Skyliner - Light Comes Out of Black (independent) 2005
2. Outsiders (4:47)
3. Black" (12:58)
4. Summer Rain (Chances) (5:51)
5. Attitude (7:56)
6. Time (17:31)
My intitial thoughts upon
hearing this CD the first time was that it sounded like a few friends getting
together in the garage for a jam. That is not neccessarily a bad thing if you
like those sorts of extended jams. They are usually fun to watch and participate
in. Unfortunately, they don't always translate real well to tape. Many of the
songs on this CD tend to be long, drawn out and don't really go anywhere. The
professional cover art leads one to believe that this is a "professionally recorded
album", when in fact it is a no-budget demo. Taking that into consideration,
there is some obvious potential in the guitar playing of Jake Becker. I actually
find it hard to believe that Jake is only a teenager. He has a style to both
his playing and even to the way he presents himself that comes off as much more
mature than one would expect. Despite this, I find the production and the sometimes
sloppy drumwork hard to ignore. A couple of times throughout the CD it sounded
like the drums weren't even in time with the music. Also, the vocals are a bit
wavey. When they are on, they are on, but when they are off, they are very,
very off. It almost seems like the vocals and guitar might have been recorded
at the same time, which means that Jake couldn't put his full focus on either
one. Whether anyone likes the style of vocals is purely a matter of opinion.
I personally prefer Jake's clean vocal style to the death growl that was used
sparingly on this CD. I see a ton of potential in this band and anxiously await
what they will come up with next. I can only imagine it will blow doors on this
demo both in production and in songwriting. I am certainly glad that there are
young musicians interested in writing heavy metal that doesn't follow the current
trends in music. For that alone they get my respect.
Skyliner (independent) 2009
- Symphony in Black
- Aria of the Waters
Demo CD number two from Florida's Skyliner. This time around Jake Becker has a full band including a keyboard player, who adds a new dimension to the band's sound. Skyliner are a young band but their influences obviously run deep as this self titled CD has a late 70’s/early 80’s progressive rock vibe. There are some modern influences as well, but overall Skyliner steer clear of anything trendy.
The CD opens with the speedy “Symphony in Black”. The song features progressive, fairly technical structures. For that matter, all three songs showcase Jake’s prowess for writing technical, progressive rock. Of the three tracks featured, “Vendetta” seems to be the most accessible, offering a solid hook and plenty of melody. This independent demo CD is well recorded; it’s raw enough to have an edge but isn’t trashy sounding either. The keys are present in the mix, but do not take away from the overall heaviness of the project.
Overall, this demo CD is another step in the right direction and a big step forward from the band's debut.
Skyliner - The Alchemist (independent) 2011
1. The Alchemist (6:58)
2. Undying Wings (6:39)
Skyliner have been studying their Teutonic heavy metal albums. The the music on the "The Alchemist" doesn't sound like a clone of any one particular band, but I definitely hear influences from bands like Running Wild and especially Rage. I even hear some similarities in the vocals of Jake Becker and Rage vocalist Peavy. This demo CD includes two songs, both of which clock in at just shy of seven minutes each. The songs are dynamic with fast, chunky riffs building up from and flowing into more melodic sections. When I first popped the CD in, I thought I was going to be listening to some jazz-fusion album, until around 45 seconds into the song when the crunchy guitar riff kicks in leading into a fast, double bass drum flurry.
Unlike the band's last demo, the production is much better, with fuller guitar tones and the bass guitar cutting through the mix. As well, Jake has definitely stepped it up as a vocalist. As previously mentioned, I hear some similarities to Peavy, with his rich mid-range tones. He also uses occasional growls and screams to accentuate parts of the songs. The title track features both at just past the mid-way point in the song before breaking into a short bass solo and a fast and furious bridge.
Unfortunately there are only two songs included on this CD. As with their last release, I anxiously await a full-length release from Skyliner. They have definitely stepped up their game with this CD, so I can only imagine that their first full-length album will step it up even more.