With appearances at Bloodstock, Holland’s ProgPower and a couple of Techfests, and with several magazine features behind them, Shattered Skies have worked hard to spread the word since releasing a six-song EP, Reanimation, in mid-2011.
Now, after uprooting to Southend from Dublin, they have every right to hope that this enterprising, satisfying full-length debut could elevate them by a few notches more. Following the airy instrumental scene-setter Collapse Of Man, the quartet erupt into The End And The Rebirth, a glorious wall of rhythmic but defiantly hummable noise that provides a loose blueprint for the joys that follow.
Blessed with a melodious, versatile voice, Sean Murphy quickly emerges as the shining light of Shattered Skies, though Ian Rockett pushes him right down to the wire with an avalanche of slapping guitar riffs and keyboard tones that juxtapose neck-juddering crunches (Haunted and Show’s Over, for instance) with a more elegant, understated mindset displayed on the epic title track and, taking things to an extreme, a shamelessly balladic though still muscular Elegance And Grace. There’s not a dull moment on offer.