Bend the Sky
Observatory


2.5
average

Review

by johnny of the Well USER (44 Reviews)
April 20th, 2013 | 13 replies


Release Date: 03/31/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Hey, did you hear about that new djent band?

The developing branch of progressive metal that is generally referred to as ‘djent’ often seems unsure of its overall direction. Pioneers Meshuggah found ways to innovate and managed to sound engaging across seven albums’ worth of exploring it. Sadly, as the sound caught on, countless bands have demonstrated exactly how difficult it is to record something that sounds so crushing and mechanical without making it sound exhaustingly lifeless. Bands such as Periphery who have found mainstream attention have inspired legions of followers, each more soul-drainingly dull, monotonous and insipid than the last. Granted, there have been musicians who have utilised the sound in an exciting way – Cloudkicker and Soul Cycle spring to mind – but these truly are diamonds in the rough alongside the majority of the movement.

On that positive note, we have Bend the Sky. Their latest release, Observatory has arrived just in time to restore my faith in djent, and maybe in progressive metal as a whole. They incorporate classical melodies and ethereal atmospheres into their music while maintaining a gritty barrage of distorted grooves; it sounds like we have something special, right?

Well…it might have been.

I have to applaud the band for trying to do something distinctive that could have added flair and originality. However, the classical elements are integrated into their sound about as well as the American population of North Korea; either they are clumsily used as short interludes, thereby completely crushing any momentum the tracks had until that point, or they are layered on top of the grooves, sounding as if the guitarist and pianist were in two different rooms when they wrote the EP, playing completely obliviously of one another. Therefore, the band’s trump card becomes absolutely useless. Even more vapid are the keyboards: whilst the use of sustained, mildly cheesy chords has been used many a time to create a sense of wonder, this falls flat on its face when it is done throughout the whole ***ing album. Aside from turning the captivatingly epic into the spirit-laceratingly mundane, it gives the listener the impression that this is a piece of music, already devoid of variety, that sounds exactly the same from start to finish. In addition of this, the djent elements are…well, they’re there. That’s just about it. The grooves aren’t outright bad, although leaning decisively on the generic side of the spectrum, but they fail to add the slick edge that they so desperately needed to, instead washing over the listener like ripples in a bubblebath. Every now and then a lead will appear, but these also fail to do anything interesting, although I must admit that there is a good riff that is played shortly in the title track. That’s it.

I will not be so harsh as to condemn this sound as lacking potential; if the classical-metal relationship found here progressed from its present yin-and-yang state to something more cohesive, and if each song felt like its own entity rather than part of a slumbering leviathan then Bend the Sky could well become a band to watch. As it is, I cannot recommend this to anyone. If you like the majority of djent-infused metal – and please don’t get me wrong; you’re probably a perfectly acceptable human being – then you might want to investigate. Otherwise, please stay away. That’s it from me; I’m off before I run out of synonyms for ‘boring’.



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user ratings (9)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
johnnydeking29
April 20th 2013


9561 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I heard this album at the wrong time. I snapped. I'm sorry.

Digging: Blueneck - King Nine

johnnydeking29
April 20th 2013


9561 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

http://bendthesky.bandcamp.com/album/observatory
Feel free to disregard this review and listen anyway

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
April 20th 2013


21819 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

im liking this so far. not as good as their debut but still pretty solid.

and calling meshuggah the pioneers of djent feels off. even if they did influence the whole movement they really sound nothing like the bands we call djent. good review though. pos'd

Digging: Todd Terje - It's Album Time

johnnydeking29
April 20th 2013


9561 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks bro, what I meant was that they made advances with the original sound

mursu
April 20th 2013


256 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The review was good, pos'd.

When I heard the first song on their debut I was quite excited. I thought that their sound was pretty good and interesting. But the rest of the album just seemed quite boring.

I will listen to this at some point when I have time.

Digging: Oceansize - Effloresce

DanielNightLewis
April 20th 2013


560 Comments


It's analogous to the Faith No More "birthing" nu-metal thing, Meshuggah aren't djent but have laid the blueprint just as FNM did.

Digging: Kaddish - Thick Letters To Friends

mursu
April 20th 2013


256 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So, I decided to stay up late and listened through this whole thing. After one listen it sounds pretty good. I will listen to this few more times before I rate this.

Dreamflight
April 20th 2013


1760 Comments


"However, the classical elements are integrated into their sound about as well as the American population of North Korea"

LOL.

but yeah review is great ofc...I'm staying far away from this.



johnnydeking29
April 20th 2013


9561 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Haha thanks man, keeping your distance is a good idea. It has some potential; maybe they'll refine their sound someday and release something solid

mindleviticus
April 21st 2013


8331 Comments


Sounds a bit mundane but it's not bad

johnnydeking29
April 21st 2013


9561 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"this is a great review but what do you mean by that second paragraph"
Was being sarcastic
"Sounds a bit mundane but it's not bad"
Yeah, its not offensively awful, just really uninteresting

johnnydeking29
April 26th 2013


9561 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Am surprised at how many votes this already has

RenegaDrifter
August 3rd 2013


202 Comments


Clearly they wanted the prove guitarz could play along with and ochestra rather than the other way around. Still there is something here, it's just thet the overall guitar work is lacking for my tastes, and the drums were uninspiring.



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