The Djperiodic Djtable. I Can’t Think Of a Hydrodjent Joke, Fuck You: Reviewing Skyharbor!
minions readers, how goes it?
Well, enough about you. One of the most anticipated albums of the proggy djenty scene is out very fucking soon. And i got myself an advance copy, so i can tell you guys how fucking good it is, so you go buy it.
It’s a fairly simple process.
The Band is Skyharbor and the album is Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos by the Indian djent mastermind; Keshav Dhar, with guest appearances from incredible musicians such as Megadeth‘s Marty Friedman, Ex-TesseracT vocalist Daniel Tompkins, Amogh Symphony architect Vishal J. Singh and Sunneith Revankar of Bhayanak Maut. That’s a lot of epic squashed into two cds. The first disc, Illusion, is fucking awesome. The Second disc, Chaos, is also awesome. Just read on. It will be released on the 23rd of April via Basick Records.
The album blasts open with the impressively powerful chords of Dots, the opening track, interwoven with the haunting harmonies of Daniel. This song is actually my favourite song on the album, as those fucking chords are just so goddamn awesome. The vocals are among the best I’ve ever heard and the way the song majestically evolves into a heavy, yet tasteful groove. The whole feel of the song, and most of the album, is calm. Even the heavy parts. They have a strange, tranquil aura to them. Also the only acceptable time to use the term ‘aura’ is when referring to the feel.
Don’t be this bitch.
Skyharbor consists of permanent members Keshav Dhar, Anup Sastry (drums) and Nikhil Rufus (Bass). And these guys can write, bro. This album is surely going to dominate the Indian metal scene, in a way that has never really been done before, and i think that is absolutely fantastic. The musicianship flows intricately in and out of itself, riffs moulding into melodies, clean passages paving the way for cyclopaean grooves. It is as complex as it is experimental. It is insane to think that this started out as a small bedroom DIY one man band, similar to Misha Mansoor‘s original Bulb recordings. Now, it has grown into a huge part of not just the indian metal scene, but the worldwide metal scene and has gathered admiration from many of metals finest.
Keshav has this to say regarding the album;
“After 4 years of epiphanies and disappointments, frustration and jubilation, I’m thrilled to finally be getting our debut album out. It has taken three years to write and another to produce, and what I am most proud of is that I feel each song stands on its own, and while they span a wide range of ideas, sounds and stories, they all belong. Having been able to collaborate with some of the finest names in modern music was the icing on the cake, and I hope people enjoy this album as much as I have enjoyed creating it.”
It’s good when a plan finally comes together.
Catharsis oozes grooves from your speaker system or headphones of choice. The drumming holds interesting rhythms throughout the song, often implemented oddly timed snare rolls, which add to the epic djent feel. Did i mention the chords? They’re good too. The Rhythm section as a whole is like a wall of sound, like a tidal wave carrying Daniel‘s voice. And what a voice, especially in this song. Dem high notes, man. As a djent record, it’s fantastic. As a metal record, it’s groundbreaking. Marty Friedman does what he does best in this song, ripping!! It feels good to hear his signature style in a completely new form of music. I certainly never expected an esteemed member of the Big Four to end up doing guest guitars on a djent record. It is an absolutely huge combination.
The serene passage of Celestial is eased into our ears like the musical equivalent of silk toilet paper. Covered in honey. And sex. Now i know i use the term ‘epic’ a lot, but i have a genuine meaning for it.
I’m not all like “Dude, that toast was epic”.
It wasn’t, It was mediocre at best. Toast peaks at mediocre. There will never be an epic piece of toast unless it was cooked by a lightsabre wielded by Bruce Lee‘s ghost.
So, when i say “these chords are epic” or “that riff was epic”, i mean it physically sounds epic. It sounds huge. The same way we would describe Wagner as epic. A gigantic sound that gives you that feeling of butterflies, because its SO. FUCKING. EPIC.
That is this song. The chords and riffs just battle it out, with beautiful solos, tapping galore and bluesy bends. Soaring above all this is Daniel‘s voice, like a prog metal angel, exhaling awesomeness and crafting some of the most intricate and vibrant vocal melodies i’ve ever heard.
Words cannot truly describe how much i like this album. As a djent piece, i would rate it at just as good as the founding giants, Meshuggah (shut up, i don’t care if you don’t think they’re ‘djent‘, they helped create it whether they or you like it or not), Periphery and Textures. This is the next stepping stone for progressive metal. Listen, bask in it’s glory. Also, buy it. The band would like money for all this work, they had a hard time. And the album is pretty sweet looking, would fit in your collection just nicely wouldn’t it.
Also look at this bunny.
“BUY THE SKYHARBOR ALBUM, YOU CHEAP BASTARDS!”
That’s exactly what the bunny said. True Story.
It is available for preorder here.
GOOD NEWS EVERYONE! I shall be getting an interview with both Keshav Dhar and Daniel Tompkins in the next short while. Can’t wait for that!
Quotes on Skyharbor
“I think you do some amazing work. Would love to hear more – it’s awesome.” – Marty Friedman (Megadeth, Cacophony)
“Right now, I am very much into a band called Skyharbor from India” – Chris Adler (Lamb of God)
“The stuff Keshav plays will blow your mind; not merely because it’s super complex in the patented “djent” stylee, but because of the number of ideas he inserts into the music. The fact that Keshav manages to record – and perform – the music as a solo artist is mindblowing. He must have four hands and three brains, and the thought of him joining a band of likeminded musicians is rather frightening. Remember Hammer’s recent trip to India to check out the local metal scene? Well, with artists like this, it won’t stay local for long.” – Joel McIver
“Skyharbor might be a band dubbed with the Djent genre moniker but they are so much more than the sum of their sound!! This is an album whose beauty is without question and the song writing is masterful…check them out!!” – Rock n Reel Reviews
“With its fast-growing metal scene, is it any wonder that India has its foot in the door with this nascent scene? Skyharbor is, incredibly, just one guy: Keshav Dhar.” – Metal Hammer (UK) Magazine
“Prog-metal fan or not, the ambience and warmth from one end and relentless surge of adrenaline from the other converge perfectly and will make you hear this album now and 20 years later with the same zeal – timeless in every sense.” – Metal My Religion
“I met a guy in India, Keshav Dhar, […] he is writing some fantastic music; almost Chimp Spanner meets Textures. It’s like a combination of everything that’s going off at the minute.” – Daniel Tompkins (TesseracT, First Signs of Frost, PIANO)
“If you’re looking to get into your first Indian band, I’d recommend (Keshav’s) stuff, Skyharbor!” – Jamie Postones (TesseracT, Heights)
“Our friend Keshav Dhar from India is creating some cool stuff with his band Skyharbor” – Bart Hennephof (Textures)
“Love Skyharbor!” – Uri Dijk (Textures)
“Keshav’s riffs scare the crap out of me” – Vishal J. Singh (Amogh Symphony)
“Orchestrated swirling genius with a thumping heartbeat” – from the Harmony Central Online Community