Disc 1: 1.Illusion:Dots, 2.Illusion:Order66, 3.Illusion:Catharsis, 4.Illusion:Night,
5.Illusion:Aurora, 6.Illusion:Celestial, 7.Illusion:Maeva
Disc 2: 8.Chaos:Trayus, 9.Chaos:Aphasia,10.Chaos:Insurrection
Keshav Dhar:Guitar,Anup Sastry: Drums Nikhil Rufus: Bass
Daniel Tompkins:Vocals, Sunneith Revankar: Vocals,
Marty Friedman: Guitar, Vishal J. Singh: Guitar
To say this somewhat of anticipated album for me would be somewhat of understatement. To say this album totally exceeded all my expectations would be entirely accurate however. Time may force me to look back somewhat sheepishly on this statement but this is one of, if not the best, heavy album I’ve heard in the last five years.
The album comprises of two discs ‘Illuusion’ and ‘Chaos’, the latter being a much more aggressive proposition when compared to the more melodic and ambient nature of the ‘Illusion’ disc. It’s a split that serves the album greatly, making the concept of the two ‘themes’ incredibly coherent. Part of this may also be due to brevity of the double album, with only ten tracks over all and only 3 of those belonging the assault of ‘Chaos’. Other bands take note: concept albums need not be absurd in length. We would instead prefer you take a leaf from Skyharbor’s book and provide us with absurd quality throughout.
The instrumental work on the album is perfectly balanced between the traditional metallic focus on technicality and virtuosity and a focus on song-writing rarely seen in a band’s first release. The ‘Illusion’ disc running the gauntlet from the riff filled burst of ‘Catharsis’ the shuffling electronic percussion and ambient guitars of ‘Night’. The dynamics throughout the longer tracks are impressive, in my mind bearing more resemblance to compositions than songs. Which given the international collaborative nature of this project makes perfect sense. This music born more of consideration than of passionate jamming.
The previous sentence creating a suitable segue way lets discuss the collaborative nature of the project. Vocal duties are split between Sunneith Revankar and Daniel Tompkins, formerly of TesseracT, the former providing the impressive range of aggressive bellows and screams on the Chaos disc and the former providing the more sensual and ethereal melodies of ‘Illusion’. Make no mistake though, Tompkins delivers some of his most aggressive vocals to date on parts of ‘Illusion’ providing even more proof his phenomenal technique and range of vocals. Many of his arrangements and effects choices are inspired, every vocal part existing in its own lush sound world that texture the tracks on which he takes part even further. The same applies to Revankar on his tracks, his vocals also sitting perfectly over the frantic fret work and blistering drums of ‘Chaos’.
Of course, the vast majority of credit should go to Skyharbor main man Keshav Dhar. This album is his baby, as he wrote the music, recorded the music, produced the music, mixed the music and chose his collaborators with exceptional taste. The melodic lead guitar work of former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman is superb, much better than anything Megadeth have ever done, and Vishal J. Singh is certain to find himself now a rising guitar hero of the international metal scene after his contributions to this album. An album, which I may have already mentioned, is absolutely stunning.
If you like progressive, beautiful and wonderful heavy music you need this album in your life. If not, the loss is certainly yours. And the rest of us will point and laugh at you.
Click here to follow Skyharbor on Facebook for more information and awesome stuff. The album is available in physical and digital formats from April 23rd in the UK/EU and April 24th in the US. Click here to buy the album or a pre-order package from the Basick Records Bandcamp site. The best place to buy from to support the artist.