National Geographic once estimated that over 100,000 wildfires ravage the U.S. annually, burning approximately 4 to 5 million acres of land. Moving at an average speed of 14 mph, these fires quickly overtake and consume everything in their wake. In an effort to combat this destructive phenomenon, official forces are trained to manage, control, and extinguish these large blazes while reaching environmental precautions and safety procedures to common folk. However, no amount of safety precautions and specialized training can prepare you for the fiery inferno that is Skeyes. Their debut release, Empty Mirrors EP, harnesses the raging power of nature’s most beautifully rugged force in a torrent of sustained melodies and ferocious breakdowns.
Kicking off this fiery album is “Ethereal”, a track that is marked by an exquisite display of melodic ambiance and emotionally heavy riffs. A quick drum fill gives way to explosive riffs and a flare of melodic overlays that, in turn, ignite a relentless delivery of heavy breakdowns from guitarists Cease and Macaluso. Vocalists Dale Brosious and Jesse Cease masterfully intertwine raw clean vocals with vicious low growls to add a layer of intensity that burns more violently than a brush fire. The seemingly endless hail of scorching riffage suddenly halts for an ambient interlude in which gentle rising effects churn and billow behind lightly sustained piano notes, clean chords, and gritty clean vocals from guest vocalist Garret Rapp. The mixture of grit and melodic ambiance creates layered waves of raging intensity that billows and folds like smoke over trees, suspending your ears between the beauty and violent rage of a spiraling forest fire before delving into a final crushing assault of roaring breakdowns.
Next is “Myriad”, an explosive track that is laden with spastic solos and incessantly heavy riffage. Skeyes wastes no time, immediately slamming your ears with fiery walls of lightning-fast melodic arias over choppy, heavy riffs backed by driving percussion. Spastic energetic solos explode and crackle like pine trees ablaze overtop searing breakdowns and heavy chugging. Raw cleans are met with a clashing force of split scream harmonies and ferocious growls from Brosious and Cease. Guitarists Cease and Macaluso juxtapose waves of pulverizing breakdowns and rugged, chaotic riffs against complementary haunting melodic overlays to create a chilling effect that will have your skin breaking into goose bumps as your aural forest is burned to the ground.
This brief but vibrant album ends with “Ars Amatoria”, a track that is packed with bursts of melodic riffs in one last reflective rage against the dying light. Gently strummed notes from Macaluso and Cease meet sweeping layers of light melodic arias before delving into pounding percussive elements and smoldering riffs that burn with a final bright emotional intensity of a dying flame. Clean, soothing vocals follow parallel to the instrumentals, soon becoming gritty and then gradually descending into one final display of emotionally charged low screams. The resulting musical finale will leave you breathless, emotionally drained, and begging for more.
Though each track carries its own in terms of intensity and consistent delivery, “Ethereal” and “Myriad” stand-out the most in this album. Both tracks are so deeply drenched in emotion and energy in each verse, chug, and sustained note that they burn with the fueled intensity and drive of a kerosene-induced fire.
Overall, Skeyes has crafted one of the most explosive and emotionally charged albums of this year. The vast amount of musicianship and energy that is poured into each meticulously crafted riff and verse burns so vibrantly and audibly that the resulting flames almost take on a tangible form. You will lose yourself in the charring beauty that lies within Skeyes’ burning rage. Empty Mirrors is an unstoppable force that will consume you in its raging blaze of fiery licks and energetic breakdowns. Evacuation is futile; there is nowhere to run. Nothing can save you from being consumed by the inferno that is Skeyes’ Empty Mirrors. (Katt Hass)
For Fans Of: Erra, Northlane, Mureau