Home > *Music, Reviews > Skyliner – The Alchemist (EP): Review

Skyliner – The Alchemist (EP): Review

Slightly over a year ago, I received debut demo material from a New Jersey band calling themselves Skyliner. Just recently, I got a hold of their latest EP entitled The Alchemist. Though I was quite pleased with the eponymous release, this one even further impressed me. Everything from the production to the music itself is a step up from what was already a quality product. If you thought Skyliner was good, be sure to check this one out!

The Music (rating: A-)

  1. The Alchemist
  2. Undying Wings

The Alchemist can be thought of as a fusion between power metal and classic heavy metal. There are key sections of double-bass drumming over a power metal riffing. But there are also portions of the album which utilize a less powerful drum beat with more expansive riffs; this is the more heavy metal aspect of the EP. The vocals are strong and centralized mainly around the middle range, though there are a couple of growls and screams here and there. The EP is mainly guitar-based, though the keyboards and bass do come out to shine ever so often. Basically, this release stays true to the metal formula but makes numerous tweaks to keep it fresh.

There are a few minor issues with The Alchemist. In fact, they are more so isolated spots than issues. The first comes with the growl. It is not exactly a weakness, but it seems out-of-place and unnecessary given the power and gruff of the mid-range vocals. And also, the high-pitched scream in “The Alchemist” seemed somewhat misplaced. Again, there is nothing particularly bad about it. It just seems toned down in the production and noticeably weaker than the rest of the vocals in general. And the fact that there is a gap between the comfort range (middle) and the scream (high) is slightly unsettling. But the biggest ‘problem’ is the forcing of the bass to the frontline. At certain times, it works excellently. But the solos are much too long and of predictable placement. Furthermore, during the bass solos, the music seems fairly bottom-empty and shaky. However, more good than bad is done with the decisions made regarding the bass.

In The Alchemist, pros heavily outweigh the cons. The guitar riffs are fantastic and give the rest of the music a strong central point to revolve around. They do not force their phrase length or their overall duration past what is warranted. The use of a great range of notes (low to high) within each riff gives the much-needed sense of completeness, especially since there is only one guitar present. The solos are less remarkable but of commendable quality nonetheless. And the vocals are very well worked into the tracks, delivering good phrasing and a fitting tone. The keyboards and bass, as earlier stated, come out to the spotlight smoothly and gracefully. And the pacing and transitioning done by the drums are not to be neglected. The way all the instruments come together in the writing aspect of the EP is seamless and natural. In fact, what truly makes this record a great one is the quality songwriting which meshes the impressively technical instruments into a more-than-comfortable groove.

The Alchemist is a well-written, well-performed EP. It does not stray too far from the norm, but still sparkles brightly within its associated genres. And yes, there is the rare spot on the album, but they are small in size and number. More importantly, they are greatly overwhelmed by what makes The Alchemist a great listen. It is a great, albeit short, EP that will hopefully lead to an even better full-length release. Keep an eye out for Skyliner!

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