Secrets Of The Sky: Pathway

Crushingly beautiful majesty from Oakland doomsters

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After emerging from the underground with debut Sail Black Waters in 2013, this Californian quintet now have the backing of Metal Blade to give the elegant doomy passages of Pathway the audience it deserves.

With six songs split up by interludes of chants and birdsong, Secrets Of The Sky follow their Oakland brethren Neurosis in packing their post-metal explorations with emotional clout.

Angel In Vines claws its way through dense chords to peer into fading light with haunting tones and ethereal vocals, while Three Swords and Another Light are awash with slow-burning, heartbreaking melodies. The sadistic riffs and metallic stomp of Fosforos shows the band veering down a darker path, while Garden Of Prayers’ eerie dirge and scything vocals morph into a breathtaking wash of harmonies. Garden… culminates in a deeply troubling crescendo and the sound of a knife cutting through flesh, leaving you reeling from the weight of endeavour and sentiment. Unsettling yet affirming, brash yet beautiful, this is a stunning piece that requires repeated exploration.

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'.