Review Summary: “Not every band sounds their best on their first demo, you know, and it’s crazy how much it blew us up!” – Design the Skyline.
The image of Design the Skyline exploding is surely a concept many would revel in, but you could argue they definitely had the right publicity approach going into this game. When their demo single “Surrounded by Silence” was shamelessly supported by Victory Records in mid-May, the backlash was incredible, but comprehensible. It was like “Friday” went something-core in the backwoods, consequently making any listener want to be literally surrounded by perpetual silence. Is it possible that while Victory were proclaiming the septet’s boundary pushing significance, they had instead overstated it? Did the investment in the single and the subsequent public decree of epic-failure cause fallout at Victory headquarters? To briskly rectify the situation by having them record and release their rehabilitating debut in the short space of 3 months is the only conclusion that can describe the way Nevaeh
sounds. It’s a pure retreat from the jarring, uncompromising pile of junk they began with, in favour of musical conformity.
Whether the above is due to label pressure, or community hostility is not really of major relevance, but it may offer insights. Throughout its succinct half hour, the band scatter their largely uninteresting now semi-disjointed melodies, alongside tried and tested electro-filled interludes that make your little cousin look like a Casio wizard, all while under some sort of duress from pretentious ideologies and themes – they are, after all, teetering across pubescence. Amongst these generic notions of inherent human hate during “Under the Blood Driven Moon” and world corruption in “Crystal Swords Kill the Hordes” the band blatantly displace a few instrumental distractions, which they’d have you call sundry. With tinges of (in the band’s own words) Led Zeppelin
and The Doors
, “Reverie’s” intro ironically does sound like Black Sabbath
’s “Solitude”, only a little more upbeat. Along with the electronic interlude of “Free for Infinity” and the acoustic conclusion of “Nevaeh” these three emplace the general concept of acoustic copout, even if they share some sense of melodic awareness in structure.
is neither hilariously
awful, nor amazingly good. In fact, considering where they began it’s rather imitative, leaving the resounding echoes of Daniel Garza’s appalling grunts as the only minor distinction. The band equally suffers from the same universe of diseases many other embryonic bands out of these microgenres have come to obliviously endure. But does this mean it’s a complete failure like their introduction was? Oddly, Nevaeh’s
saving grace are its occasional points of crude charm, like “Cybernetic Strawflower’s” catchy breakdown, or, “Destroyer’s” melo-death configuration. So if you were teething away waiting for an album to rock your socks off to while you post pumped profanities and auto-trolled your way into bandom, look elsewhere. It’s naive, even archaic, to surrender any sense of objectivity as a result of how badly Design the Skyline introduced themselves. Readers take heed; they can play their instruments, they’re just not so good at exploiting the potential.