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Sky Architect

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Sky Architect Excavations of the Mind album cover
3.89 | 302 ratings | 22 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

- Deep Chasm :
1. Part I: Charter (3:38)
2. Part II: Chime (8:04)
3. Part III: Changeling (0:43)
4. Part IV: Chasm (6:45)
5. The Grey Legend (12:11)
6. Russian Wisdom (5:05)
7. Excavation of the Mind (11:46)
8. Gyrocopter (2:58)

Total Time 51:10

Bonus tracks from Freia Music reissue:
9. The Grey Legend (live) (12:57)
10. Russion Wisdom (acoustic) (5:15)
11. Gyrocopter (demo) (2:50)

Line-up / Musicians

- Tom Luchies / lead & backing vocals, guitar
- Wabe Wieringa / electric & acoustic guitars, producing & mixing
- Rik van Honk / grand piano, synth, keyboards, backing vocals
- Guus van Mierlo / bass
- Chistiaan Bruin / drums, backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Mark Wilkinson

CD Galileo Records ‎- GR023 (2010, Switzerland)

Remastered and remixed edition, with slightly revised Artwork and additional tracks, released by Freia Music on March 16th 2020.

Thanks to b4usleep for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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SKY ARCHITECT Excavations of the Mind ratings distribution

(302 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

SKY ARCHITECT Excavations of the Mind reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Is this La Cucuracha tune during first mid section of Deep Chasm Pt. 1 ? I mean its twisted, dark Jazz Metal & shadow corners of Earth messing with Lovecraftian Cthulhu beasts, spawning this weird abomination.

Or something like that.

Actually, the rest of this album is much lighter (even it should be paradox, because this album is in Heavy Prog department, probably just another blasphemy of mine). Melodic a lot and sometimes crossing (pun intended) into what we call Crossover here.

The band also isn't afraid of doing some heavy jamming in the spirit of its genre.

Yes, it is indeed dark, but only mildly, using a lot of 70s structures, but not sounding as vintage Prog (no Genesis, no Yes, nothing like that, just original and fresh new Prog). Cover looks at the first sight as typical, little bit schizophrenic piece of art, but is actually somehow interesting, more than it would normally be (probably colours).

4(+), so far.

I would recommend this to almost everybody. It's accessible, continuing with legacy from the past, but original enough not to be called clone, melodic, yet not cheesy (but rather dark). Great album.

Review by Andy Webb
5 stars This may be everything that's right with progressive music.

I found them actually from ProgArchives, and i was interested, so I bought the album. When I first listened, I was in near shock. DEEP CHASM comes out with a cool jazzy polyrhythmic layered riff and breaks into some jazz metal piano riffs. It then breaks off on an epic prog metal tangent, before coming back to jazz, then back to metal, and then breaking to some nice hard 70's esque rock. Part II comes off with some nice bass + acoustic work. The main music style reminds of a combination of YES and KING CRIMSON. A nice jazz inspired solo section is found in the middle. Part III is a piano interlude coming after the beautiful orchestrated musical piece on part II. IV goes back to that YES and CRIMSON sound. It ends the epic piece quite nicely.

THE GREY LEGEND blasts off with a catchy and hard acoustic riff before going straight into some heavy stuff that's just brilliant. Solo sections and instrumental interludes dot the great song like no one's business. Catchy riffs make the piece that much more enjoyable to listen to.

RUSSIAN WISDOM is a short (for the album) track with some catchy riffs very heavily influenced by 70s rock. Nice melodies and rhythms make it a great track.

The eponymous EXCAVATIONS OF THE MIND sort of ends the album (I consider GYROCOPTER more of a fun bonus) with some nice influences like OPETH (their more melodic stuff), DREAM THEATER and KING CRIMSON. Spectacular solo and instrumental interludes pepper the track and spice it up nicely. Between grand transitions, sweeping melodies make it a fantastic track.

GYROCOPTER is a spectacular quasi-ender that shows off some Derek Sherinian like piano chops. The fun little near 3 minute track is mostly instrumental, and is like a fun little solo for the musicians. The vocals are kind of funny also.

Overall, the album is just magnificent, and a great buy for most prog fans, heavy and light. I highly recommend this album!

