Skyfire - Spectral
Arise Records
Progressive Melodic Death Metal
9 songs (43:10)
Release year: 2004
Skyfire, Arise Records
Reviewed by Jay
Album of the month

The melodic death magicians Skyfire have returned with their third full length and without a doubt this is their finest work of their young career. Each aspect of this recording is carefully designed and planned to show that these guys can be brutal, poetic and masterful in their delivery of all things metal. We have the softness of their keyboards juxtaposed against grinding guitars and blast beats. We have manic screams squaring off against a booming low end that demolishes everything in sight. These guys know their trade when it comes to recording another spectacular album. Make no mistake; this here is a truly unique and underrated band that the entire metal world needs to take a new look at.

So why isn’t Skyfire as recognized as bands like Children of Bodom or Dark Tranquility that have a sound which incorporates keyboards as a main effect? Well, most narrow-minded metalheads out there scream copycat at the top of their lungs when anything refreshingly different begins to challenge their shallow view of the state of bands. Skyfire has truly set themselves apart from these bands beginning with their first album that owed more to say Rhapsody than to Bodom. Their current sound, while it has added many progressive elements (especially in the choice of bass parts), still maintains some aspects of the epic qualities of power metal. Their keyboards are reminiscent of Bodom and I won’t deny that but no aspect of their recording is a facsimile of any other band. While some people are going to hear the song "Void of Hope" and dismiss it as a copy of "Hate Me!" there is so much more going on here. Beats blasting to hell, neo-classical keyboard parts, progressive guitar hits and the essence of all things gel perfectly with production befitting the best bands. Skyfire really has stepped up their production since their first album. While I loved Timeless Departure, it needed work in the recording department. The band obviously knew this and worked very diligently to improve this. The result is a crystal clear production with another perfectly balanced mix that any fan could be proud of.

The album kicks off with "Conjuring the Thoughts," one of the best opener songs of this year. The guitar perfectly supports the main keyboard melody with the drums providing a perfect platform to balance all the elements. Henrik Wenngren’s screams certainly add an explosive element to the music as he is competent at traditional melodeath delivery and a higher pitched delivery bordering on black metal. The song switches gears about half way through becoming a masterpiece of progressive experimentation with odd drumming and guitar mastery. "Cursed by Belief," offers a refreshing take on the triumphant melodies many power metal bands feature. Skyfire draws influence from unusual places for their brand of metal and then manages to harmonize them perfectly with standard fare for their music. I could also mention the closer "Tranquilitys Maze" which draws influence from what seems to be the dungeon music in the original Zelda game on Nintendo. Or how about "Shivering Shade," which features a drum progression from slow to fast culminating in blast beats.

This is a band that defies convention and is an original. Say what you want about them but they are the real deal. The metal community needs to wake up and experience this amazing talent that has been in their face for the past few years. Hail Skyfire!

Killing Songs :
Conjuring the Thoughts, Void of Hope, Cursed by Belief, Awake, Tranquilitys Maze
Jay quoted 96 / 100
Jason quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Skyfire that we have reviewed:
Skyfire - Esoteric reviewed by Kyle and quoted 90 / 100
Skyfire - Haunted by Shadows MCD reviewed by Jay and quoted no quote
Skyfire - Mind Revolution reviewed by Jay and quoted 90 / 100
Skyfire - Timeless Departure reviewed by Danny and quoted 80 / 100
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