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Sky Architect: Excavations of the Mind

It never ceases to amaze me just how many talented young bands there are out there and you can add Sky Architect to the list. The band comes from Rotterdam, The Netherlands and are sure to make some waves on the progressive rock scene having originally signed with Galileo and later forming a joint partnership with ProgRock Records. You have got to hand it to ProgRock Records president Shaun Gordon as he knows talent when he hears it and this group of musicians really bring it on their debut album Excavations of the Mind. In the band are Tom Luchies (lead vocals and backing vocals, electric guitars), Wabe Wieringa (electric and acoustic guitars), Rik van Honk (backing vocals, grand piano, vintage keys and synths), Guus van Mierlo (bass guitar) and Christiaan Bruin (backing vocals, drums).

This is not an album that is easy to get a handle on as it requires a little patience but it is worth it in spades. This is complex stuff and is as quirky as it is melodic. Musical reference points would be bands like King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Flower Kings and Beardfish so if you are thinking the sound is a bit 70s retro you would be right. This is symphonic progressive rock with an eclectic edge played with a high skill level but also with a melodic sensibility that makes this album all the more intriguing. The album is chalk full of intricate instrumental parts and the fine vocals of Tom Luchies help to maintain just the right balance. Excavations of the Mind had me hooked from beginning to end. It is progressive in every sense of the word including the album's theme. The album's thought invoking concept takes us into the mind of a deeply disturbed man. Well placed spoken word segments help to move the story forward offering a greater understanding of the album's theme.

The album starts off with the ambitious four part epic "Deep Chasm" linking complex musical themes over a nineteen minute span. Soaring guitars, crashing rhythms, dreamy instrumentation and an outstanding symphonic arrangement are just a few of the highlights here. Sky Architect does a great job combining melody with a slightly off kilter vibe. The rest of the album's four songs can be listened to separately with some of the highlights being the eclectic "The Grey Legend" featuring heavy guitar ramblings and vintage synths and the intriguing title track where acoustic and electric guitars are in the spotlight once again defining the various segments before ending with an excellent solo.

Sky Architect does a great job taking retro sounds and shaping them in a modern way. In effect using the past greats of progressive rock to help reinvent the fresh sounds of the present. The end result is one of the best CDs so far this year. Well done gentlemen!

Track Listing:
1. Deep Chasm Part 1: Charter (3:38)
2. Deep Chasm Part 2: Chime (8:04)
3. Deep Chasm Part 3: Changeling (0:43)
4. Deep Chasm Part 4: Chasm (6:45)
5. The Grey Legend (12:11)
6. Russian Wisdom (5:05)
7. Excavations of the Mind (11:46)
8. Gyrocopter (2:58)

Added: August 14th 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 3540
Language: english

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