Skyfire – Esoteric

skyfireNot your stereotypical Swedish death metal band here. Skyfire opt for a much cleaner, prog metal persona in delivery and technicality, yet their compositions walk the line between complexity and strong hooks. A very punchy production unveils meaty harmonies that swim within a sea of flamboyant synth work that can be subtle, but most often finds the keyboardist showing off his chops as his fingers alight to match the precision blast beats and otherwise interesting twists in the song structures. I really have to state here that “Esoteric” really isn’t within a style of death influenced metal that I give much thought to or care about. The talent is commendable for sure, but this is where I tend to sign off on a band for being too commercial or polished. Yes, Skyfire is both of those things, but for some reason, after my initial indifference to the material on this CD, I left it in the player and started to become familiar with the music. It had a chance to get its hooks in me so to speak, for there are truly some powerful movements on this album that are very well considered and executed. Vocalist Joakim Karlsson’s delivery is a mid ranged, though completely discernable screaming style that’s always consistent and effective at highlighting the segments of music beneath him with power and clarity. Though I find the synth work on this album to be a bit excessive and far too polished to be taken all that seriously; it is the songwriting itself on “Esoteric” that eventually won me over. The riffs are bloated with memorable melodies and interesting phrases. There’s a lot of tight, palm muted crunch riffs that eventually give way to speed picking, and soaring harmonies that strike home every time with a strong sense of drama and color. Again… I’m quite surprised that I ended up liking this album, for I really tend to dislike the more mainstream side of extreme metal, but I’m a sucker for well written music and Skyfire have done their homework. Will I hunt down this bands past efforts? No. I’ll just take “Esoteric” as the personal stylistic anomaly it turned out to be for me, and pull it out of the collection maybe once a year for a dose of well written and proggy death metal. –Marty

Pivotal Recordings

~ by martyworm on September 5, 2009.

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