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Abodean Skye - Echoes of an Astral Empire CD (album) cover

ECHOES OF AN ASTRAL EMPIRE

Abodean Skye

 

Progressive Metal

3.53 | 10 ratings

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Dougie of Anubis
4 stars Abodean Skye is a band I'd never actually heard until the announcement of 'Echoes of an Astral Empire' despite seeing references somewhere I couldn't quite put my finger on until it came to me, the YouTube page of Vocal Cover sensation Will Shaw. I always wondered what this gifted, nimble tenor would choose to put his name and voice against in an original setting as his covers of classic and progressive metal vocalists are a staple of many aspiring vocalists who search the internet for education and inspiration.

The band although not just a manifestation of Shaw is a combined effort with Bogdan Vera (Synthesizers, Bass) and Henry Mahy (Guitars) and I dare say that Bogdan leads the composition from dominance of the keyboards and orchestrations in the mix.

I am often drawn to the synth laden and modern sheen of bands that have layered synths as a part of their sonic landscape but when juxtaposed with more typical metal songwriting and instrumentation, it is very important that the instruments work with synergy, whilst there are a moments of that on this album, it does very much have a self produced feel where the drums especially don't feel commercially ready, this is probably the element that lets the music down a bit and limits the effectiveness of the band reaching its vision despite the competence and often technical prowess of the performances across the board. If the general mix and integration of synth elements was better integrated into the sound, this album could truly be something special. I think it would also allow Shaw's voice to shine and build dynamics as it is demonstrably capable of as the star of the show regardless.

The writing especially with the orchestrations are quite interesting and hearken back to the 8 and 16 bit gaming console composers of yesteryears; something, I, unlike many others am very attracted to when it works to serve the song. In most times this is the case and it serves and provides the primary interest of the songwriting.

The guitar compositions are quite typical of neoclassical infused power metal and is reminiscent of Symphony X, which is fitting given that Shaw's vocal sensibilities and timbre are very similar to that of Sir Allen's throughout the album. I do feel like they take a sometimes unwittingly subordinate role to the electronic textures.

My favourite tracks are Ancient Souls, Battle of Tears, Chaos: Entropy and Return of the Fleet and a particularly nice effect is the segued tracks to form part of a synthetic and futuristic journey.

With a more varied guitar approach to achieve a bit more balance between instruments and band member roles, I feel like this band could be something quite special next time around. A different sampling library or real drummer would definitely help matters too. This all being said, I am not as much into the more progressive metal style as much anymore and the Dougie of 3 years ago may have felt this deserved an extra 0.5-1 points.

7/10 (3.5 rounded to 4 Stars for PA System)

Dougie of Anubis | 4/5 |

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