Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Sky Architect

Heavy Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sky Architect A Billion Years of Solitude album cover
3.93 | 192 ratings | 11 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Curious One (18:06)
2. Wormholes (The Inevitable Collapse of the Large Hadron Collider) (5:52)
3. Tides (3:24)
4. Elegy of a Solitary Giant (10:43)
5. Jim's Ride to Hell (2:27)
6. Revolutions (8:00)
7. Traveller's Last Candle (12:43)

Total Time 61:15

Line-up / Musicians

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

- Maartje Dekker / vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Rik van Honk

CD Galileo Records ‎- GLR113CD (2013, UK)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy SKY ARCHITECT A Billion Years of Solitude Music

SKY ARCHITECT A Billion Years of Solitude ratings distribution

(192 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (30%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

SKY ARCHITECT A Billion Years of Solitude reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Listening to this album every day for the past three weeks has not changed my initial opinion, though part of my motivation for so many repeat listens was due to the fact that I really wanted to rate this album higher. It's just not meant to be. The album is bookended by two epics--both of which rank among my favorite songs of the year--but the other songs in between fail to rate as highly--they lack anything really special to attract me back in. The two epics, however, "The Curious One" (18:06) (10/10) and "Traveller's Last Candle" (12:43) (9/10) are intriguing for their fresh and rather unique flow--including the blending of some quite unusual styles, from THE TEA CLUB to TANGERINE DREAM to AMPLIFIER to ANUBIS to world music and to I'm-not-sure-where, but it's fun. A group I discovered with their debut and knew I wanted to keep an eye out for their next works--which I have--and I'm glad I have. They have grown and improved. It's just that there's still room for more. (Improvement, that is.)

Solid 4 stars. Give a listen; see what you think!

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars 'A Billion Years of Solitude' is an album I was drawn to having been so impressed with the masterpiece debut 'Excavations of the Mind", an album that I hailed as one of the greatest of 2010, a labyrinthine musical journey that merges so many styles into its 50 minutes of prog excess. I was in awe of the virtuoso musicianship and no holds barred inventiveness throughout by Sky Architect. So I was really looking forward to more of the same on this recent release, a followup to 'A Dying Man's Hymn' in 2011, that I somehow missed. The lineup of virtuosos consist of Tom Luchies on vocals, guitars, Wabe Wieringa on guitars, Guus van Mierlo on bass, Christiaan Bruin on drums, Rik van Honk on keyboards, Mellotron, Grand piano, Hammond organ, Rhodes piano, Clavinet, Moog synth, Wurlitzer, flugelhorn, trumpet, and Maartje Dekker on the wineglasses.

Again, the sound is similar to Riverside, Haken or Pain of Salvation with smatterings of King Crimson, and Dream Theater. The jazz fusion influences are melded beautifully with metal riffs and gorgeous symphonic passages. The shimmering Hammond staccato crashes are reminiscent of modern prog on the heavier side such as Riverside. You really feel it on 'Wormholes (The Inevitable Collapse Of The Large Hadron Collider). The time sig changes on this track alone are awesome. It moves from a heavy guitar riff to some quirky jazzy guitar and squiggly little effects, impossible to describe really. Then it launches full tilt at ramming speed with a wall of guitars and keys over a relentless hammering drum and bass. The album actually starts with a brilliant epic clocking 18 minutes, 'The Curious One', and this is exceptional by any standards with spacey blistering guitar, manic keyboards, and King Crimsonish basslines all wrapped in one neat little package. 'Tides' is another great track opening with heavy distorted guitar riff and Pink Floyd verses, crystal clean vocals and I love how the riffs collide with the odd musical layers, sounding delightfully off sync. Some nice whimsical flute sections blend into a concoction of noisy overlayed keys and that guitar riff.

This is followed by piano intro and creepy effects on 'Elegy of a Solitary Giant', encompassing a wonderful guitar melody embellished by jaunty keyboards. It switches to fragmented tempo and builds into the first verse of gentle vocals and spacey atmospherics. I love how the metal guitar crashes through so brutally, and the whole psychedelic vibe is glorious. An ethereal section of horns and echoing voices leads into a piano solo, beautiful on its own with a lonely solitude. Then the heavy guitars break through with an incredible power and catchy riff over a fractured signature. There is a screaming freak out of feedback on guitar and brilliant layered lead riffs moving to the next piano solo. A spacey ambience dominates that has a dreamy lulling effect on the senses, reminiscent of the intro to 'Shine On'. The exquisite harmonies are well executed, and cap off a brilliant track that ranks as one of the masterpieces from the band.