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Young Dutch band Sky Architect have produced a solid and often stunningly brilliant debut effort, disproving anyone who thought that the progressive rock genre had been explored to the limits.

Effortlessly and smoothly navigating between most corners of the art rock universe, extragavant symphonic motifs and mournful sparsely instrumented themes are provided with the same ease as surging organ and guitar driven passages, smoother jazz-tinged sequences and harder edges parts touching upon progressive metal in intensity if not in style.

Those fond of breaking down compositions to try to track down possible influences should have a field day with this CD, and those who prefer to listen and immerse themselves in the music will most likely find the journey to be an intriguing one as well.

As long as art rock and symphonic rock suits your taste, you will most likely enjoy this disc. And if you enjoy elaborate compositions and an overall eclectic approach, chances are that you'll cling on tight to this one for a long time. Highly recommended.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Pleasant sounding with some very interesting musicanship but mostly a collection of familiar sounding songs--PROCOL HARUM tries to play LED ZAPPA using ADRIAN BELEW lyrics and vocals?

1. Deep Chasm (Part. I) (3:38) (Interesting musical exercise: playing classical music on electric instruments. 5/10)

2. Deep Chasm (Part. II) (8:03) (Decent pop song gone long. 6/10)

3. Deep Chasm (Part. III) (0:42) (My daughter's fourth grade piano practice piece. 3/10)

4. Deep Chasm (Part. IV) (6:44) (A little something here is IMO ruined by Adrian Belew lyrics and vocals: 5/10)

5. The Grey Legend (12:11) (Probably the best song on the album, but still has too many annoying, old worn out cliche elements. 7/10)

6. Russian Wisdom (5:04) (Wasn't this on the CHICAGO-The CLASH album of Bar Mitzvah music? 5/10)

7. Excavations Of the Mind (11:43) (What?! Are they trying to create a prog epic? Should've tried punk, instead! 5/10)

8. Gyrocopter (2:53) (Jam on, boys! The missing interlude from "Free Bird" 6/10)

Good LP. A Band to watch.

Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Sky Architect presents their eclectic and heavy brand of progressive rock in their first album, Excavations of the Mind, through Galileo Records. This young five-piece Dutch band has released in 2010 an album recorded in 2008, which showcases the band skills and love for progressive rock. For me, they manage to take what is good about prog-rock and present it in a modern fashion, style and sound (not that I don't like the so-called "retro-prog" groups).

In Excavation Of The Mind, Sky Architect have created a seamless musical mélange of the heavy and delicate, the fierce and melodic, the power and subtle. The albums songs are made up of excellent and well-executed musical ideas, a satisfying equilibrium between heavier sections and calmer grounds. The songs are driven by the aggressiveness of the electric guitar on one side and the delicacy of the keyboards and acoustic guitar on the other. The music can be almost metal-heavy at one point and then calm down and turn into a refined acoustic passage and then continue into a keyboards-drenched prog extravaganza.

The band writes multi-section songs, with those opposing each other in tempo and spirit, but complement each other very well. The songwriting is balanced between creating beautiful harmonic choruses and energetic and high-paced instrumental passages (such as in Deep Chasm pt. 2). Indeed, I feel there is a well-balanced instrumental to song ratio. In fact I feel that their instrumental side is their stronger side. The musical passages in The Grey Legend are a delight to listen to and wonderfully executed. They never veer off for too long from the main theme and always have a way of connecting all the song's various parts nicely together.

With the albums two opening pieces (Deep Chasm and The Grey Legend) being quite epic in scope, the band shows its capabilities in writing shorter but as compelling songs in the catchy Russian Wisdom. Even here, in a mere 5 minutes they manage to create various different sounding sections and fuse them with impressive ease. The closing track, Gyrocopter is too a short piece, an intense and powerful tune that I'd love to have heard developed more.

I do feel that the music at certain points would have benefitted from a more powerful and deeper voice alongside the soft voice of Tom Luchies, which otherwise does a good job.

Production-wise, the album sounds somewhat "murky", which may have been intentional and actually fits the music and gives it a rougher edge; but at times there's too much of it and a clearer background would have treated better the melody at hand.

