Light Comes Out of Black Skyliner - Light Comes Out of Black (independent) 2005

1. Unloved (6:59)
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.

2009 Skyliner (independent) 2009

  1. Symphony in Black
  2. Vendetta
  3. 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.

Alchemist 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 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.

Outsiders Skyliner - Outsiders (Limb Music) 2014

1. Signals (2:56)
2. Symphony In Black (7:07)
3. Undying Wings (6:34)
4. Forever Young (7:55)
5. Aria Of The Waters (8:26)
6. The Human Residue (7:36)
7. Dawn Of The Dead (7:20)
8. The Alchemist (6:57)
9. Worlds Of Conflict (21:01)

Despite having been around for well over a decade, "Outsiders" is the first full length album from Skyliner.  The band was 'formed' in 2000 and has released three independent EPs before "Outsiders". All those years of practicing and recording allowed Skyliner to hone their craft.

Skyliner describe themselves as US Power Metal witha progressive mind. Their sound is definitely rooted in power metal, especially of the Teurtonic influence. As with their EPs I can definitely heard hints of Running Wild and Rage. "Outsiders" is packed with some killer riffs, some of which border on speed metal. However, the power metal tag downplays just how progressive this band is. In fact, the songs are very progressive in nature despite being riff driven. Keyboards play an intricate part in the sound as well, though not to make the album sound watered down or wimpy.  Rather the keys are used to compliment the music and for effect, which includes some beautiful atmospheric moment in the music such as in the opening track "Signals" and also in "Aria of the Waters". Even the length of the song leans toward epic progressive metal, as opposed to shorter power metal songs. The shortest song here is the opening track with most songs clocking in at the seven to eight minute mark album closer "Worlds of Conflict" clocking in at twenty one minutes. Perhaps a better label for the band would have been progressive power metal, or even technical power metal. As such, Skyliner have created a unique sound that is all their own, despite hearing the influences in some of the guitar work and vocals. Jake Becker's vocals still remind me of Peavy from Rage at times. He sways between melodic clean singing to the occasional growls. However, for the most part he has this clean but dark and aggressive mid-tone that gives the band a slight gothic feel. 

Many of the tracks featured here were featured on past EPs, including the entire "Alchemist" EP. However I am fairly sure that the songs have all been either re-recorded or remixed. The sound quality is fantastic with every instrument, including the bass guitar, coming through the mix. In fact, the bass guitar plays an intregral roll in much of the music here. Bassist David Lee Redding isn't just a background, rhythm player and in fact pulls out some nice licks. 

I'd been waiting for a long time for a full length album from Jake Becker and Skyliner. It's been a long time coming and "Outsiders" was definitely worth the wait. It's a very solid debut album with strong musicianship, good songwriting, and an honest and successful attempt at a unique sound. 

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