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Sky Architect - A Dying Man's Hymn CD (album) cover

A DYING MAN'S HYMN

Sky Architect

 

Heavy Prog

3.60 | 137 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Hailing from the Netherlands, Sky Architect have literally burst onto the prog music scene and grabbed quite a lot of attention with their debut release Excavations Of The Mind. This was quite an achievement considering the numbers upon numbers of great prog band's that don't get any love from the audiences!

One of the most important reasons of why that particular album became a hit was the vast amounts of different sounds and styles that Sky Architect experimented with at the time. Fusing classic Yes/Genesis sound with modern metal bands like Dream Theater and Pain Of Salvation, plus let's not forget the jazz rock/fusion references on The Deep Chasm multi-part suite. The reason why I mention the debut album is because A Dying Man's Hymn is not at all as impressive in comparison.

The band has polished their sound and improved their lengthy compositions by making them even more exciting for their prog audiences. But ultimately this album didn't make much of an impression upon my first few revisits. The overall sound is not that heavy, instead moving even closer to the classic prog arrangements while completely abandoning Jazz Rock fusion and especially Metal. This time you'll hear clear references to Gentle Giant and even Pink Floyd but most of these moments feel out of context with the compositions and begin to remind me more of prog-by-numbers imitators of the retro-prog scene like Phideaux and the Flower Kings than the ground breaking new band that I heard on Excavations Of The Mind. The fact that this record is almost 30 minutes longer than it's predecessor may imply to some that Sky Architect had quite a lot to say while recording it, but ultimately I would have enjoyed the material more if it wasn't expanded to epic proportions upon every arising opportunity. If you're expecting fun and short moments like Gyrocopter or Russian Wisdom then you'll probably feel a bit underwhelmed by this album since almost 90% of the material keeps itself in a slow-moving pace with only a few rare bursts into the unexpected. It's this factor of spontaneity that I feel is lacking here and ultimately drops the overall quality down a whole notch for me. Well, it's actually that and the complete lack of standout compositions. Every tune has at least one minute or two minutes of gorgeous music embedded into it but it just doesn't add up to much when I look at the big picture.

Is A Dying Man's Hymn a bad album? No, far from it! The music is great, especially if you're a fan of the retro prog music. Is it an excellent album? No, because it basically brings nothing new or interesting to the table while still managing to entertain us during it's hefty play time. The good, but non-essential rating seems pretty clear-cut to me.

**** star songs: Treebird (9:14) Melody Of The Air - Expositio (6:16) The Campfire Ghost's Song (10:00) Melody Of The Air - Explicatio (11:14) Hitodama's Return (6:37) Melody Of The Air - Recapitulatio (4:38) A Dying Man's Hymn (5:11)

*** star songs: Woodcutters Vile (12:58) The Breach (11:05)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |

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