Personally, I'd love to hear them continue with this ratio of instrumental-to-song ration and with this level of heaviness. The heaviest song here is probably the title track, in particular towards the end, but even there it doesn't linger on too long and they manage to balance it out with the acoustic guitar and keyboards supporting the electric guitar solo. However, out of curiosity (and this is not a criticism of the album) I'd be very interested in hearing them playing a less heavy and dense style, a more refined and delicate; given the talent here, I think it would be an interesting and rewarding path for the band to take.

All in all, this is a remarkable debut album and Sky Architect already have their sound and style, which will only get better and refined from now on. I look forward to their next album.

Review by TheGazzardian
3 stars Locked between these walls of eyes and friendly paranoia...

You won't find me complaining about Progarchives review system; I think that the five stars are a perfect way of giving a clear meaning to an album. But they are an incomplete system, and it is with the reviews that you truly learn what a listener is thinking. As such, please do not gloss over this review, see that it is three stars, and assume that this band is merely "ok".

Sky Architects debut album, Excavations of the Mind, sounds very mature. The prominent elements, in my ears, are the guitars and the piano. Although the guitars are often distorted and heavy, they never really feel that heavy to me - more like, they help build a semi-wall-of-sound effect.

One thing that I really like about the music is that it's constantly shifting. The band moves from one section to the next and makes it all sound very natural. Although most tracks have vocals, they contain many more instrumental sections. When the vocals do make an appearance, the vocals lines are usually memorable and/or catchy.

All these elements combine to make very interesting and nice to hear prog music. The only area that I feel the band isn't quite perfect is getting feeling across. This album features heavily the idea of going insane, yet the majority of the music does not really have this feeling. Listen to Colin Masson's "Two Lighthouse Keepers" or Van der Graaf Generators "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers" (lighthouse keepers are crazy) for examples of an area where a band succeeded musically in this regard.

Regardless, for a debut, Sky Architect have shown that they are off to a great start, especially in the opening epic (Deep Chasm) and the closing track (Gyrocopter, which could easily have been expanded and is a great, high energy track).

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars We are fortunate that this Dutch band is into Progressive Rock because with their good looks and abundant talent they would be a hit in the commercial world of Rock or Pop. They engineered, mixed, mastered and produced this themselves and did a great job overall. They spent about 2 years making this album which is a concept record that delves into the dark and disturbing psyche of a mentally troubled man.

The album starts with the almost 20 minute suite called "Deep Chasm" that is divided into four sections. Each track blends into the next. "Deep Chasm Part I" is an instrumental that opens with some majestic mellotron.The music kicks in after a minute with lots of piano and fat bass lines.The tempo shifts often.The organ and guitar are prominant late as it blends into "Deep Chasm Part II". Vocals arrive right away in this mid-paced, catchy track. Mellotron before 1 1/2 minutes. It picks up after 3 minutes as we get a great sounding and uptempo instrumental section. It settles back before 5 1/2 minutes with lots of piano late as it blends into "Deep Chasm Part III". The final section of this suite (Part IV) features the return of vocals as the chorus from Part II is reprised. Spoken words a minute in. Some ripping organ after 3 minutes then it settles with guitar. It picks back up before 5 minutes and becomes pretty intense.

"The Grey Legend" has this good heavy soundscape as the organ comes in with power. Vocals before 2 minutes as it settles. Mellotron follows and returns again after 3 1/2 minutes then it picks up with guitar, drums and chunky bass. Nice. It settles back after 5 minutes with vocals then picks back up after 7 minutes when the vocals stop. It's heavier 9 1/2 minutes in. "Russian Wisdom" is catchy and uptempo to start. It settles with vocals after 1 1/2 minutes then picks up a minute later as the tempo continues to change. Good song. "Excavations Of The Mind" has lots of piano early on and it gets fuller a minute in. Organ 2 1/2 minutes in. A calm with strummed guitar 3 minutes in and vocals follow. It kicks in at 4 1/2 minutes then settles back again. So good. Great sound 10 minutes in when the guitar starts to solo over top to the end. "Gyrocopter" opens with keyboards as drums and bass join in. The guitar starts to solo. Spoken words before 2 minutes then the organ comes screaming in.

