I started writing for this site and […]
By MarcusTheRocker
October 7, 2015
Skies Below - Aphelion album cover

It's been just over a year now since I started writing for this site and I remember that the first several promos I reviewed all seemed to fall into various genres which I do highly admit I was not all that keen on. If you read those very first reviews I wrote, you'll know why I had my concerns. One of the biggest genres I took a strong disliking to was Doom Metal. There were others such as Death and Black Metal which I will admit I didn't like either but Doom seemed to be my least favorite for some reason and I thought after requesting a genre change I would never see it again, or so I thought. Nevertheless, the time has come to see if my views on the genre have changed since then with the subject of today's review which is the debut album from a band called SKIES BELOW. Formed in 2012 in the USA, this quintet of Progressive Rock/Doom Metal musicians released their debut 3 song EP "Prologue" in 2013. Now, two years later, their debut album "Aphelion" is ready to be heard and I'm here to see if my mind about Doom Metal can be changed once and for all or if my prejudices remain intact.

Clocking in at around 37 minutes across 7 tracks, the debut album from SKIES BELOW is already starting to give me reason for concern but I'll get onto that a bit later but for now I'll talk about the songs. Opening up with "The Avout", the album does get off to a bit of a dull start as the song just seems to be a bit too un-exciting for my taste as the guitars don't sound all that heavy, the drum beats don't hit as hard as you would otherwise hope and the vocal performance sounds a bit forced as you can't really make out much of what is actually being sung. If you were hoping for the rest of the album to sound better then the opening track then sorry to burst your bubble but it's not. "La Loba" is the second track and although it does sound a little bit better then the opening track in terms of the punch from the instruments, it's still not what you call all that great as it sounds a little bit messy and all over the place in a few parts here and there.

The next tunes "Words That Stay" and "Reverend Mother Witch" seem to follow the same formula as the opening number as both seem to take a while to get going and both also seem to lack any real punch or power in the performance from both the instruments and the vocals. "Tyranny Of An Object" is a bit more punchy just like the second track as there is a little bit more in terms of enjoyment as there's a bit more oomph in the melodies which is a bit of an improvement but not by much as there is still a lack of punch in terms of the guitar melodies, the drumming rhythms and also the forced vocals too. The second to last song "Acquisition of Signal" is only 30 seconds long and it serves a brief instrumental intro to the final song and my biggest concern on this album "Doorway_Descent_Dissolution". The song clocks in at almost 10 minutes long making this the longest song and because it's a long track in the Doom Metal genre, there is of course reason to be concerned as it just sounds a bit too dull. For a start, the song takes an age to kick in but once it does, there is still not a lot in terms of performance or production to make up for it as the melodies just sound a bit off to me as well as sounding a bit all over the place in a few spots and also the vocals don't really sound like they're trying.

Now to talk about my overall thoughts about this album and the outcome doesn't look that great. The reason it doesn't look good is because there is not really a lot that I enjoyed about this and any previous prejudices I had towards Doom Metal remain in tact as it's a genre that although I can see why it has a strong following, it's just not for someone like me I'm afraid. This can apply to this album as the melodies sound off and a bit messy, the performances sound a bit lifeless and a bit dull and also the production sounds extremely iffy and out of place. Also, the vocals don't sound like they're really trying as most times it focuses too hard on making itself sound heard over the melodies which seem to bury them forcing them to become lost but even if that wasn't the case, it still doesn't sound all that impressive as most of the time it sounds forced. Bottom line, the debut album SKIES BELOW is not really an album I enjoyed as it helped to further fuel any and all concerns I had towards the Doom Metal genre as a whole. If you're a die-hard Doom Metal fan then you may liking something I do not but if you're not all that big on the genre like me then I would maybe suggest staying away.<

3 / 10


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"Aphelion" Track-listing:

1. The Avout
2. La Loba
3. Words That Say
4. Reverend Mother Witch
5. Tyranny Of An Object
6. Acquisition Of Signal
7. Doorway Descent Dissolution

Skies Below Lineup:

Liz Porcayo - Vocals
Daniel Sides - Guitar
Ryan Akin - Bass
Tim Strovas - Drums
Andrew Chapman - Back up Vocals On "Doorway_Descent_Dissolution"

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