Blind White Noise: Illusion & Chaos review by Skyharbor

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  • Released: Apr 23, 2012
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.1 (24 votes)
Skyharbor: Blind White Noise: Illusion & Chaos
3

Sound — 10
Skyharbor is a furious force to be reckoned with and deserves your attention. The mastermind behind this progressive metal sound is Keshav Dhar, a musician in India who created Skyharbor out of the remnants of his first project "Hydrodjent". The fact that Basick Records has added them to their ever expanding catalogue of talented musicians makes their debut album demand that much more attention to be listened to and appreciated. This double disc album offers everyone something to enjoy. Split into the "Illusion" and "Chaos" concept discs, Skyharbor pounds out their diverse arrangements of sounds to keep the listener pleased. The "Illusion" disc features the talents of singer Daniel Tompkins (ex-TesseracT), Vishal J. Singh (Amogh Symphony), and classic heavy metal heavyweight Marty Friedman (ex-Megadeth). Aside from the expert guest solo works on this album, "Illusion" comes right out of the gate with the powerful presence that is "Dots". Pounding riffs, atmospheric layering, and rhythmically diverse yet precise instrumental work set the tone for the remainder of the album. Daniel Tompkins sings skillfully and creatively over each transition, adding to the rich texture of Keshav Dhar's creations. Moving into "Order 66", a groovy riff paired with Tompkins' voice is reminiscent of TesseracT, but with such a beautiful repetition that hardly needs to change to be effective. Next on the list is the early released track "Catharsis", showcasing a rich melodic and harmonic texture that is never stagnant. Full of powerful chorus riffs, atmospheric layers of guitar paired with Tompkins' vocal harmonies, and topped off with Marty Friedman's guest solo. I heard this before the album release and it is still one of my favorite tracks off the album. The next two tracks play on each other's opposites, as "Night" is a beautiful, ballad-like tune as opposed to Aurora's proud, declarative presence. Another pre-released track comes next, "Celestial", where some of the catchiest riff and vocal works collide with perfect synergy, making it a definite a highlight on this album. Ending off with "Maeva", you think "Amazing, definitely worth my money", and as you take the disc out to put it back into its case, you see that Disc 2 has yet to be experienced. "Chaos" is just that: a frenzy of riffs showing off the diversity of Skyharbor to its fullest extent. Gone are Tompkins' vocals, as the vocal work is done by Sunneith Revankar (Rhayanak Maut), and the difference is striking yet beautiful. Laying on heavy, down-tuned riffs couple with furious drum work, it is a fitting contrast to "Illusion" that can't help but be repeated after listening through this shorter disc.

Lyrics — 9
Lyrically the album is full of great content, Tompkins and Revankar play to their strengths and deliver a fresh sound among the clutter of modern day metal clones. While the lyrically content is poetic in itself, the delivery is what makes the album whole. Both vocalists time their screams and clean vocals in such a balanced way that you are never left yearning for either one. The range of both vocalists lets choruses soar higher and pounding riffs pound harder, and this diversity compliments the variety of instrumentation that is seen on the album.

Overall Impression — 9
Honestly, this is one of the best releases of 2012 in my opinion. It's fresh, it's new, it's promising, and it's always a good album to listen to. Great instrumental work, skilled vocalists, and beautiful song structures make this album awesome to listen to for guitar geeks and music enthusiasts alike. Check this group out, and keep looking for new content by them and other artists in the Basick Records family!