This has to be considered as a top five candidate for 2010, it's that good.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Honestly, I was gravely disappointed in this album upon first hearing, and I really have no idea why. I'm not saying this album is a "grower," though, because when I reluctantly played it a second time, I scratched my head and wondered what the hell I'd heard that made it such a ruinous first listen. I remain puzzled. I'm chalking it up to a bad day. Sky Architect's debut is an enigmatic labyrinth, where nearly every turn is riddled with delight. Navigating the place still proves a challenge- the musical transitions are warped and counterintuitive- even after months of hearing the album, it still manages to surprise, like those shock videos on the Internet- no matter how many times the scary face pops up over the maze, those anticipatory feelings remain in the gut. The only difference is that the feeling here isn't dread- it's exhilaration. Heavy, complex rhythms charge the listener around every corner, the vocals remain clean and satisfying, the compositions are bold and varied, and the musicians, while individually impressive, work together to craft a hair-raising rush of a musical experience.

"Deep Chasm (Part. I)" Choral Mellotron and a dank guitar fade in, creating a dissonant, uncanny introduction. What follows is an unexpected, very loose keyboard-led bit of jazz rock. Powerful lead guitar advances the piece into a tighter but more spacious territory.

"Deep Chasm (Part. II)" Flowing into an acoustic guitar and bass duet, the first bit of vocals appear, reminding me a bit of The Dear Hunter. Overall, the song takes me back to 1990s alternative pop rock music, maybe like Fastball. The bouncy verse slides into a smooth, captivating refrain. The instrumental section keeps that feel, but unleashes a nasty spider of a riff, perfect for some otherworldly solos. Piano and drums provide a crashing catharsis, serving alongside bright, hopeful guitars.

"Deep Chasm (Part. III)" The music leaves behind a brief, breathy piano.

"Deep Chasm (Part. IV)" The fourth and final part of "Deep Chasm" dives into the chorus of the second part- a perfect move. This transforms into dramatic spoken word and pomp rock reminiscent of Adrian Belew. The remaining instrumental music, for me, channels heavy, early Spock's Beard.

"The Grey Legend" After such a stunning journey, one might expect something to ease the blisters on the ears, but tough luck- in terms of sound, it takes off where the last track left, but best of all, keeps the inventive motifs coming. That dark piano theme grabs me each time. Expect waves of Mellotron, acoustic guitar, and a vocal similar to Porcupine Tree. A rapid instrumental section in 7/8 takes off- no rest for the weary! Much of the latter half of this twelve-minute feast consists of various solos over some incredibly complex rhythms, all culminating in that shadowy piano motif.

"Russian Wisdom" Several guitars, again in 7/8, maintain a bouncy rock feel, but this soon gives way to a traditional Eastern European-like bit of music, laden with synthesizers, not unlike something Kansas might have pulled in the 1970s. The vocals, however, are smooth and easygoing- almost lounge-like.

"Excavations of the Mind" The title track features uneasy, almost maddening piano, guitar, and bass. Heavy, complex rhythms come in, led by a quavering organ. The music abruptly stops, and a single acoustic guitar takes over. The vocal melody here is amazing and pleasant; it is a part of the album I look forward to on every hearing. The lead guitar's interpretation of this vocal melody is likewise terrific. As always, the instrumental moments are full of energetic creativity.

"Gyrocopter" Intricate piano weaves around a flurry of other instruments in this terse closer- an excellent and unanticipated ending.

Review by m2thek
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.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I remember starting listening to Excavations Of The Mind just around the same time as Haken's Aquarius and the weird thing is that the two albums began their journeys on the polar opposite sides of my mind! Aquarius began as a huge favorite while Excavations Of The Mind dragged along somewhere at the back of my top releases of 2010. It's funny how much a few month of reflection can do for these types of releases since I now only consider Aquarius to be an average release while Excavations Of The Mind is actually one that I can definitely recommend!

