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Sky Architect - Excavations of the Mind CD (album) cover

EXCAVATIONS OF THE MIND

Sky Architect

 

Heavy Prog

3.99 | 229 ratings

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m2thek
Prog Reviewer
4 stars If nothing else, 2010 was a great year for new prog artists. Just glancing at our own top 10 albums of last year, half of them were debuts from new groups. Rounding out the list of new comers is Sky Architect, a Dutch heavy symphonic band, with their addition, Excavations of the Mind. With their second album already recorded and set to release this summer, and an already great first one, I'm very excited to see where this band will go.

The music of Sky Architect is accurately listed as Heavy Prog, but there is also a strong emphasis on the symphonic side, with lush keyboards, and soft melodic passages. These sections are great contrasts to the heavier and more riff based. One of my favorite aspects of Excavations is its mix of loud and soft, as well as dense and thin moments, which are used to great effect, and keep the music interesting. Thanks to great drumming which is quick to pick up or drop off in intensity, the music wastes no time transition between their contrasting passages. There's just as much heavy guitar playing as there is soft and acoustic, as well as huge keyboard sounds compared to subtle piano melodies. While the solos are not as strong as the full band moments, the harmonies underneath them are always interesting, and constantly changing. Although the melodies are good, they're not strong enough for the amount of repetition that they receive, but the music usually changes soon enough that they don't get too tiring. The vocals are fine, but I don't find anything special in them usually. Like the melodies, they can get a little repetitive, but there's nothing inherently bad about them.

The exception to this is in the title track, which is easily the best song on the album. It features a wonderful soft and emotional vocal section, and proves to me how strong Sky Architect can be as a whole, and not just instrumentally. This song is a great showcase, and is hopefully a sign of what's to come on their forthcoming album. The other tracks are not quite as strong, though they all have something to offer, and each have their own memorable moments. In particular, the opening suite, Deep Chasm, is a very quick (in a good way) 19 minutes, and is a great introduction. There's a couple good melodies that get reprised, and some guild build ups to satisfying payoffs. The cuts between subsections are a little hard, and the piece overall feels a bit disjointed, but again, is something the band will surely improve upon as it matures. The other three tracks are good, but the intro and title track are definitely the two that standout and show off the band the best.

For such a young group of guys, it's impressive how good they've manage to make their first album. Strong songwriting is the key here, and they've definitely got the potential to make their vocal passages and instrumental solos just as strong. Sky Architect has piqued my own interest, and if you've got a taste for heavier symphonic prog, make sure to pick this one up before their second album drops this summer.

m2thek | 4/5 |

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