Black Skies - On The Wings Of Time
Guitarist Kevin Clark essentially elevates these songs above the level they may seem at first blush. Black Skies play the kind of BIG metal that would be better served by leaving out the keyboards and dramatic classic rock interludes that trip up some of the songs on this North Carolina band's debut. But there is enough power and straight-on rage throughout most of "On the Wings of Time" that keep this power trio in the winner's circle. But it all starts with Clark's lead work.
After beginning with the chugging, Priest-ly "Rebirth," "Darkness & Disguise" flatlines with a mix of melodic grungy softness. "Technologicon" is also a weak link-easing up on the violence in favor of softer refrains is clearly an asset for the band.
Clark and bassist/vocalist Michelle Temple are at their best when the chugging does not stop, as on "Earth Choker" and "Valley of Kings," a 9 minute noisy, unglued but hypnotic riff-fest. Two long, slow-to-growing epic jams are the highlights, with "The Other Side of the Mountain" being especially hot. The acoustic intro is an example of a non-metal touch that is really effective. In that vein, "Weightless" is also great-a decent acoustic instrumental with a bluesy touch.
"On the Wings of Time" is a mostly relentless slab of gritty metal that keeps pushing forward with heavy groove and abandon. Black Skies tries to mix it up with some more subtle touches, but, for now, they slow down the band's orgy of noise and what they do best. This shows that they have ambition; right now they have enough killer skills and ought to stick to them.
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