It's not as if Sky Architect have managed to created an amazing album, but it's definitely an interesting experience only enhanced by the fact that this is the band's debut release. The first part of the album consists of a loosely based Deep Chasm quadrilogy, where only Part II and IV can actually be considered interlinked. But hey, they are the longest sections of this 19 minute opus and I definitely wouldn't have enjoyed the tracks as much if they had been squashed into a single composition. The final 7 minute section, called Part IV: Chasm, is easily the highlight of the entire piece with a very unexpected sounding approach that I honestly did not expect for the band's sound, giving it a highly eclectic vibe.

The Grey Legend continues the whole trend of lengthy compositions and this 12 minute beast takes us on a highly adventurous ride through many weird loops. Somehow I lack the overall understanding for this particular performance and I blame this on a lack of a prominent theme throughout the track. I really have to congratulate Tom Luchies' vocal performance up to this point, but the speech-like style that he is going for on this track don't work in his favor and instead brings out a few foreign sounding syllables into the mix. Not something that many might find to be a negative thing, but it really cuts my ears wherever I pay close attention to the vocals on The Grey Legend.

Russian Wisdom is another surprise which is pretty much the overall theme of this album; expect the unexpected! This highly upbeat 5 minute tune is also the most accessible of the bunch, but I can assure you that it's not in any commercial fashion! The song serves as a nice transition into the album's title track and also what I consider to be the single best composition of 2010!

Please note that I don't give out these type of honors easily but seeing that I haven't been able to get enough of this track for the last three months is pretty much a given proof that this 12 minute composition is one of those special moments that I just can't afford to take for granted. I really don't want to spoil the experience for anyone who still hasn't heard it, simply because it's such a special one. All I will say is that you're in for one amazing ride here so just place yourself in a comfortable seat and enjoy!

The album concludes with an odd 3 minute track titled Gyrocopter. It starts and ends way too soon but something tells me that the lads in Sky Architect did this on purpose, presumably in order to spice up our interests for a potential followup release. In summary, Excavations Of The Mind might not be the best album of 2010 but it does an excellent job of giving us exactly the right amount of taste for the band that we are bound to hear more of in the years to come!

***** star songs: Deep Chasm (Part. IV) (6:45) Excavations Of The Mind (11:46)

**** star songs: Deep Chasm (Part. II) (8:04) Deep Chasm (Part. III) (0:43) Russian Wisdom (5:05) Gyrocopter (2:58)

*** star songs: Deep Chasm (Part. I) (3:38) The Grey Legend (12:11)

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Exceptional debut from this young Dutch band. The music seems to come right from the classic era of Prog, but the approach and sound are very modern, striving for optimal effectiveness and not afraid to combine dazzling songwriting with catchy melodies.

The most fitting description for me would be Eclectic Prog, as the band shifts effortlessly from spacious Floydian melodies to jumpy technical passages that recall VDGG and Gentle Giant, often catching the listener off-guard and not afraid to put in some theatricality, Kletzmer folk melodies or rocking heaviness. But as mentioned, the sound is very modern, not dissimilar from Porcupine Tree or Demians.

As plenty of others have pointed out the compositional mastership is simply brilliant, so instead of trying to rephrase that thought in a lavish double paragraph, I'll spoil the fun by pointing out the one weakness I have found in this album. Luckily it's a point where the band can easily improve on with the next releases, but the weak link for me are the vocals; not the melodies as such, which are all verystrong, but I lack some conviction and confidence in their delivery. I'm sure it's just some growing pains that will go away from performing this material live. Another point is that the English vocals are quite heavily accented and at times that diminishes my enjoyment, especially on the more theatrical spoken work moments.

Apart from one minor gripe this is a stunning album that every lover of classic prog should get their hands on right away. Recommended!

Review by Menswear
5 stars A pearl!

Yes a pearl, but a jagged one. Excavations of the Mind is a brillant album, full of memorable melodies that make you want to press replay again and again...and again. They are fantastic at what they are doing: King Crimson-meets-Beardfish-mating-with-Violent District and -Tiles sang by a very friendly Tom Luchies. Ooh what to say? Even Camel gets a bit in the title song! Oh and congratulations on staying simple in the whole process, giving the proof you don't have to give a 78 minutes album to score high. Thank you guys, much appreciated.