This is followed by a shorter track, less than 3 minutes, 'Jim's Ride to Hell'. It opens with slow doomy building lead guitar and then unleashes into fuzzed guitar riffing over a spacey keyboard. Some jaunty blasts of guitar, strong percussion, and an infectious organ phrase dominate and then the instrumental comes to a conclusion. The musicianship is stunning on 'Revolutions', 8 minutes of prog inventiveness, opening with a catchy keyboard hook and some outstanding lead guitar soloing. The bass and drum rhythm complement each other with tight precision as a disordered tempo locks in. It settles into chiming guitar and the welcome return of the vocals. The lyrics are intriguing 'spare us, for us to understand that if we were to last, we'd have to rise and make a stand, we will overcome, we shall be as one spirit, revolution must save us from them so we can never last.' The lead break has a majestic quality and competes with some off beat drum and bass rhythms with shimmering Hammond, and an extended final burst of prog; simply outstanding music by any standard.

The album ends with another epic 'Traveller's Last Candle', running out to 12 and a half minutes. The track meanders along dreamily with ambient passages blurred into heavier guitar treatments and reflective vocals, until we get to the 5:50 mark when an instrumental passage takes over. The guitars are a powerful presence but there is always the keyboard layers and the darker tense moments are balanced with light melancholia. A nice touch is the sound of wineglasses played by Maartje Dekker. Towards the end of the track it moves into odd time sig and a soundscape of guitars with the epic finale feel heard on many a concept album over the years. The feel reminded me of the end of The Beatles' 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)', with loud screaming guitars, distortion and effects. It comes crashing to its conclusion capping off an incredible album.

Sky Architect are a band that somehow encompass everything that I love about prog and in a similar way to the debut, as soon as it is over I immediately want to hear the whole album from the start to end again. The powerful riffs and inventive time sig changes, along with lashings of lead guitar soloing and blasts of quivering Hammond really make this an exceptional listening experience. It is a rare thing to love an album at first listen but I was absolutely floored with this masterful album; from the moment it began it had me hooked. Sky Architect are an outstanding prog band that deserve to receive more exposure in the prog community as they are far superior than a lot of the more popular prog artists out there.

Review by Warthur
4 stars 2013 has been a busy year for Christiaan Bruin - not only did he put out the very capable Days of Summer Gone under his solo alter ego of Chris, but he also served his accustomed role as drummer in Sky Architect for this release. Of the two albums, this is the more traditional- sounding of the two, with standard prog instrumentation and far less in the way of guest appearances and classical musical backing than Days of Summer Gone, but equally it's punchier, heavier, and like Days of Summer Gone it's a charming and instantly accessible album which will entertain most prog fans.
Review by Second Life Syndrome
4 stars I'd be the first one to admit that I wasn't a big fan of Sky Architect. Originally, I was excited about them simply because of their style (on paper), their art, and, heck, even their supremely awesome name. However, when I heard "Excavations of the Mind" and "A Dying Man's Hymn" (dang, what is with their amazing naming ability), something ultimately fell flat for me. Well, that is no more. "A Billion Years of Solitude" has finally given me what I always wanted in Sky Architect's sound.

This band is generally very rock-based in their sound. They are definitely like a cross between Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, and other 70's prog. That's the last I will mention other groups, however, as Sky Architect has their own sound. It is richly rocky, spiritually personal, and, with this new release, I can add wonderfully spacey. Yes, I think that's what I was missing in their first two releases: a fleshed-out space rock vibe. In "A Billion Years of Solitude", the band gives us an amazing ethereal vibe involving everything from synth to horns and wine glasses (yes, you read that correctly). This personality is fresh and inspiring, and it joins Tom Luchies' vocals as being an emotional focal point of the band.

The musicians are all noteworthy in their chops ability, certainly. What impresses me the most, however, is the unity of the group. Their sound is very cooperative. Sure, there are plenty of guitar and keyboard solos, but the band is ever behind them to the point where it doesn't seem like showboating. So, this core sound is an awesome foundation for the surreal and celestially somber emotional content that this album brings. This sense of drifting, ever drifting, in the vacuum of space is palpable throughout the album. It leaves quite an impression.

