There are some bands that just grab your attention and absolutely refuse to let go. Shattered Skies are without a doubt one of those; they’ve managed to craft an absolutely fantastic debut that has the kind of sound that you would expect from a band that has been hard at work for a decade. Phil has already gone into why you should see them at Bloodstock next week, so allow me to explain why they should’ve been in your stereo since Reanimation was released last year.
Shattered Skies have a really elegant approach that sounds more or less like what would result from Periphery sneaking into Dream Theater’s studio after they had completed an album and rerecording all the guitars. I’m really not much of a djent fan but it’s used very well in Reanimation – the many-stringed guitars and meaty tone provide an absolutely devastating rhythm section. However, they aren’t allowed to completely dominate the songs, so the band are able to offer much more than simple Meshuggah worship. ‘This Is What We Built’ demonstrates the breadth of the influences on display throughout the album – it begins with an absolutely massive Gojira-style riff and goes on to show flashes of each of the bands I’ve already mentioned, along with their own unique personality. Shattered Skies are obviously made up of a group of extremely accomplished musicians, but they never fall victim to the temptation to venture into overlong technical exercises. Nevertheless, with only a single track under the six minute mark they definitely tap into prog-metal’s love for complex, extended songs.
The way that keys are used in Reanimation reminds me of Nightwish – throughout the album they provide a perfect atmospheric background to the guitars. They also regularly come to the fore and offer the more melodic hooks that the guitars have too much bite to provide. From the beginning of opener ‘Beneath The Waves’ they offer a constantly shifting wall of distortion, but you can still hear the precision in Ian Rockett’s performance – every strum is carefully calculated. Occasionally the mood shifts to comparatively delicate finger-picked solos which tend more towards a Dream Theater-styled sound. While these passages aren’t as exciting as those featuring the band in full flow, I’d imagine getting bored of the constant bass rumble of the guitars if they weren’t there.
What this all comes down to is that Shattered Skies are one of the most exciting new bands I’ve heard in a long time. That they’re offering this album for free is just a bonus, something you should take advantage of before the band realises their mistake and sets a minimum price.
Shattered Skies’s Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shatteredskiesband