Review Summary: A truly unique blend of electronica and hardcore that'll expand your opinion on what's possible in the modern-day metal scene.3 of 3 thought this review was well written
There's absolutely no way to truly describe what Sky Eats Airplane is. There really isn't, but for the sake of fairness to the band, I'll try to make an unbiased review based on what my ears think. To begin with, Sky Eats Airplane is classified as "Hardcore / Electronica / Metal", which is a peculiar combination. And the outcome is outrageous.
The first and foremost thing to discuss is the quality of musicianship portrayed by this band hailing from Fort Worth, Texas. The band lineup is as follows:
Jerry - Vocals
Lee - Guitar
Johno - Bass
Zack - Guitar
Kenny - Drums
Laptop - Electronica (Really, it says that on their MySpace band page.)
None of the band members are mediocre at what they do. In fact, they're pretty damn good. Jerry does a simply amazing job shuffling the heavy-metal screaming and the melodic-style singing, which adds an unusual feel to each song. The alteration of his vocals is a perfect bridge for linking the heavy metal influence to the lavishly executed video-game style electronica riffs. The drums and guitar are, for the most part, synchronized to create a very heavy, but clean, feeling to the music. Furthermore, Kenny does an excellent job matching his drumming with the electronica to keep that metal tone and prevent the electronica from being a monotonous, softcore solo. Let's move onto the songs!
By All Means, Captain
A very soft song with a mixture of different electronica riffs. That's pretty much it. It serves as an introduction as to what the listener will be hearing throughout the album.
I've never ever heard a song like this. The electronica part is something that might be played at an elementary-school carnival for little kids, while the screaming exemplified by Jerry is something that would fit right into Ozzfest. The short bursts of double-pedalling and guitar riffs coupled with Jerry's vocals provide a powerful metal tone to the album, which is contrasted to the extremely happy-go-lucky electronica riffs. Towards the end of the song, the mood turns into a more serious, fast-paced metal song where all aspects of electronica are derived of their happiness, and they mingle perfectly with the hardcore sound to boost the heaviness of the song.
Honest Hitchhikers Asking For Cash Handouts
What's up with that name? You know it's going to be a weird song. And it really is. It starts off with a rather interesting beat, then Mario-style video game music kicks in. And before you know it, Jerry unleashes a mammoth scream and Kenny pounds incessently on the double pedals. Playing right into the metal tone, the electronica sharply turns into something evil and dark, as if you've just discovered the final boss in your RPG game. Know what I'm talking about? That evil, badass music that tells you you're about to get your ass kicked. The mood is fairly consistent, with random shifts in the electronica that keep you guessing what's going to come next. The end of the song is a repeat of the introduction with some slight alteration of electronica.
The slow, melancholic beginning of the song is fairly faint, and the addition of musical instruments doesn't become apparent until only 50 seconds of the song is left, when everything explodes. Like the rest of the songs, Jerry both screams and sings.
Giants In The Ocean
Probably this band's best song. The song starts out with an electronica riff that lets you know there's going to be some serious screaming. And it's not let down; Jerry unleashes his throaty, hardcore scream right off the bat. The heavily-distorted guitar coupled with wailing on the drums and bursts of double-pedal really showcase the band's ability to write good metal music. However, the extremeness of this song is alleviated when the electronica replaces the drums and the guitar, and Jerry screams to a keyboard that wouldn't be out of place in a Children of Bodom solo. The song slows down a bit right around the 1:20 mark, and the softcore singing and electronica riffs come into play, followed by another round of Jerry screaming to the same melancholy electronica riff (The sound is layered to have him singing as well in the background). Then, the song epitomizes their electronica riffs as some serious riffs are unleashed in a short span of time. The song goes quiet, then turns into a techno-type club beat for the rest of the song.
She Is Just A Glitch
The song starts off right away with a catchy electronica riff that is joined by what sounds like a faint acoustic guitar, and rather than screaming, Jerry starts off singing. There are certain parts in the song where he combines his scream with his singing, and the result works for the mood he conveys throughout the song. There are no screaming vocals or metal-aspects in this song, but it's overall a very good alternative to the rest of the album. Definitely a must hear if you're even somewhat curious about this band.
The Opposite Viewed In Real Time
The song opens up with a crazy, futuristic-sounding electronica riff, then Jerry interrupts and sings for a period of time, before his screaming is unleashed and Kenny joins right along with well-placed bursts of double-pedalling. Right around the 1 minute mark, Jerry stuns us with his absolutely amazing death metal grunt, and the futuristic electronica riff is exquisitely placed to enhance the death metal aspect of the song. (If I may say so, this riff right here is the best riff I've heard in this entire song, and if the entire song was like this, it would be a masterpiece on this album). Afterwards, a soft bridge gives us a little break before Jerry unleashes his vocals again and the song propels into a mixture of unbelievable beats that constantly change. This song really is a showcasing of how unique and talented the band members are.
Everything Perfect On The Wrong Day
The introduction of the song, for the first time, includes the guitar before Jerry's vocals come into play. The entire song has a static feel to it, even the vocals are somewhat distorted, and the electronica has some serious distortion to it. There is definitely something unique about this song -- Kenny's double pedal bursts are lacking where they should be, and that can either be good or bad, but either way you look at it, it's very unique and unexpected. Even as the electronica shifts and advances the song into the next half, you still have no idea what to do. Do you headbang? Do you stare at the stereo and wonder what the hell is playing? This song is perhaps the most indescribable on the album, and there's really no way to summarize it.
Like every other song, The Messenger starts out slow and with an electronica beat that is somewhat dark and gloomy. As electronica drums and cymbals are added, we wait for Jerry to take us by surprise and for the song to erupt into something like Giants In The Ocean. But that never happens. This song sounds like a narration, as Jerry talks more than he does anything else. There are some hybrid singing/screaming parts to the song, but for the most part, it's a letdown of a song.
The electronica is constantly shifting, and no song sounds the same. They all have extremely diverse beats, riffs, and overall sounds. Even Jerry's vocals seem to be slightly different in each song. In a world of repetition and monotony, Sky Eats Airplane deviates from stereotypical metal and asks "What can we experiment with that's different from the last song?". Props to them for that.
Extremely hard to get used to.
Giants In The Ocean
The Opposite Viewed In Real Time
Sky Eats Airplane has promise, and talent, but their execution isn't quite what I expected, and at certain points, the sound is so uncomfortable that I wanted to stop the song. Maybe it requires a very specific taste, but even so, I don't think the soundtrack for Mario was written to have death metal style singing added to it. That being said, I must add that it's unbelievable what the band has managed to do, and indescribable. This is my first review, so my apologies if any aspect of the review is vague, or happens to be confusing. It's very hard to describe this type of music, you just have to listen to it. I don't feel so bad about headbanging to Megaman anymore, though.