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Secrets of the Sky: Pathway

I once asked members of Secrets of the Sky what the band's name referred to. I was told that it was too early to say, that things would get clearer with each new release. I liked that answer; it helped me understand something about the larger intentions of this band and its music. You see, Secrets of the Sky creates music that is simultaneously about certain kinds of storytelling and about certain kinds of experience. The secret, whatever it may be, should remain out of reach. Otherwise, there would be no reason to wonder and perhaps no reason to listen.

I have been a fan of this band since the beginning. To Sail Black Waters, the band's debut, remains one of my favorite albums. I have also seen the band live and can attest to their strengths as a live act. I was also fond of the split with Godhunter and was among those who eagerly awaited this new release. Even better, the band has found a home at Metal Blade, an excellent label that should take good care of these guys. To prepare for this review, I've listened to the album three times. I can't say that I've broken down its many mysteries. To the contrary, I have resisted too much analysis. Instead, I've tried to lose myself in the music.

As listeners will quickly release, this album has seven strange ambient tracks. I say "strange" because they are not solely about music or mood. Instead, they tell a story all on their own, a story about mysterious footsteps, falling rain, clinking blades, crows cawing, flames crackling, and so on. I can't say what the overall narrative of these sounds points to, save that they clearly have the quality of a short horror film, one in which we hear someone, presumably a killer, perform certain actions. It makes for a fascinating listen, especially since the imagination takes flight with just the slightest sonic hints. This is a horror film without dialogue, the kind of thing that frightens without explanation. I realize that each of these tracks is meant to drive the larger narrative of the whole album forward; as individual tracks, however, they have the power to fascinate all on their own.

The music surrounding the ambient tracks is fairly consistent with the style on To Sail Black Waters. I don't have the lyrics in front of me, but I can tell that they are very emotionally strong, mysterious, and insightful. As I've been suggesting this whole time, this band is drawn to the power of story, particularly the way it drives listeners toward new insights about the mysterious, the strange, and the misunderstood.

My favorite track was "Eternal Wolves." It has the intensity and power I've come to expect from this band. I also thought "Three Swords" and "Fosforos" were excellent. This is a band with a bright future. Come for the music but stay for the mystery.

Track Listing:
1. I
2. Three Swords
3. II
4. Angel in Vines
5. Another Light
6. III
7. IV
8. Garden of Prayers
9. V
10. Fosforos
11. VI
12. Eternal Wolves
13. VII

Added: June 20th 2015
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1652
Language: english

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