I got hooked at the first listen. The first. It doesn't happen too often in my case, take that as a good sign. But every rose has it's thorn (thank you Brett Michaels for such prophetic words) : the production is making my bowels churn. Simply said, the sound's so compressed it's like listening a copy on a Maxell cassette from 1994. Oh Lord, those crash cymbals! And the hi-hat sound! Aargh.

I'm still giving 5 stars on this cookie despite the horrible compressed sound, this is HOW GOOD this album is.

Definitely out of nowhere and slapping you twice, one of my favorite albums of all time.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Promising young band from Rotterdam, Holland, started as an all instrumental trio in 2006 with Wabe Wieringa on guitars, Rik van Honk on keys and multi-instrumentalist Christiaan Bruin on drums.Later bassist Guus van Mierlo and vocalist Tom Luchies joined the band to form a stable quintet around 2008.Before they released anything,Bruin released his first solo album under the name ''Chris'' (''A Glimpse Inside'',2009,Musea Records) and the next year Sky Architect debuted with ''Excavations of the Mind'' on ProgRock Records.

Drawing influences from both the vintage (KING CRIMSON,GENESIS,GENTLE GIANT) and the contemporary prog scene (PORCUPINE TREE,RIVERSIDE,DREAM THEATER,PAIN OF SALVATION), Sky Architect present a mix of complex Heavy Prog with Indie and Psychedelic elements.The band tries to blend sensational,easily accesible but deep lyrical moments with complicated interplays and unusual patterns with a heavy edge,characterized by atmospheric passages and strong interplays.The retro aesthetics with the use of analog keys like organ and mellotron is constantly on battle with the use of sound effects and vocal distortions.The opening 20-min. epic ''Deep chasm'' is a great example of these characteristics with changing climates, strong instrumentation, heavy soloing but also an intense lyricism throughout.The rest of the tracks are more or less in the same vein, completing a semi-personal work,not always conveincing but definitely well-played.

If you like your prog menu to contain a both atmospheric and complicated dish with a modern taste,Sky Architect is your band.''Excavations of the Mind'' is an album,which shows a band with potential,good composing skills and talent and should be not overlooked.A recommended debut.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "It's everything you feel right now."

"Excavations of the Mind" by Sky Architect is an incredible labyrinthine musical journey that merges so many styles into its 50 minutes of prog excess. Immediately I was in awe of the virtuoso musicianship and vocals. It is full on prog with no holds barred inventiveness throughout. It was love at first hear and I would say this is one of the finest albums of 2010. The sound is similar to Riverside, Haken or some Pain of Salvation. The jazz fusion influences blend with metal riffs and symphonic passages of sheer beauty. The vocals are easy to understand and are pleasant overall. The inventiveness o the band is astonishing. The glorious quivering Hammond sound, blistering guitar breaks, spacey keyboard phrases, pulsing bass and jazz drumming are all here in one tight package. And that is only the first track. It begins with such gentle vocals harmonised perfectly; "dice games in my head, vice versa or to be me, locked between these wall of eyes and friendly paranoia." This is the unforgettable phrase that I couldn't get out of my head or days. The opening epic 'Chasm' is broken into 4 mind bending phases, and builds with King Crimson time sigs on piano and finally it ends with a narrative; "Now I can find my way out of my soul". "Oh no! Do stop, get me out of here" is repeated. It is very weird like Gentle Giant or Gong phrase.

Next is 'Grey Legend' with a hypnotic riff, and compelling lyrics; "He rides the shadows of your past, The lanes in your head, to the part, Where you cast out yourself at night, He's always there yet never here." Who is he? The lyrics are vague but I like the slowed down section with vocals "I look down on all you did, To all the things my life made sense, After you took control of all, The things you destroyed." The pace quickens and the lead guitar break is excellent. The band are incredibly tight changing time sigs constantly and a new feel towards the end changes everything delightfully. The melody at the closing section is haunting and creative.

'Russian Wisdom' is a rhythmic up tempo 4 bar track, with a wonderful mix of Hammond and wah-wah guitar phasing. The lead break in the intro is exceptional. It changes into circus jazz and a trumpet sound, very humorous, quirky and a bit like cardiac. The tempo slows considerably as the vocals begin, over an ambient dreamscape; "Green olives are closing in on me, It's a Sunday at a party in a morgue, Some Russian died, I don't care, Chance is I don't want to dare, To take that last green olive, Meteors will light the sky, Heavens will fall, oh my, Please don't tell me I'm just scared." After a while the song returns to another scorching phased lead break.

