Review Summary: A questionable trade, but a brilliant outcome nonetheless.
Halfway through the album and any pair of trained ears can comprehend that Sinew has moved on from where they last left us. "The Beauty Of Contrast" was released back in 2008 which produced some immediately remarkable gems, like "Eidolon" and "Charging Loki", to the ears of the general progressive rock fans. Many appreciated their approach to combine heavy progressive rock with raw production. It is now 2012 and they have released their much-anticipated second album, entitled "Pilots Of A New Sky", which debatably trades those very qualities which made their debut album so outstanding.
Ever since Tool's music has gradually come to be appreciated universally, countless heavy progressive rock Tool-clone bands have emerged and submerged. Some of them has actually become quite famous - but the fact that most of them are forgettable remains true. Most likely that is why Sascha J. and the boys took the bold decision to depart from their previous sound and create fresh material for the new album. Yes, the most arguable trade would be their migration from "Progressive Rock" territory to "Alternative Rock" territory. Of course, progressive influences are still in abundance but the alternative influences are much stronger.
Furthermore, whereas their debut album featured heavier material, "Pilots Of A New Sky" straight out trades them off for lighter, more subtle melodies. Even though the album initiates with the fast-paced and instantly striking "Leading To Rome", the rest of the material is much gentler. Obviously, softening of the material could have been an utter disaster, considering how the band is relatively new. Nevertheless, Sascha J. and the boys secure themselves with exceptionally proficient song-writing and crystalline production. The production is a major improvement from their debut - with ambient, electronic and even Jazz (particularly in "Life In A Loop") influences perfectly layered - one over another - very craftily in a simple, yet delicate manner.
Nevertheless, since Sinew moved into alternative territory, all those euphoric instrumental prowess showed by the guitarist, the bassist, the drummer, and especially the keyboardist could mean naught if the vocalist did not perform precisely. Fortunately for Sinew, Sascha J. exceeds all expectations and delivers a superb performance throughout the album. From the softer "Life In A Loop", "Arctica" and "Echoes" to the powerful chorus sections of "Leading To Rome" and "Turquoise", Sascha J. is like the cream around and in between the cake which makes it so delicious.
Despite the step towards a new direction, Sinew still provides one treat to the fans of their first album in the form of "The Descend to the Heart of Mount Sadhana" - a 13 minute progressive rock epic. Overall, their decision to change their sound might be questionable, but Sinew's "Pilots Of A New Sky" falls short only by one step from becoming an alternative rock timeless masterpiece. An excellent album recommended to all rock fans.