Anmeldt av Matt Coe
(Limb Music, 2014)

Karakter: 4.5/6

skyliner_outsiderscover.jpgFlorida may have been a hotbed for death metal in the late 80's and early 90's, but they've also had their fair share of breakthroughs in the traditional, power, and progressive metal realms: Savatage, Crimson Glory, Iced Earth, and Kamelot among others. Will Jacksonville's Skyliner be another band to add to this illustrious list? If names like Rage, early Fates Warning, and Iron Maiden mean anything to you, then the 9 tracks on "Outsiders" could be right up your power metal alley. Impressive technical ability coupled with forceful, gritty vocals and a proper understanding of riff/hook retention makes "Undying Wings" and "The Human Residue" immediate pleasers.

And the centerpiece of the record is a 21 minute closer "Worlds of Conflict" that reminds me most of a serve and volley match between Pharaoh, Fates Warning a la "The Ivory Gate of Dreams" and possibly the Teutonic cultural runs that permeate a lot of the power metal acts. A lot of strained necks are in order around the 4:30 mark when guitarist/ vocalist Jake Becker and bassist David Lee Redding grind out this speed riff that would be the black metal equivalent transposed to the power realm, and I also enjoyed the eerie, echoing instrumental strains around the 8 to 9 minute mark... building and building tension through every note and change.

A minor disappointment lies in the drum tone for "Outsiders" - it's a little too clean/ computerized for my liking, even though I know Ben Brenner plays his heart out. Hopefully he can gain a more natural snap (especially in the double bass area) on future albums. In the end, it's all about the music and performances for me, and I believe those who love street level power metal that's progressive at heart and heavy as well will find plenty to rave about for Skyliner.



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