'Excavations Of the Mind' is next and it starts with an eerie melody on piano, reminding me of Atomic Rooster for a while. It finally locks into a very unusual time shift and a shimmering Hammond blesses my ears. An acoustic guitar drowns out a spacey effect, and some harmonies before the first verse. The melody is beautiful, hooking me instantly and caresses the ambience. The lyrics speak of the beauty of what we have right now is in our mind; "it's you in this freezing air, it's everything you feel right now." The time sig speeds into a frenzied chaos and then returns to the slow tempo effortlessly, and more vocals about "trouble on a highway", and "dreams of your empty lost." The next section is psychedelic prog. It then changes to a fractured signature, and an instrumental break of organ, acoustics, fuzzed guitar blasts, strong percussion, and then a lead guitar break fades it out. The musicianship is stunning here, a real moment of the album.

Last song is 'Gyrocopter' with a great piano motif and bass and drum rhythm off sync beautifully. It breaks into a pitchy soaring lead guitar solo, and the bass is magnificent changing into a chaotic tempo. The lead guitar continues and it is joined by unusual instrumentation in a change in direction. The vocals are kind of phased like speaking through a megaphone about a gyrocopter "hot steel whirling" and "fiery engine gyro burning." It is so short I have to listen to it twice to gain fulfilment. What an incredible track and only 2 minutes 53 in length. That lead guitar is once again mind bending.

As soon as it is over I immediately want to hear the whole thing again. That's the marks of a masterpiece for me. I absolutely love every moment of this, and I can't bring myself to rate it less than 5 stars. It is everything I love about modern prog, strong melodies, amazing intricate time sig changes, shimmering Hammond, catchy guitar riffs, scorching lead breaks, pleasant melodic singing, thoughtful lyrics, throwbacks to the 70s, textures of dark and light and sheer full blown progressive creativity from start to finish. It is not often so many aspects of music are blended so perfectly. I can say that Riverside and Haken do it and now Sky Architect.

"Excavations of the Mind" is up there with the greatest 2010 albums without a doubt!

Review by kev rowland
4 stars On playing this there are a few things that spring immediately to mind, such as wondering how on earth can this be a debut which is quickly followed by what on earth is this music doing in the 21st century? The reason for the latter question is that this is prog that has been heavily influenced in all the right ways by the Seventies and the only way I can describe it is by calling it 'open'. This is music that just begs the listener to come in, sit down and relax in the comfy armchair while being blown away by incredible multi-layered music that is somehow immediate and compelling. Apparently these are five young guys from Rotterdam, and it has been a while since I heard anything from Holland that is as exciting as this. It takes me back to the days when a parcel from Holland meant the next set of promos from the much-missed SI Music, and knowing that there would be music within to surprise and delight.

These guys obviously know their prog, and there are a whole host of influences (although the madcap section within 'Russian Wisdom' owes more to a polka band than it does a prog act!), with Gentle Giant probably have the biggest influence (and in my book that can never be a bad thing). It is no wonder that no expense has been spared on the artwork, and Mark Wilkinson has again produced a masterpiece that is matched by the music inside.

One of the most exciting debuts I have come across in recent years, and I can only hope that these guys stick with it as the prog scene is surely richer by having them in it.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars 3.5 stars for sure

Sky Architect from Holland was a very nice and pleasent surprise for me when their first album issued in 2010 Excavations of the mind pop in the musical market. Deeply influenced by giants from the '70s like Gentle Giant, Genesis but also incorporated some elements from "newer" generation of band let's say Spock's Beard, Sky Architect meleted those influence in a really pleasent, highly complex prog rock album full of intresting moments. This is the type of prog rock music that needing repeted listnings to fully catch the whole atmosphere. In some parts the instrumental sections are absolutly complicated to the extremes like opening 20 min pieces Deep Chasm, amazing musicianship and overall ideas, the complexity of the passages can envy every already established prog band in this field, impressive really. The title track is another highlight. The band combined very eficient Gentle Giant complicated moves to the symphonic parts of Genesis and added some more of their own to really created something worth investigated. Very strong album, not many bands pretend to have such skills and ideas, but Sky Architect really manage to come with a very enjoyble melodic yet very complex pieces of prog. Nice art work.3.5 stars