16 comments sorted by best / new / date

    frankibo
    The thing people are missing is that although there are a lot of djent bands out there this isn't like metalcore where every riff in every song is the same. Even the most stereotypical djent bands are lightyears ahead of most other bands out there, the ambience, groove, polyrhythmics, polymetrics, syncopation and odd time sigs always add up to an interesting listen for me. I think this is a really solid album, combines the best of Tesseract and Periphery for me, a solid 9.
    ktstein
    Almost 2 years later and I'm still loving this album. I was hard into Djent when it came out, and most of the newer bands all sound really stale to me. Still a huge Periphery and Tesseract fan, but most of the new stuff from Monuments, The Contortionist, etc. is just boring. I think the heavier Djent sound isn't the way to go, which might be why this album appeals so much to me. Keshav layers so much sound into each second of the album, and there doesn't seem to be a misplaced note here. For all you haters that compare this to metalcore, look up Keshav's playthrough of Maeva on YouTube and you'll see that he's got some of the most creative riffs out there...very little chugga chugga. I give this an easy 8-8.5, and maybe higher.
    ktstein
    Almost 2 years later and I'm still loving this album. I was hard into Djent when it came out, and most of the newer bands all sound really stale to me. Still a huge Periphery and Tesseract fan, but most of the new stuff from Monuments, The Contortionist, etc. is just boring. I think the heavier Djent sound isn't the way to go, which might be why this album appeals so much to me. Keshav layers so much sound into each second of the album, and there doesn't seem to be a misplaced note here. For all you haters that compare this to metalcore, look up Keshav's playthrough of Maeva on YouTube and you'll see that he's got some of the most creative riffs out there...very little chugga chugga. I give this an easy 8-8.5, and maybe higher.
    ProgFripp74
    EpiExplorer wrote: Already feels really old. I'm giving this a fair chance as I always do with djent, but this is just so boring. There's short bits here and there that are musically different from the norm, but most of it is chugchugchugchugchugforcedambiencechugchugchugchug plus metalcore vocals, and yeah, I get that its from Dan Tompkins, but he can do better.
    I'm sorry but which album are you listening to? Yes it is djent so the main basis is the djentdjentdjent of the guitar, but it's not exactly the cookie cutter rubbish like some. It has vast varitation and this is the more ambidjent type rather than the constant pounding riffage of those such as periphery. Keshav can at least write good melodic guitar lines with groove and they compliment Dan's vocals, and vica versa. And dan doesn't have metalcore vocals purely because he has a vast range. He doesn't frantically go into high pitched false chord screams throughout the album.
    edgeyyz
    User rating 9.8. All the comments are rather negative. O.o I do sort of agree, while this isn't "typical" djent it is somewhat lacking.
    EpiExplorer
    Thats just what all the newer djent bands do though, few bands actually do anything differently now, the only 3 I can think of are Noiseware, Cilice and Vildhjarta, and Vildhjarta hasn't made a good album yet.
    EpiExplorer
    Already feels really old. I'm giving this a fair chance as I always do with djent, but this is just so boring. There's short bits here and there that are musically different from the norm, but most of it is chugchugchugchugchugforcedambiencechugchugchugchug plus metalcore vocals, and yeah, I get that its from Dan Tompkins, but he can do better.
    Raven_Flight
    Agree with the comments above, nothing new in this release at all. Impressive musical skill sure, but I'm personally kinda tired of this.
    Mr Winters
    Interesting in a way, but nothing amazing. Maeva is awesome, Celestial is good, other songs have cool bits, but that's it. Definitely not a 9+ album.
    Ibeanez
    Just listened to the songs "Catharsis" and "Maeva" and surprisingly got all the way through both of them. Actually enjoyed them. Of course, I don't listen to much of this style so it isn't going to sound old to me. Maybe those were two of the better songs.
    maximumrocker
    I have only listened to a few songs off this album, I enjoy them. Have to give it a full listen down the road
    gitarheroexprt
    honestly, I appreciate the honesty of everyone's opinions. My main goal was to get this group on the site, since I saw that there had yet to be a review about the group. Just getting discussion in general from the band is awesome in itself
    ProgFripp74
    I agree with the majority of the comments, however it still isn't as cookie cutter as a lot of you make it out to be. The thing is, it is very difficult to be really innovative in music, that's why we have genre's and subgenre's. We classify music and put them in boxes because they sound similar. When djent first became a scene (or perhaps genre), every band was deemed innovative, and to be fair, metalcore had it's day when it was seen as "new" and "fresh". Now there are a million rubbish bands playing "core" who only get noticed if they have a lead vocalist who is emo appeal. It's the music scene and it's pathetic. Back to the point, yes the album doesn't stray into new territory for djent or metal for that matter, but it is a class album and definately one of the better albums out there at the moment.