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4 tablatures for Skyfire

Skyfire - Esoteric (5,5/10) - Sweden - 2009

Genre: Death Metal / Progressive Power Metal / Symphonic Metal
Label: Pivotal Rockordings
Playing time: 55:52
Band homepage: Skyfire


  1. Deathlike Overture (Intro)
  2. Esoteric
  3. Rise And Decay
  4. Let The Old World Burn
  5. Darkness Descending
  6. Seclusion
  7. Misery's Supremacy
  8. Under A Pitch Black Sky
  9. Linger In Doubt
  10. The Legacy Of The Defeated
  11. Within Reach
Skyfire - Esoteric

Forging musical works of multiple influences and ingredients is theoretically a good way to attract listeners’ attention, yet the value of such eclectic pieces depends on the composer’s ability to combine sources of inspiration into a sensible whole. Sweden’s SKYFIRE fall exactly under the category of this kind of band, at least as regards their latest, fourth release called “Esoteric”.


There is a total number of eleven (including the bonus track) compositions during which the group explores an area where several musical genres meet each other. Thus Death Metal guitars wrapped in melodies originating in southern Sweden intersperse with their more fine counterparts based in Prog aesthetics sometimes treading also into the territory of rapid Power Metal. Some exquisite solo efforts appear as well for instance in “Rise And Decay” strengthening the progressive factor in SKYFIRE’s work. On top of it all the listener gets a broad use of the keyboards, which dependably on the moment serve either as a background support or play the first fiddle in a manner typical for Goth/Symphonic Metal performers. They are then often dramatic and nearly always classically influenced, which fans of NIGHTWISH or EPICA might well appreciate despite the considerable load of Death Metal fury here. In “Darkness Descending” this department utilizes even Symphonic Black Metal ideas, chaotic and with this characteristic theatrical vibe one can come across in this genre.


Despite the range of SKYFIRE’s musical influences and the supposed epicness of “Esoteric”, this material sounds rather thin and without power one would expect from a work like this. During certain moments it feels as if there was a void between the growling vocalist and the high-pitched keyboards. Obviously the guitars and the rhythm section are around as well, yet the sound damage they try to inflict our ears is rather very little. Apart from the production nuances it is surely also the subtle Progressive twist the guitars often have that causes such an effect. The album sound gets changed a bit as soon as the key section does not longer have so much to say and when the guys harass their guitars more explicitly.  Nevertheless the overall impression is that the band did not use the potential that theoretically dwells within a music mixture they are offering.


Another disadvantage is the fact that every song, while being well-written, practically lacks structures that could be memorized immediately and which could tempt the album’s recipients to try this time and again. The abundance of sounds present here, while generally welcomed, does not make it easier to pick and pay attention to particular fragments – much is going on here, though, sometimes it would not hurt to be a bit ascetic and offer something more simple, yet solid than a bunch of too eclectic sound formations.


All in all SKYFIRE have chosen an interesting way to reach out to the Metal audience and it is not that easy to say which of heavy music’s fans should be primarily interested in listening to their album. For my part the band should focus on exploring just one of their music sources of inspiration in order to be able to coin more solid works. If they want to retain the same direction a considerable number of catchy tunes would be needed and desired.

(Online October 18, 2009)

Sebastian Jazdzewski

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