A balls-out progressive-metal cover of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" -- a hidden bonus track at the end of O2, the independently released debut by Minneapolis' Skywind -- will grab your attention more than most of this Faith No More-meets-Sevendust-by-way-of-Creed quintet. But give the album some time. There's more to the dark and dramatic band than initially meets the ears.
Despite a thick sound that flirts with the blandness of today's mainstream rock, Skywind (as in "wind-up toy") on O2 (as in "oh-two," meaning "oxygen") explores varying degrees of loneliness and love with crunchy guitars, emotional vocals and melodies that many prog-metal bands would kill for. In another group, Walter Joseph's angst-ridden voice could grow cloying; here, it augments Skywind's massive wall of sound. Highlights include "Circles in the Ground," "New Year Evolution," "Summertime" and the album's most progressive track, the epic "Inside Out."
All this is not to say that fans of progressive and power metal will soak up O2. Like most genres (certainly prog and power metal), modern rock is an acquired taste. But given the hidden Floyd cover, which alone is worth the price of this disc, Skywind deserves consideration.