Friday, July 19, 2024

Sky Empire preside over The Shifting of Tectonic Plates of Power – Part One

British-based band, Sky Empire, seem to be usually classed as progressive metal. For me, this can be too restrictive a pigeonhole to describe their full sound that embodies roots in the likes of Deep Purple, Rush, Iron Maiden through to the more expected Dream Theater.

Their debut, The Dark Tower, from 2018 was a promise of great things to come but was marred by the sad death of original vocalist Yordan Ivanov.

For their new album, the pithily titled The Shifting Tectonic Plates of Power – Part One, the band [Drazic Lecutier – Vocals, Guitars; Remi Jalabert – Drums, Percussion; Tom Hobson – Keyboards and Jon Delaines – Bass] are joined by none other than Jeff Scott Soto on vocals; who needs no introduction as he has provided the vocals on many a rock album over the years, as well as his significant solo catalogue.

Having said that they aren’t just prog, one listen to the lead track ‘Prolegomenon: The Encomium of Creation’ more than proves the point as prog meets Rainbow meets Yngwe (without widdle). As the 14-minute plus instrumental confirms the band are on top form as time signatures fly about the metronomic scale and there’s some brilliant humour built in too – great stuff!

Soto takes the stage with ‘On The Shores of Hallowed Heaven’ and the band perform acoustic as they compliment each other on this carefully crafted sort of prog ballad. Better still is the hard rock of ‘The Emissary’ which has me thinking of an even heavier Heep. Rush-y Yes-y tints show through the joyous ‘Into My Father’s Eyes’ and then ‘Wayfarer’ is a ten-minute epic with light and shade but always compelling and (natch) great vocals. A stunning guitar solo appears on another instrumental, ’The Last Days of Planet Fantasy’. Closing the album is the sixteen-minute ‘House of Cards’, another epic with chapters! Pomp gives way quickly to quiet as Soto pours on the emotion before it traverses most of rock and prog’s methodology quite brilliantly.

Listening to Sky Empire will reveal a genre-crossing work of substantial skill and accessibility. They are surely going to find a new legion of fans with this release… Soto fans will also be there. Give this one a listen and then buy it.

The Shifting Tectonic Plates is out on 27th October 2023.

Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon
North East born, South West domiciled music lover - mainly heavy rock & blues but not averse to other genres. I'm fortunate to have retired early & I can now take full advantage of the 40+ years I have spent collecting, listening, watching & playing (badly) & have enjoyed researching how blues in particular has shaped the music we know & love today. Now if only I could get my Strat & Musicman to sound in reality how they do in my head!

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