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars Some Flower Kings inspired prog puts me right to sleep but i was pleasantly surprised by the outfit called SKY ARCHITECT from Rotterdam. They sound like the Dutch version of Haken but i actually think they have a more mature approach to their sound. EXCAVATIONS OF THE MIND is their debut release and it just scratches my prog itch in the most satisfying way. First of all it is very melodic which always takes the lead but the variations off of the melody are just so brilliantly laid out and catchy as hell. The first track on this album is an instantly addictive parade of themes and ideas that reminds me of the changes that take place on Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells." As with many bands of this type, it's usually the vocalist that forces me to make an attitude adjustment. That meaning i usually don't like them and have to adapt through several listens, but on this album i adore Tom Luchies' vox box upon first listen even though it is not the best there is to be in the prog rock universe.

While SKY ARCHITECT can certainly fit into the sea of "retro progressive rock," you know, the kind that wants to sample everything from the past creating a retro experience that will stroke every prog lover's longing for the past, this one is really above the parade of copycats that have exploded upon the prog universe in recent times. No doubt they can conjure up all the proper checking the boxes category that borrows from Crimson, Yes, Gentle Giant and especially the Flower Kings and Neil Morse territory replete with prog metal leanings that can remind of Dream Theater and Pain Of Salvation with healthy doses of Porcupine Tree and even Pink Floyd moments in the mix, but SKY ARCHITECT seems to make this less irritating and genuinely meld them into an interesting categorization of the influences and add more than enough originality to make this effort feel like a legit inventive production.

What it really boils down to with this one is the ability to hook me with catchy melodies and keep enough of a retro thing as not to alienate the listener but by adding all kinds of original and unexpected elements that stem from recognizable non-prog sources as well as many aforementioned bonafide prog sources. EXCAVATIONS OF THE MIND is quite the interesting album that despite not quite offering up the next masterpiece of the modern era, still offers a rewarding and above average take on the whole retro prog scene. Well worth a first listen and beyond. The debut album by SKY ARCHITECT has more than enough creative elements to invite me to explore their discography further.

Latest members reviews

2 stars I never took the time to offer a review of this album, but I absolutely agree with Hygiène Mentale. Once, on a prog forum, an extremely brooding guy compared Sky Architect to BeardFish. I never understood why! If Guus van Mierlo had Robert Hanssen's bass playing, if the compositions had the class of ... (read more)

Report this review (#2656034) | Posted by Muskrat | Tuesday, December 28, 2021 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Excavations of the Mind is the 2010 album by the dutch band Sky Architect. I had a lot of expectations going in, mainly that this was going to be heavy, or interesting. I regret to report that is not the case. In all 51 minutes of this record, there was not a single interesting idea. I don't wan ... (read more)

Report this review (#2655973) | Posted by mental_hygiene | Monday, December 27, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Locked between these walls of eyes Successful and intelligent mix of acoustic and electric, with good dose of heavy and melody. Often, as in this case, I agree with the ratings. Excavations of the Mind is a qualified, well- executed and emotional album. Contains the freshness and variety of music ... (read more)

Report this review (#1088979) | Posted by sinslice | Thursday, December 12, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Sky Architect - Excavations of the Mind - **** (4.5 of 5) An impressive work of these great young people, Excavations of the Mind presents us with a music that reminds us to the endless walls of this progressive labyrinth, with a modern touch that makes it cooler even for an aspiring in progressi ... (read more)

Report this review (#657896) | Posted by AdrianoR. | Tuesday, March 13, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars "Excavations of the mind" is the excellent debut album of Sky Architect - a collection of 8 fresh, quirky, fairly original prog rock pieces that will capture and hold your interest for the whole 51 minutes of the album. The young Dutch quintet is very talented (guitarist Wabe Wieringa and keyboar ... (read more)

Report this review (#304968) | Posted by lukretio | Sunday, October 17, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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