Review Summary: “Death is a beautiful thing… it’s only in the interval after dying that new things can sprout.”
For guitarists, it’s been easier than ever to get your music out there. As proven by instrumental contemporaries Sithu Aye
and Ben Sharp of Cloudkicker
, you don’t need a full band to make great prog metal anymore. In the case of Scottish producer Darren Cruickshank, his vehicle for music is Bleeding Skies. The project falls firmly under the atmospheric djent side of the progressive spectrum, and the strait-laced You Can (Not) Die
provides thirteen tracks of non-stop groovy riffs, separated by the occasional interlude, to end his heartfelt project on a relatively high, self-aware note.
You Can (Not) Die
is an unassuming release and Darren has made that abundantly clear in his bandcamp notes. This is a compilation of tracks spanning the past few years, some going as far back as 2009. He feels that he has traversed the genre effectively under this moniker and humbly released this final offering as a friendly farewell to his fans, hence the aptly titled closer ‘Goodbye, My Friends’. The songs themselves offer little diversity; you’d be hard-pressed to pick one track from another, with few exceptions such as the opener ‘Newmark’, dipping into death metal territory, and ‘Structures’, which juxtaposes discordant grooves with ethereal melodic soundscapes. Totaling almost fifty minutes, You Can (Not) Die
is not an easy listen to stomach in one sitting, but in this case, the sum of its parts are purposefully greater than the whole.
Nothing here is revolutionary nor is it trying to be. It’s little more than Darren’s peace offering with djent, a means by which to gain some semblance of closure; the end of a chapter in his life. Thankfully for us, You Can (Not) Die
is largely pleasant on the ears, and fans of the style can surely get their fix here.