Review Summary: The hype around this album was not deserved. A Skylit Drive is just another generic Post-Hardcore band that will probably sign with a bigger label with the next mass signing of Post-Hardcore acts.
A Skylit Drive, a Post-Hardcore/Screamo/Emo band from Lodi, Ca. A Skylit Drive has already released an EP entitled She Watched The Sky
on Tragic Hero Records. Since then they have completed several national tours with the likes of Scary Kids Scaring Kids, Alesana, Four Letter Lie, Dance Gavin Dance, Pierce The Veil, From First To Last, and Bless The Fall. They have also taken part in 2008’s Bamboozle Festival. In late June through July of this year, A Skylit Drive will be touring with Sky Eats Airplane, Breathe Carolina and more. At the beginning of this year, the guys entered the studio to record Wires…And The Concept Of Breathing
with Mitchel Marlow and Al Jacobs (He Is Legend, Classic Case, & Filter). Jamie King (Between the Buried & Me) produced the instruments while Kit Walters (Alesana, A Skylit Drive) produced the vocals. Was the hype around this album deserved?
Michael “Jag” Jagmin is the primarily vocalist, but he does get help from Brian White (Bass) and Cory LaQuay (Drums). It is obvious that when a Tragic Hero Records band wants their vocals overly produced they will employ Kit Walters. Both Alesana and A Skylit Drive vocal production by Kit has too much vocal layering. If they asked for it or he has just gone on and done it, I do not know. The layered vocals on “I’m Not A Thief, I’m A Treasure Hunter
” are actually good though. Back when She Watched The Sky
was released last year, A Skylit Drive was being compared to Chiodos, Taking Back Sunday, and Thursday. Such things like this should be taken with a grain of salt, but A Skylit Drive is one of those bands that want to make it big. Back in 2006, the old drummer was calling Emo music gay. In 2007, he was in a Post-Hardcore/Screamo/Emo band. In 2007, A Skylit Drive sounded nothing like Taking Back Sunday. In 2008, they employ the talking/singing vocal style that Taking Back Sunday made famous on the track “City on the Edge of Forever
”. All things aside, this could have been done much better and more discreetly.
Jag, Brian, and Cory uses three vocal styles: clean, sometimes whiny, vocals, Death Metal growls, and screams. Jag's clean vocals sound so whiny at some points to the point that it is almost unbearable to listen. One example of this is on “This Isn’t The End
”. Sometimes you have some good clean vocals, ex. “Balance
”. Sometimes the band does not know when to use their vocal skills. The vocal part at the beginning of “City on the Edge of Forever
” does not fit the song, while some attempts for the vocals to be catchy fail. When this happens, the band has to lean on the guitars and drums to be catchy, ex. “This Isn’t The End”. The screams are good but not as good as the growls, which are amazing. "Pursuit Lets Wisdom Ride The Wind
" actually starts with the growls. A low point for vocals is the horrible vocal job on “My Disease
”. As far as lyrics are concerned, Jag says they are supposed to be about “alien invasions and heroic knight tales.” I can only spot the latter in only “Knights of the Round
Guitars, the second most important instrument for a band; A Skylit Drive still has their original guitarists Nick Miller and Joey Wilson. They unfortunately have not progressed as much as they could have, in the year, since their EP was released. The riffs are still pretty basic and underachieving; however, the guitarists have gotten a bit technical in one aspect. They now use some fretting, ex. guitar riff on “Wires (And The Concept of Breathing)
”. Melodic and distorted guitar riffs and split about fifty/fifty. “This Isn’t The End
” even has some chugging going on in it. There is a great guitar riff on “Ex-Machina
” before it changes and a decent guitar riff near the end of “Balance
”. Only good guitar intro is found on "City on the Edge of Forever
". Most of the time though the guitars are not doing anything special.
Cory loves to use his whole drum kit, and can play his double bass pedals quickly. Cory shines one the two drum oriented intros found on the songs “I’m Not A Thief, I’m A Treasure Hunter
” and “Balance
”. When A Skylit Drive needs a part of a song to be catchy, they hand the duty over to Cory, ex. “Knights of the Round
”. Their Keyboardist, Kyle Simmons, is really only shown on the instrumental tracks “In The Beginning There Was Void
” and “Sleepwalker
Brian, the Bass player, is not given any daylight to shine. Most of the time Brian just follows what the drummer is doing, this leads to him just solidifying the harmony. He is playing as if he is being paid to just follow the drummer and not outshine the other members of the band. At least Brian helps on the vocal duties because he has few spots when he does something different then the norm.
When there are member changes, the band can either fall apart or stay together. When you lose a vocalist, your whole sound could change. A Skylit Drive had more potential when Jordan Blake was around then with Jag. With that out of the way, the hype around this album was not deserved. A Skylit Drive is just another generic Post-Hardcore band that will probably sign with a bigger label with the next mass signing of Post-Hardcore acts. The energetic heavier songs are better then the softer songs. The album also starts to get boring near the end of the album, but is saved by “All It Takes For Your Dreams To Come True
”. The instrumentation screams, and growls saves this album from being bad. The guitars rarely do anything noteworthy, the Bass is not impressive on this album, the drums are decent, and the clean vocals are overall average but nearly bad. I will end this with a recommendation to the band, A Skylit Drive should mold their sound around "Eris and Dysnomia
" and "All It Takes for Your Dreams to Come True".