Skylark - Wings
Scarlet Records
Eurovision Metal
8 songs (52:32)
Release year: 2004
Skylark, Scarlet Records
Reviewed by Jay

Despite being an American, I watched the Eurovision Song Contest and do so each year thanks to the miracle of the internet. Italy seemed a glaring omission in this year’s contest. Then I heard the new Skylark album and realized that this could be their submission to the contest next year! The most shockingly inaccurate thing I have read recently is this band's promo sheet that calls their music Speed/Power metal! Their music on this album is clearly not that style of metal at all. These Italians are producing music which can be described as poppy folk rock in the style of most songs heard in the song contest. It is a shame that most of their songs are over three minutes in length, thus disqualifying any of the songs from being part of the contest.

With catchy hooks, thick layers of keyboards, upbeat, happy lyrics and tempos, it does still meet the outer fringes of what can be considered power metal. Just not power metal most people are used to hearing. Imagine Stratovarius trying to play pop music with broad appeal as their main goal and you will understand. The impact of the drum beats are softened, vocal harmonies abound and there is always a hookish element trying to keep the listener ensnared in a sonic trap. Kicking off to "Rainbow in the Dark" (not to be confused with Dio), the band combines elements of John Lennon’s ballads with a power ballad format and the result sounds more like a lounge act than metal. The guitar eventually comes in and it seems sanitized rather than killing. This song does speed up towards the end and enter familiar musical territory but somehow it does not have the same feel as other bands. With such spectacular releases like Dragonforce’s "Sonic Firestorm" and Edguy’s "Hellfire Club" already coming out this year, this one cannot hold a pin nee a candle to either of those albums.

"Another Reason to Believe," "Belzebu 2," and "Faded Fantasy," are all long and droning songs that are incredibly boring. It is not that they are bad musically, just uninspired and fake somehow. "Last Ride" finally adds an injection of speed and melody that isn’t floating around in fairy octaves. It is an easy call to put this as my favorite track of the album. The over reliance on keyboards and upper register music is tiresome. As are the cymbal sounds which sound more like sword and shield sound effects from Lord of the Rings than crashes. This disc closes out with a keyboard driven cover of Def Leppard’s "When Love and Hate Collide." I was never the biggest Def Leppard fan but they seem to do a good job with this track. Many people complain about the cheese factor of power metal, while not as cheesy as many other bands out there, Skylark does really nothing to help their cause either with their lyrical content.

While an acoustic experiment can be interesting (ex. Opeth), Skylark really has nothing that quite attracts you to this music to make repeat listens interesting. Like pop music, it is disposable and replaced by the next thing to come along. If it was an experiment, the experiment failed.

Killing Songs :
Last Ride
Jay quoted 58 / 100
Other albums by Skylark that we have reviewed:
Skylark - Fairytales reviewed by Ian and quoted 60 / 100
Skylark - The Princess' Day reviewed by Marty and quoted 79 / 100
Skylark - Gate Of Heaven reviewed by Chris and quoted 79 / 100
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