Skyharbor – Guiding Lights

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The Skyharbor story is a real triumphant battle against the difficulties of geography if anything else. What began on an seemingly insignificant stage of computer files by guitarist Keshav Dhar resulted in a truly international affair with a completed lineup of Indian, American and British personnel. The resulting album Blinding White Noise: Illusion And Chaos (Basick Records) was very well received by critics and fans alike, and even the logistical nightmare of live shows was even managed, including a support slot to Lamb Of God in India. The achievement this band has made in a short time should not be downplayed.

Follow up album Guiding Lights (Basick) sees the (ahem) light of day after around only 20 live shows, and sees them writing as a unit rather than as scattered pieces written mostly by Dhar; and it does show. Where Blinding White Noise… at times felt mismatched and lacking in focus, Guiding Lights is all the more wholesome and cohesive throughout. Proving all the more spacey than many of their djent counterparts, Skyharbor offer a more prog friendly variant, based more on soaring melodies and expansive time frames, but still with splatterings of groove. TesseracT frontman Dan Tompkins matches the softer element perfectly with his delicate pipes, eschewing the use of growls completely.

The albums only pitfall is the somewhat taxing running time, feeling like it runs just a little too long. This aside Guiding Light shows progression in huge leaps and bounds from its predecessor, more beautifully flowing and even near ambient in part. Skyharbor already forged a reputation as a shining (sorry) presence in progressive metal, now Guiding Light is one of the brightest jewels in the tech metal crown.

 

8.0/10

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CHRIS TIPPELL