SUNLESS SKY - FIREBREATHER (Pure Steel Records)
2014 is a year to forget quickly but it’s top in US Metal! Wicked Waltz, Sanctuary, Riot V, Firewölfe, Savage Wizdom, Darkology and plenty of others will fight for a place in the year lists at Metal To Infinity. After all US Metal reigns supreme for us! One that almost missed my radar was Sunless Sky, one I didn’t see coming until I received a message to search for it. At that specific moment I received a package with this CD included and thank God I have the honor to review it.
Why this band is so Godlike to me is for the obvious reason that Juan Ricardo seems to be the vocalist of the band. He seduced my heart and soul with his previous bands like for example Ritual (aka Ritual Of Torment), Attaxe and Dark Arena. Even listening to Sunless Sky blindfolded would have made me sure Juan Ricardo is the singer right here. His vocal sound and vocal lines are so unique that I can recognize him out of a thousand others. I consider him as one of the best singers in the US Metal scène. He’s energetic and sings so intense that he remains one of the most exclusive singers I know. His high screams, high pitched vocal lines and exceptional timbre doesn’t surprise me anymore but those who are ignorant about him will stay speechless behind. And that’s a huge compliment because the US Metal movement is full of first class vocalists.
Sunless Sky is the new band from this guy and again he proves he’s able to lift up a band to a very high level. This is outstanding American Metal, the kind the crusaders of the genre will worship! This is a top album and let me explain why. From beginning until the end you will hear an overdose of superb razor sharp and often threatening riffs, fast fingered guitars and leads that will make you play imaginary guitars. The songs are blowing your speakers in a thousand pieces and time after time you will give this album a new spin. The songs need some time but this is the kind of Metal that any True Metal fan will bow their head deep for, especially those who have US Metal microbe running through your veins. The varied and technical played drum parts, the strong bass guitars and the riffing will keep you focused and obliges you to ignore all the other albums you have to listen to nowadays.
Sunless Sky forced me to keep on listening and I didn’t resist therefore the pleasure this kind of Metal gives me is way too big. The band constantly mixes catchy riffs with screaming but intense played solos, with hooky melodies and pounding drums. Classic US Power / Heavy Metal but all performed on a fabulous way. Why? Because Sunless Sky is able to touch the soul of the listener with of course the astonishing vocals but at least also because of those mind-blowing leads. Harry Hillock and Dave Kirk are responsible for them and I don’t know if I have ever heard them before. These guys seem to be so experienced that I can’t believe they never crossed my life in Metal. They make me quiet, they make me warm, they give me a pleasant feeling with a slice of a melancholic touch! Sometimes their solos reminds me of the oldest Iron Maiden, do you understand my feeling?
Any single track has its strong points and I can hardly find weaknesses. The extreme ugly front cover is certainly no reason not to purchase this one. On “Human time bomb” there is a helping hand from a woman that listens to the name of Michelle Nader. Wow, another great voice and she fits the vocal lines of Juan Ricardo. It’s pretty unique to hear a US Power Metal duet! Up-tempo, uplifting songs that breathes fire and true energy this kind of Power Metal demands, that’s what Sunless Sky is all about. Add great song writing with very enjoyable and big choruses, high screams, shredding solos! Do you want more? Can you ask more? Sunless Sky does it all in that typical atmosphere of the entire US Metal scène with roots in the mighty Eighties. They mix the Power with great melodic lines, the kind Helstar will always be immortal for although Sunless Sky is less Progressive than the old Helstar! The very last song sounds different but remains fantastic because it reminds me of those old good late Seventies / early Eighties bands like UFO, Rainbow…
Sunless Sky is making me sweat and it’s impossible not adding this one on my list of favorite albums in 2014. I can say even more and this one will be the kind I will frequently grab for in the future. It’s an album with balanced songs, great arrangements and musical highlights. Add the fantastic vocals and any US Metal fanatic will be soon addicted to this one, as I am. Although the last Dark Arena disappointed me a bit, because of a lack of new tunes, Sunless Sky convinces me easily. I really adore this band and I’m sure I will worship this album forever. I know US Power Metal is meant for the chosen few and I assure all of them they won’t disagree this review. But this record is far too good for the rest to stay ignored although I know the pain of the entire US Metal scène, a lack of respect. Maybe Sanctuary and Riot V are able to give this kid of Metal a new vibe with their new albums. I also hope Juan Ricardo will finally get the respect he deserves. At least it’s time to get this man and his band(s) to Europe! Meanwhile I have ordered another album of this man, Vincent Von Veith and I hope I’ll get it soon… Check: https://www.facebook.com/SunlessSky?fref=ts
My Points: 90 / 100
95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !
Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan
Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it
Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing
Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate
Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard
50- : Rubbish