I think there are some obvious favorite tracks here. The opening epic, "The Curious One" is soaked in high-tuned guitar work and funky space vibes. "Elegy of a Solitary Giant" features an amazingly eccentric groove mixed with beautiful piano and sorrowful horns. Lastly, the best song on the album is "Traveller's Last Candle". This epic set piece is structured so well with its rocky vibe that gives way to mournful keyboard interludes. It's truly outstanding, and probably one of the best tracks from 2013.

Sky Architect has made another fan. This album is awesome in every sense. I love the personality that the band has injected into "A Billion Years of Solitude", and the emotion content here has also perked my ears. If you are a prog fan, you need to hear this album.

Review by kev rowland
4 stars When I first came across this Dutch band and their 2010 debut I was incredibly impressed, feeling that they were taking me back to the days when SI Music was consistently releasing great albums. But now they have stepped it up a notch and are moving quite a way from where they were before. There are still the swathes of keyboards that give a strong Seventies feel as a backdrop to much of what they are doing, but they have obviously been paying attention much more to Dream Theater and have definitely increased the note density. There are times when this is a much more metallic album than they have produced before, but they can just as easily drop into a funk groove or provide us some Riverside or Porcupine Tree touches before going off in yet another direction.

The only term that could ever be used for these guys is "progressive" as they are pushing boundaries in what they are doing, although not exactly King Crimson in approach there are definitely some similarities with their outlook. And whenever you see a flugelhorn listed in the instruments you can pretty much guarantee that you are in for something quite out of the ordinary. When Tom is singing then one wonders why they don't use him in that facility much more, then when they are in full blast as instrumentalists one wonders why they bother with vocals at all. They seem able to put their mind and skills to anything that they want to do, but also manage to keep it reigned in so that the music always still makes sense and doesn't go off onto long meaningless tangents as is always the risk.

Somehow they manage to keep this open and free, not constraining what is going on but letting the music take flight: where some prog bands want to be insular and controlling, these guys act more as conduits and move wherever they are driven. Yet another great release from the flying Dutchmen.

Review by friso
5 stars Sky Architect - A billion years of solitude (2013)

Dutch eclectic modern progressive rock band Sky Architect really got my attention with their surprisingly sophisticated and well performed debut album in 2010. I've wondered since then why it was received with such mild enthusiasm.

This third record 'A billion years of solitude' is yet another great modern progressive rock record, but this time a bit more in line with my personal taste. There is more breathing space in the compositions (something a seventies prog listener like me would like) and the drums are playing a more constructive and lively role. The recording sounds a bit more like a live recording and the guitar has a great natural tone, especially when its clean. The composition itself has daring harmonic constructions in interesting rhythmical contexts, some chord-progressions are really original.

The band distinguishes itself from peers like Porcupine Tree, Riverside and the modern Opeth in its interesting sound pallet (even some wind-instruments), its more daring experimentation (sometimes almost avant-prog) and the absence of poppy refrains. Furthermore, the range of dynamics presented in the 18 minute opening track 'The curious one' reminds us a bit of King Crimson's symphonic sound. This is perhaps most apparent on the epic 'Elegy of a solitary giant'. To me Sky Architect has found one of the best mixes of retro and modern progressive sounds. In addition, they sound like a band playing music - an enjoyable feature often missed in modern progressive rock.

This album, though not too light, could hardly be called heavy prog because of its eclectic nature. Genres covered are symphonic prog, jazz-rock, avantprog and spacerock.

Conclusion. Sky Architect really has something original to add to modern progressive rock. Not an easy album to get into perhaps, but I think this album is great for listeners who like there progressive rock with a capital P. It even sounds mystical at times. One of my favorite modern prog records, therefore a full score is well deserved.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars I really enjoyed this band's debut from 2010 called "Excavations Of The Mind" but skipped their next one after seeing some not so favourable reviews. This most recent recording by SKY ARCHITECT is pretty darn good but in my opinion it doesn't match the quality of the debut which was two years in the making.

"The Curious One" has a dramatic intro that gives way to some meandering drum work and spacey sounds. Strummed guitar and spacey synths take over after 3 minutes. Reserved vocals after 5 minutes then it starts to kick in after 7 minutes instrumentally, an impressive display. The vocals will proceed to come and go as the song plays out. I like the laid back atmospheric section starting after 12 minutes, especially when the spacey sounds are added. It kicks back in before 15 minutes for a kick-ass ending. "Wormholes(The Inevitable...)" opens with vocals, drums, organ and more before it settles into a groove although this song will continue to evolve and change. Some good organ runs late before we get a big finish. "Tides" is one I like a lot with those melancholic vocals which are the focus. Water sounds end it.

