I’ve already gone into why you should be listening to Shattered Skies in my review of their debut EP Reanimation. The short version: they are a seriously good prog metal band with a satisfyingly djenty touch. Pianomation is their second release, and while it isn’t as essential as their first effort, it’s still definitely worth a listen.
Opening track ‘As The Sea Divides’ is more of the same great stuff that was on Reanimation, opening with some very sci-fi styled synths and an urgent piano melody that sounds like it would fit happily into a Mass Effect soundtrack. This is followed by a fantastic, multilayered instrumental intro where the keys effortlessly float above a powerful rumble from the guitars. There’s also some amazing guitar in the second verse that shows Ian Rockett really going above and beyond the call, followed up by some extremely nice soloing. The guitar tone feels just a tiny bit cleaner as well, providing a more controlled sound.
The rest of the album is made up of piano-and-vocals-only versions of three songs from Reanimation. The choice to use an acoustic piano provides a sound that is the complete antithesis of the band’s usual plugged in, Line 6 POD and keyboard approach. All of the songs are reimagined very well, and the reinterpretations offer a chance to really appreciate vocalist Sean Murphy’s significant talent. The only thing is that I really like the interplay between the melodic and the harsh parts of Shattered Skies’s sound. With no guitars to offset the keys and the vocals, half of the band’s signature approach is gone.
Fundamentally, what you get for your two euros is one excellent new song and three very nicely performed curiosities that’ll be worth a listen when you aren’t in the mood for double kicks and screaming. In my mind, that is more than value for money.
Shattered Skies’s Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shatteredskiesband