posted on 10/2009 By:
If any one word sums up this band’s sound it is busy. Usually that word comes with some negative connotations but with three albums in their collective belt Skyfire have learned to meld melodic death and prog metal in a way that sounds natural. Not every song will click. Some parts will raise eyebrows, and not in a good, this is an awesome riff kind of way, either. Nonetheless, those who have yet to hear anything the band released prior to this one and can appreciate the mish-mash style of bands like Into Eternity and Scar Symmetry will want to give Esoteric a listen.
As would be fairly predictable these days of a band of this nature, they open with a short, keyboard-driven instrumental number complete with horns and strings. To be fair, it at least fits with the epic vibe of the album, but is it necessary? Hardly. Moving on, the title track is the first full song, and though repetitive, it’s got a charm to it. The introductory keyboard section gives way to a driving, mid-paced rhythm not uncommon for most melodic death metal. The chorus stands out but is cheapened by song’s end. “Rise and Decay” is a longer track, clocking in at a little over six minutes, and it finds the band embracing a proggier sound. Taking a more active role, the keyboards seem to drive the rhythm of the song while guitarists Andreas Edlund and Joakim Jonsson decorate it with noodly riffs and some impressive solos. This is one of the album’s stronger tracks because the band seems to let the guitarists breathe a little. If there’s one troubling pattern on Esoteric it’s the chorus repetition.
This cannot often be said of a band, but Skyfire are best when less confined. The lengthier tracks simply cater better to their progressive tendencies. “Darkness Descends,” smack dab in the middle of the album, is solid proof. Knowing how to milk a good riff or a strong, fist-pump inducing chorus can be a great thing when there’s enough going on in between to keep things interesting. The high points of this song are close to brilliant, and would certainly be rendered less so were they given as little space as some of the shorter tracks. However, not every lengthy track has the same punch as this one (“Misery’s Supremacy" was downright boring).
Not everyone is going to be stoked about another respectable melodic death metal album on the market. Nor should they be. We have heard this before, and we have heard it better. Had Skyfire leaned more heavily into prog territory we might be looking at something a bit more dynamic. Unfortunately, we’re left with Esoteric; decent but rather dull.
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