Grey Skies Fallen
Two Way Mirror
2006, Xanthros Music
Grey Skies Fallen, "Two Way Mirror"
Right up front, I like these guys because: A) their sound is different, B) their web site is entertainingly unassuming and, unlike many bands, actually worth reading and C) for a DIY band, everything they're fronting is utterly professional. If you're a believer that great art only comes from great suffering, you oughta love what these cats have dished up on "Two Way Mirror" based on the tumultuous time that they've had over the past seven years.
That said, many of you won't dig this in the least because it is not "in yer face" metal by any means. In fact, I don't know if it even qualifies as metal (though the group may argue that point. Is Anathema metal nowadays? What about Katatonia?? The Gathering??? The definition is getting too difficult to determine for this old dog). I don't really know how to pigeonhole the band into a specific genre, but the sound and vibe presented here is much more modern, doomy, alternative rock than blood-drinkin' metal. The band does break out some extreme vocals (used very sparingly and not present on every cut, which means that when they scream, it actually has an emotional impact) and the backing guitars are often distorted - so that's metal, I reckon. But the lead vocals are mostly mid-range, introspective, clean crooning and acoustic strings and atmospheric keys play a prominent role. The tempos are usually plodding and the mood typically grim ala doom, so maybe you can call this progressive doom metal. Hell, I don't know.
I really dig the clean vocals despite the fact that they're not technically impressive. However, for the music, they're a perfect fit - and I'll take vibe over technical proficiency every time. Guitarist Rich Habeeb is the crooner (sometimes roarer), but second guitarist Joe D'Angelo doubles some of the lines to great effect. I like that some of the verses are doubled and that it's not always the choruses getting that treatment. Theses guys are thinkin' - sweet. This is a band that's not cranking out the same old thing and yet they're creating songs with solid, familiar structure - a neat trick, that. They're doing stuff that I haven't heard a million times before, which I truly appreciate more than I can express.
So, I can ramble on for several more paragraphs about the artful use of the keyboards, the nifty drumming, the audible bass lines, the ever-present ominous tone, the spiritually freeing metal bits, the impressive production and mix, the cool graphics, the nice tidy booklet with all the lyrics, and a bunch of other stuff - but frankly, if you have an interest in rock bands that have something of their own to say, Grey Skies Fallen is one of those bands and that's enough said. Fans of experimental metal, check them out now. I like every track on this self-described eight song "EP". I can see these guys blowing up huge if the right label executive weasel hears them and they get the right exposure, which would be nice for them. One thing for sure, this album is nice for me. It's records like this that makes reviewing stuff so rewarding. Highest possible recommendation with the caveat that you gotta like alterna rock vocals to lock into the vibe.
This Sinking Feeling