posted on 10/2003 By:
Sweden’s take on the Finnish symphonic speed metal come in the majestic form of Skyfire’s Mind Revolution. While this album will undoubtedly be compared to Children of Bodom, they are decidedly different and Swedish sounding. In this reviewer’s opinion, they sound more like a mix between Dark Tranquillity and Stratovarius (the keyboards are VERY Stratovarius). Where CoB is more thrash/black metal, Skyfire is more power/speed/death metal. With the release of Mind Revolution, they keep a quickly staling sound alive with one more injection of nutrients to keep it surviving on life support. There really isn’t much to set Skyfire apart from the rest of the bands playing their type of music (Kalmah, Norther, CoB, Mors Principium Est). In fact they sound nearly identical to Kalmah. They didn’t, however, use the old Finnish trick of a killer opening track and an otherwise forgettable rest-of-album, the good material is sort of spread out, and the best track comes three-quarters of the way through the album in the form of “Shapes of Insanity”. This track barely tops the title track, which comes at the end of the album. So one way in which they differ is their track placement. Really the only way to describe the way they sound different from their Finnish brothers is by describing it as “Swedish”. It has a different tone, or timbre, to it. The texture of the guitar production is just different. The way they do their keys is slightly different too in that it sounds more cinematic or theatrical rather than video-gameish. Keyboards are omnipresent. Lastly, Skyfire is probably the most melodic of the genre. Tracks like “Nightmares Nevermore” and “Haunted by Shadows” have killer leads that are like the musical version of a jet fighter spinning and diving through layer upon layer of atmosphere, then hitting the afterburner and soaring through space only to go too high and explode, scratching at the surface of the ozone. The problem with bands like Skyfire is that they are so good at what they do, but it’s hard to give them a good score because they sound nearly identical to the five other bands like them. I really enjoy this genre, and the bands in it, so it’s a mental battle between ethics and enjoyment. A mind revolution, if you will. Alright maybe not, but mark my words, this genre will soon be the next “power metal”, in that it will lose it’s soul and become a showcase for pure musicianship rather than substance. Mind Revolution will probably be one of the last albums that people are really gonna dig before the genre goes stale. It’s a damn good album, so enjoy it while it lasts.
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