Monday 1 June 2015

Secrets of the Sky - 'Pathway' (Album Review)

Album Type: Full-Length
Release Date: 19/5/2015
Label: Metal Blade Records

‘Pathway’ CD//DD//LP track listing :

1). I
2). Three Swords
3). II
4). Angel in Vines
5). Another Light
6). II
7). IV
8). Garden of Prayers
9). V
10). Fosforos
11). VI
12). Eternal Wolves
13). VII

Secrets of the Sky is:

Andrew Green | Guitar / etc
Clayton Bartholomew | Guitar / etc
Garett Gazay | Vocals / Keys
Ryan Healy | Bass
Lance Lea | Percussion


Cool to get something on my “to review” list I both already bought and liked, Secrets of the Sky returns after their 2013 powerhouse “To Sail Black Waters” which I really loved. Much like their previous work, Secrets of the Sky maintains the layered guitar textures and that “post-black” metal atmosphere that bands like Alcest, Deafheaven, and Ghost Brigade have popularized. That being said, Secrets of the Sky fit into the post-black genre like a square peg into a round hole, they have some elements of that sound but incorporate a grander vision with elements of many other genres. In that way, they remind me of Agalloch a lot, but without the folk influence. They also tend to keep the tempos slower and doomier and have a post-metal aesthetic to the progressive bent of their song writing, which they continue throughout their travels on “Pathway.”

Interestingly there seems to be a touch more clean vocals on “Pathway” than on “To Sail Black Waters.” The cleans are pretty seamlessly integrated and the production makes them sound vast and immerse you in the sound. Speaking of the production, everything is crystal clear in the mix and balanced perfectly. That being said, being on a bigger label that shouldn't really come as much of a surprise but Secrets of the Sky's earlier work also had great production values.

“Pathway” boasts a hefty thirteen tracks during its length and moves through a huge range of sounds. There is also quite a bit of ambiance floating between the songs with instrumental passages and soundscapes galore. The songs are relatively lengthy but have a lot of dynamic movement and don't drag at all. My personal favorite is “Garden of Prayers” which has a really well-constructed bridge section with some nice ambient keys.

An intriguing listen to see where Secrets of the Sky is going on their journey, I'd strongly recommend this for fans of the “artier” side of music and people who like the so-called “post” genres. Remember though, bands like this transcend genre labels and if you are in the mood for something different and groundbreaking, this is a great album to expand your sonic palette and get into some different sounds. Secrets of the Sky has crafted here a worthy follow-up to “To Sail Black Waters” and I'd highly recommend it.

Words by: Chris Tedor

‘Pathway’ is available at major retailers or you can get it here

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