Sky Architect
A Dying Man's Hymn


4.5
superb

Review

by drewcordova USER (5 Reviews)
June 16th, 2012 | 13 replies | 2,320 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A Dying Man's Hymn is a modern trip into psychedelia. It is reminiscent of Pink Floyd and King Crimson, while being entirely beholden unto itself.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Sky Architect’s A Dying Man's Hymn is modern trip into psychedelic music. It is complete with extended jams, long songs, keyboards, and meandering instrumentals. Many of these qualities might give the impression that this album lacks focus. However, Sky Architect is able to pull these elements together (with a few others thrown into the mix), and create a truly captivating album.

As with most progressive music, this album excels when the music crescendos then erupts into emotional fits. Sometimes the songs build to great heights of anticipation, only to empty out into a sea of tranquility (Breach). Others actually flare into undeniable heaviness (Melody of the Air – Explicatio, Breach). In fact, much of A Dying Man's Hymn is complimentary. For every instance of heaviness, there is a light, airy atmosphere. The music swells from nearly droning passages into frantic keyboard melodies. Tightly complex, rhythmically dense passages give way to sprawling melody (The Campfire Ghost's Song). There are times where the music creates feelings of despair, yet they belie the times when you are overwhelmed with a sense of freedom. In fact, sometimes you actually feel as though you are flying over the music.

Sky Architect are able to evoke all of these feelings by executing flawlessly. One of the things you will notice immediately is the gritty production. The songs are through-produced, and never sound contrived. It is obvious that the music was written to be performance oriented rather than polished. Neither polished, nor gritty production are values unto themselves, however, the gritty production works well with the artists vision. They are able to derive an organic sound that blends very well with the psychedelic elements in use. The vocals are beautiful and haunting, and the singer's accent adds enough charm that you do not lament the lack of auto-tune.

The music is technical, but not to the point of being showy. There are tasteful, soulful guitar solos (a tribute to Hendrix's guitar playing can be heard on The Campfire Ghost's Song). Most of the songs are held down by tight bass playing. This allows the guitars and keyboards to wander while keeping a groove that never becomes tiresome (Woodcutters Vile). Ultimately though, the guitars are what hold A Dying Man's Hymn together. The weeping tones make it feel like an album rather than a collection of songs.

You can tell by the song titles that this album needs to be listened to in its entirety. There is a trio of songs called Melody of the Air. They are subtitled Expositio, Explicatio, and Recapitulatio. This means that a theme is introduced, unfolds, then is repeated in a different form before it is concluded. Most of the album is built around these themes, and it pays to actually sit and listen to the album in full. That is, of course, if you have the time.

This album is epic, and as such, is very long. It clocks in around 77 minutes, therefore making it a project to sit through. The music is outstanding, but it is hard for a lot of people to sit for the duration. If you do the payoff is worth it. However, there are some songs that do go on for too long. Hitodama's Return continues on for about 1.5 minutes after the logical ending point, and that isn't the only flaw. There are transitions within some of the songs that are curious to say the least. Treebird would have benefited from being cut in two, rather than pushed past the 9 minute mark.

A Dying Man's Hymn is not perfect, but it is so consistently good that it is worth the time spent on listening to it. The production, repeating themes, and instrumental virtuosity keep your attention. While the heaviness, airy-ness, and lyrics make it cathartic. Sky Architect have made something special with A Dying Man's Hymn, and hopefully their evolution will only see them get better.


user ratings (19)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
drewcordova
June 16th 2012



705 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Best songs: The Breach, Woodcutters Vile, Hitodama's Return.

CaptainDooRight
June 16th 2012



28755 Comments


Just listened to the Campfire Ghost Song and it was pretty good. Gonna look more into this and read ur review later. I'm interested.

Digging: Tukaaria - Raw to the Rapine

FictionalFlames
June 16th 2012



1516 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

P/

iambandersnatch
June 16th 2012



1469 Comments


Sounds interesting. Track list seems to be missing fyi

drewcordova
June 16th 2012



705 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the heads up, bandersnatch. I tried to edit, but got errors.

Shuyin
June 17th 2012



11422 Comments


great band name, got me interested too, have a pos.

Digging: Integral - Sercosa

iambandersnatch
June 17th 2012



1469 Comments


First song reminds me a ton of Sail to the Moon by Radiohead. Definitely a very different song as it
progresses, but early on there's a ton of similarities. Hopin I like this, it does seem very pink
floyd so far

MeatSalad
July 3rd 2012



14425 Comments


Cool so far, sounds more like a mellower beardfish than pink floyd/KC though.

Digging: Mr. Bungle - California

Yazz_Flute
July 3rd 2012



18769 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I thought this was incredibly boring but to be fair, I haven't listened since sometime last year.

Digging: The Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

MeatSalad
July 3rd 2012



14425 Comments


I like it, it's kind of repetitive but they have a firm grasp of what real prog sounds like.

drewcordova
July 3rd 2012



705 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm not shocked by some of the repetitive nature of it because it's such a long album, but it doesn't bother me. Although, I think the album would have been stronger if it was a bit shorter.

drewcordova
July 3rd 2012



705 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yazz. You might give it another chance. I don't know you or your taste, but albums like this can be growers. I didn't find it immediately accessible either.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2012



7346 Comments


Thumbs up. You do a great job selling this album. I'll definitely give it a spin.

Digging: Kimbra - The Golden Echo



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