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Skyfire - Spectral - Arise Records 2004 reviewed by: 1evil1

Track Listing

1.Conjuring The Thoughts
2.Effusion Of Strength
3.Shivering Shade
4.Cursed By Belief
5.Awake
6.Void Of Hope
7.A Dead Mans Race
8.Shadow Creator
9.Tranquillitys Maze

Imagine if you combined the best elements of early In Flames and Dark Tranquillity. What you would get is a brilliant cd entitled "Spectral" from a lesser known Swedish band called Skyfire. They are kinda like a well kept secret even with this being their third release.

A brutal, heavy and melodic sound are the things the Swedish scene brings to metal and Skyfire executes them all well and exceedes the competition. Henriks vocals are excellent and the drumming is godly thanks to the amazing strength of Joakim. All the song structures are excellent with enough hooks to keep you listening to each song all the way through and over again. The production is superb thanks to another over achiever Andy La Rocque.

I could easily say this is one of the best CDs I've heard this year, but the one complaint I have with "Spectral" are the keyboards. Sometimes they are just out of place or they are too uplifting with a bubbly kind of sound. Some example are the intro to track number 2--"Effusion Of Strength". There is this great intro riff then the keys come in with a happy uplifting sound to them that makes the song lose something right at the beginning. "Shivering Shade" is another excellent composition, but with bubbly keyboards throughout this song. On track 4 the song has been heavy and fast and all of a sudden we have this intermission in the song with the keyboards just fluttering around then they go back to the aggressive sound almost like they needed a break. Listen to the first 2 minutes of "Awake" pay attention to how much more intense this song would be without the keyboards distracting you. There are too many examples of this through out the album for me to continue listing them so you will have to judge for yourself and depending on how much you like keyboard you may think I'm full of shit, who knows.

I will say this, the keyboards are not more promenent than the other instruments and 70% of the time the keys are fine; it's just that the other 30% that leaves you going "what the hell are they doing here?". There is also some sweet guitar work on this album with one of my favs being "A Dead Mans Race". Easily one of my favorite CDs of the year so far and would have been my number one without those distracting keys. Skyfire is definitely raising the ante for the Swedish scene and putting to shame all the others who can't stay true to their sound.

Continue to kick some ass guys!

--1evil1 06.16.04
Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: SKYFIRE
CD
TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
SpectralSkyfire
2004
Troy Cole6/16/2004


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