SKY EMPIRE - The Shifting Tectonic Plates of Power, Part One
Album: The Shifting Tectonic Plates of Power - Part One
Release Date: October 27th, 2023
Label: Vicisolum Records
British progressive metal band SKY EMPIRE are back with their 2nd album, that came out on October 27th via Vicisolum Records, and is called “The Shifting Tectonic Plates of Power”. While there are not yet many informations available about the story-line, the addition of “Part One” in the name and the song titles suggest it to be a concept album - Let’s see what the music has to tell :-)
In times dominated by streaming platforms and an (unfortunately often) shortened attention span, opening with a 15 minutes instrumental piece is a venture, but they absolutely nail it, and I’m already sold after the first guitar solo, coming like a whirlwind out of the speakers. “Prolegomenon: The Encomium of Creation” works like an overture, growing anticipation for what is yet to come, with some parts giving me strong Symphony X vibes. The only downer is the snare sound for me that peaks out too often in an annoying way, and it took me a while to find the right device and setting to turn down the effect and refine the listening experience.
Next up is the first song on that we can hear none other than Jeff Scott Soto, who took over the vocal duties after the band's hiatus due to the tragic loss of their friend and singer Yordan Ivanov. “On the Shores of Hallowed Haven” is a peaceful track with light percussion, beautiful orchestration and smooth bass lines, building up tension towards "The Emissary", that might be a contender for "progmetal hymn of the year" thanks to its catchy chorus and the mesmerizing instrumental parts but nevertheless heavy riffs. Jeff's powerful tone and expressive performance suit the music very well, so do his marvelous melody lines.
“Into My Father’s Eyes” sits somewhere between Pyramid Theorem and Odd Dimension, comes along with a challenging rhythmic, soaring guitar interludes, and wonderful synth soundscapes. They hold this momentum over the next songs, effortlessly alternating between calmer and heavier parts, keeping the music in flow until they close with another 16 minutes epic, "House of Cards".
I have to admit that even though SKY EMPIRE should have clicked all boxes from the beginning, it took me a while to really get into “The Shifting Tectonic Plates of Power - Part One” because of the sometimes too hard, dry sound, but in the end their excellent musicianship and multifaceted compositions won me over. With their mix of complex rhythm patterns, virtuoso guitar and keyboard solos as well as marvelous yet accessible melodies, this album is highly recommended ffo Sons of Apollo, Symphony X and Dream Theater.
Written by Katha
1. Prolegomenon: The Encomium of Creation
2. On The Shores of Hallowed Haven
3. The Emissary
4. Into My Father's Eyes
6. The Last Days of Planet Fantasy
7. House of Cards
Jeff Scott Soto - Vocals
Drazic Lecutier - Vocals, Guitars
Remi Jalabert - Drums, Percussion
Tom Hobson - Keyboards
Jon Delaines – Bass