Band: Sky Architect
Band Website: www.skyarchitect.com
Label: Galileo Records/Gonzo MultiMedia
Release Date: 2011
What can I say, Iím a dyed in the wool prog fan and the mention of ďconceptĒ album tends to make my heart start to race. Even if I donít spend time figuring it out, what it tells me is the band spent time thinking about their lyrics as whole. Call it holistic prog perhaps. So when the new Sky Architect CD came in the door with the title A Dying Manís Hymn without knowing anything I suspected it was a concept and I was right. From the Netherlands Sky Architect is made up of Wabe Wieringa (guitars), Chistiaan Bruin (drums), Rik van Honk (keyboards, backing vocals), Tom Luchies (vocals, guitars), and Guus van Mierlo (bass). Musically the band has stepped it up a couple notches from their previous release and delivered a fine piece of modern symphonic prog.
There are nine tracks on A Dying Manís Hymn that are clustered in a three part suite, three tracks each. These are well crafted compositions that ebb and flow through many musical change-ups. Their performance in very smooth and well played. Musically they remind me a lot of bands like Spockís Beard but perhaps compose more like Beardfish, Ritual and Magic Pie. They know how to craft strong melodies into complex and dynamic prog compositions; angular one moment and smoothly harmonic the next. They have a penchant for longer pieces as five of the nine selections are nine-minutes or better. As a result each composition has moments of soft stillness contrasted with intense and busy segments. Itís also the kind of music that is so laden with the flow of the story that you hardly notice the music changing so dramatically. There are more than enough changes in time and tempo to satisfy any prog fan. There are also a couple times where the Mellotron washes in so brightly it makes you just smile with delight.
To use a baseball analogy, Sky Architect have stepped up to the plate and hit a home-run with A Dying Manís Hymn. Itís a more mature musical offering than their last outing and thoroughly enjoyable in every respect. Each composition hangs together separately and collectively. You can stop anywhere along the way and feel youíve heard something brilliant. Itís modern symphonic prog style that will have broad appeal to prog fans. If you havenít checked them out yetÖwait no more. This is a winner. Recommended!