6/16/2004 - Review by: Troy Cole
Skyfire - Spectral - Arise Records 2004 reviewed by: 1evil1
Imagine if you combined the best elements of early In Flames and Dark Tranquillity. What you would get is a brilliant cd entitled "Spectral" from a lesser known Swedish band called Skyfire. They are kinda like a well kept secret even with this being their third release.
A brutal, heavy and melodic sound are the things the Swedish scene brings to metal and Skyfire executes them all well and exceedes the competition. Henriks vocals are excellent and the drumming is godly thanks to the amazing strength of Joakim. All the song structures are excellent with enough hooks to keep you listening to each song all the way through and over again. The production is superb thanks to another over achiever Andy La Rocque.
I could easily say this is one of the best CDs I've heard this year, but the one complaint I have with "Spectral" are the keyboards. Sometimes they are just out of place or they are too uplifting with a bubbly kind of sound. Some example are the intro to track number 2--"Effusion Of Strength". There is this great intro riff then the keys come in with a happy uplifting sound to them that makes the song lose something right at the beginning. "Shivering Shade" is another excellent composition, but with bubbly keyboards throughout this song. On track 4 the song has been heavy and fast and all of a sudden we have this intermission in the song with the keyboards just fluttering around then they go back to the aggressive sound almost like they needed a break. Listen to the first 2 minutes of "Awake" pay attention to how much more intense this song would be without the keyboards distracting you. There are too many examples of this through out the album for me to continue listing them so you will have to judge for yourself and depending on how much you like keyboard you may think I'm full of shit, who knows.
I will say this, the keyboards are not more promenent than the other instruments and 70% of the time the keys are fine; it's just that the other 30% that leaves you going "what the hell are they doing here?". There is also some sweet guitar work on this album with one of my favs being "A Dead Mans Race". Easily one of my favorite CDs of the year so far and would have been my number one without those distracting keys. Skyfire is definitely raising the ante for the Swedish scene and putting to shame all the others who can't stay true to their sound.
Continue to kick some ass guys!
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