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Skylake - 'In Orbit' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/56/f7/79/skylake-in-orbit-74-1568967940.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 19, 2019    
 
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A fine debut from this young Dutch group.

Skylake are a four-piece from Utrecht in the Netherlands. They formed in 2015 and are the brainchild of guitarist/vocalist Bart Laan. Suzan van den Engel is both the vocalist and the harpist, Charlie Feld is the bassist and Arjan Laan is the drummer. Surprisingly for a Progressive band, they do not have a keyboardist.

'In Orbit' is Skylake's debut release and it contains seven tracks. Opener 'The Storm' features a nice vocal from van den Engel before a crunching guitar riff cuts her short, while Arjan Laan adds some intense drumming. The song meanders between mellow and heavy, and there's also a superb solo from Bart Laan; the likes of Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater and Anathema come to mind as influences. 'Haste' once again has Arjan Laan proving that he knows his way around a drum kit and Bart Laan nails another guitar solo. 'Prisoner' features an infectious guitar riff and Bart Laan delivers a sublime solo on this occasion. At times, Van den Engel comes across like the late Dolores O'Riordan from the Cranberries. The end part of the track includes violin courtesy of Felix Kessels which gives the number a different feel.

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'Smooth Skin/War Within' begins slowly with some acoustic guitar and it reminds me of Riverside. As the song progresses and starts to build up, Bart Laan switches to electric and everything sounds great until he decides to start growling (luckily not for too long). 'Vicious' includes some fine bass playing from Feld and excellent fret-work from Bart, and there's even a bit of Djent too; Van den Engel also hits some incredibly high notes. 'Crossroads' is pretty mellow with some fine acoustic work and Arjan Laan's drumming is particularly interesting. The final track 'Luna' once again begins slowly and builds up with Bart Laan indulging us with a superb solo. Feld's bass work shines and all hell breaks loose during the second half of the song with some truly metallic riffs, but then the tune and the album itself come to an end with a sombre acoustic piece.

'In Orbit' is a fine debut from this young Dutch group. However, I'd like to see them add some keyboards to help flesh out a few of their songs and possibly van den Engel could try varying her vocals a little more. That said, I look forward to the sophomore release.

Az Chaudhry

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