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Sky Architect: A Dying Man's hymn

Sky Architect's sophomore effort A Dying Man's hymn is one of the best albums I have heard so far in 2011. Their last effort Excavations of the Mind was excellent and suffice to say the bar was raised pretty high by the Dutch band.

The music on A Dying Man's hymn has the band continuing on the path set by Excavations of the Mind; finely crafted retro flavoured progressive rock, tastefully played with fantastic musicianship from all five band members which includes Tom Luchies (vocals, electric and slide guitar), Wabe Wieringa (electric and acoustic guitars), Rik van honk (piano, clavinet, Hammond, assorted keys), Guus van Mierlo (bass guitar) and Christiaan Bruin (drums, backing vocals).

While I was reminded at times of past '70s greats like Gentle Giant and King Crimson, Sky Architect do put their own unique spin on things. The songs are on the longish side with four exceeding ten minutes and the album running in excess of seventy-seven minutes. As you might expect there is lots of room for the band to develop their musical ideas and to say this is an ambitious record is an understatement. The music is loaded with tempo changes and complex instrumental bits often within the same song. Some may feel the band's throw everything in but the kitchen sink approach is a little much but I wholeheartedly disagree. I find the different themes and textures highly interesting and the band still sounds as melodic as ever.

There are no weak tracks on the album but if I had to pick a few highlights, "The Campfire Ghost's Song", "Woodcutters Vile" and "Melody of the Air Explicatio" would be at the top of the list. All three highlight what is great about this band; bombastic symphonic sections, quirky instrumental bits with strong playing by all band members, dreamy atmospheric parts and strong lead vocals.

Other highlights include the finely crafted "Treebird", a dynamic tune that builds in intensity towards the end and the full out prog rock of "The Breach", that has the band shifting gears at will and offering soaring lead guitar and some cool retro sounds including Hammond organ.

A Dying Man's hymn is an exceptionally strong sophomore effort from a band that can seemingly do no wrong; modern progressive rock just got a whole lot better. Do yourself a favour and listen to this wonderfully talented young band. You will not be disappointed.

Track Listing:
1. Treebird (9:15)
2. Melody of the Air Expositio (6:16)
3. The Campfire Ghost's Song (10:01)
4. Woodcutters Vile (12:59)
5. Melody of the Air Explicatio (11:15)
6. The Breach (11:05)
7. Hitodama's Return (6:38)
8. Melody of the Air Recapitulatio (4:39)
9. A Dying Man's hymn (5:12)

Added: September 18th 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2797
Language: english

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