"Elegy Of A Solitary Giant" opens with piano and atmosphere before it kicks into an ANGLAGARD-like section which is really surprising and well done. It changes after 2 minutes with reserved vocals and a mellow sound. It starts to build. Horns 4 minutes in which is another surprise. A calm with piano like the intro follows then it kicks back in after 5 1/2 minutes. Impressive. Piano and a mellow vibe again before 8 minutes as we get a dreamy section with more horns. It's heavier late to end it. "Jim's Ride To Hell" is a really good kick-ass instrumental with some great bottom end sounds with atmospheric synths. Check out the guitar as well. "Revolutions" is my favourite and it has a punchy instrumental passage to start that is quite impressive along with the guitar before a minute. Organ to the fore then we get a calm before 2 1/2 minutes with vocals. Some nice guitar as a new instrumental section takes over at 5 minutes, but the vocals will come and go. "Traveller's Last Candle" is a catchy vocal-led piece that changes before 2 minutes with mellotron and manipulated spoken words. A calm with melancholic synths before 3 minutes then the vocals return a minute later. I like the way it drifts along after 5 minutes then it kicks back in. Vocals are back before 10 minutes then an intense slow burn ends it all. Nice.

3.5 stars but i'll stick with the debut when I reach for a SKY ARCHITECT album.

Review by poslednijat_colobar
5 stars New creative peak of the band as of its release

In the best year of the prog for the decade - 2013, the Dutch eclectic grandmasters Sky Architect came out with their best album up to that date - A Billion Years of Solitude /later surpassed by Nomad/. This album suggests complete ideas of music developments and shaping of constant style of songwriting and musicianship in the eclectic field for the youngsters. The production avoids lots of flaws and inconsistencies of the early immature Sky Architect containing in the first two albums. They are playing with the tunes and tonalities here, but still are not masters with tempo shifts in VDGG/GG/Beardfish/Anglagard/Yes manner /what later will happen in their fourth effort - Nomad/. The Space rock/Post rock flavour is strongly emerging in A Billion Years of Solitude. Strong recommendation for 10s prog lovers. 4,5 stars

One of the best albums out of the best year of the decade - 2013!

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Sky Architect third album from 2013 A billion yesr of solitude is another great complex prog rock release in their catalogue. They describe their music like this 'music from the heart with a technical edge" - I'm agree with them, all their albums are extremply complicated but with all that all fans of the genre will be pleased for sure. As I said before they embrace the golden age of prog with similarities of Yes, maybe this time the Gentle Giant is not so obvious on this album , The Flower Kings, King Crimson aswell. This is primarly heavy prog with edgy guitars but never metalic with symphonic prog all done in complicated way, nice duelings between musicians, top drumer, what else a fully enjoyble release from this dutch band. From the opening an 18 min kick ass tune - The Curious One - really they know to handle the instruments, what a piece, what a musicianship, I think not many bands from today can play like them. Nice shifting tempos, from piano to more up tempo they melted the arrangements very well and quite intresting like on another worthy piece - Elegy Of A Solitary Giant. The rest of the pieces are aswell top, long elaborated, exactly how I like this style to be. I think Sky Architect fully desearve to be known, all thier 4 albums worth to be investigated, definetly easy listning, but those used with this aproach can easly take a listen, evry album is good to great. One of the respected bands in last almost a decade in prog rock realm. 3.5 stars for sure.

Latest members reviews

5 stars This is an album that takes some time to "get," but it's definitely worth it. The first track, "The Curious One," is a long, space-y epic, that begins with a drum roll into a great melody that sounds like something out of a movie, followed by a lot of sound effects and overall weirdness that really ... (read more)

Report this review (#1389984) | Posted by Stiyekton | Sunday, March 29, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Listening to this album I can t understand why is so underrated . Nothing to miss from the first albums. Nevertheless this is a band from Netherlands this heavy prog (sometimes RIO ,sometimes psychedelic space rock...) sounds very much like a Scandinavian prog rock bang as Landberk ,ANEKD ... (read more)

Report this review (#1073725) | Posted by robbob | Thursday, November 7, 2013 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of SKY ARCHITECT "A Billion Years of Solitude"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.