At The Skylines: The Secrets To Life

Turning the future of metal into a dystopia

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Plenty of bands have proved that you can mix the aggression of metal and hardcore with cleanly sung melodies to great effect. At The Skylines are not one of them. Listening to The Secrets To Life you can’t help get the feeling this is a marketing checklist of every trend that has afflicted heavy music over the past five years.

Opener Hush mixes the inevitable growls and monotone breakdowns with such vapid, high-pitched vocals that the two just don’t fit together. Admittedly the pounding at the start of Shady Dreamin’ does pack a punch, but you suspect that the heavy parts are only included for street cred and are devalued by the grating nonsense in between.

However, the main issue is the appalling overuse of various electronic samples, squelches and orchestral effects thrown in at seemingly random interludes that make the whole effort seem juvenile. Even the misguided attempt to sound interesting with dissonant notes and angular rhythms at the start of Let’s Burn This and Turbulence’s promising tunefulness are slim highlights, completely overwhelmed by the joyless warbling and messy wankery.

Adam Brennan

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.