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Above average, memorable melodeath - 88%

Djavul, October 13th, 2012

First of all, I'm not sure why this band has such a complicated genre designation on here. Is you actually want power/prog/melodeath, you may want to stop reading about this band and go check out Dark Empire. Skyfire is pretty much standard melodic death metal, except with keyboards. That doesn't make them power/prog (anymore than it does Soilwork), but it is what sets this apart from most generic run-of-the-mill melodeath. I also feel like this album is their best, because they make much better use of the keyboards than they have on any of the previous albums. All the previous albums from this band have higher reviews on here, but honestly I couldn't get into them. I feel like those are much more generic and boring. This album has its flaws, but I feel like it's much more creative, memorable, and just stands out from the crowd more.

Perhaps the greatest strength of this album, like I said, is the keyboards. The intro to the album is a nice orchestral piece that sets the tone rather well, and the next two songs album start out with very interesting keyboard-based melodies. The fast parts on this album are also really solid and get you banging your head. It's not that the riffs are anything amazing, but the guitarists too a good job with fast, thrashy riffs in the verse, and melodic ones in other parts. The drummer can lay down some rather fast blast beats and double bass, and the keyboard often add another interesting element. (I don't think I ever noticed the bassist.)

However, the first few songs also show the greatest weakness of this album. The choruses can be rather weak and annoying. It's like the band was trying too hard to write catchy choruses or something. Soilwork used to be able to write some pretty damn good catchy choruses IMO, playing music like this. But on this album, a lot of Skyfire's choruses just sound poppy and annoying. They don't even use clean vocals, it's all a mid-range growl, there's just something wimpy and annoying about these parts. They're pretty much the main reason for the point deductions. Fortunately, these parts are mostly just in the first few songs, and don't really pop up later in the album.

Overall, this album is rather solid. I've listened to it numerous times now, and it hasn't gotten old yet. Aside from the occasional wince at the aforementioned choruses, I enjoy this album start to finish. It's hard to pick standout tracks, because there are really no bad ones. I will mention the song "Seclusion" though, because it's a bit different from the rest. It's faster overall, has more orchestral stuff going on, and really breaks up the pace from the rest of the album.

If you want some melodeath that's a bit different from what you've gotten used to hearing for the last decade or more, check out this album. Also, if you're going to check out Skyfire at all, this specific album should be the one you get.