Countless Skies – New Dawn (Kolony Records)

Monday, 6th June 2016
Rating: 9/10

A band that has been featured a few times in our Bandcamp round-ups over the last two years, Countless Skies started making some waves last year by winning a competition and playing the Bloodstock Open Air festival. They ended up signing with Kolony Records to deliver their first full-length album, New Dawn. Succinctly put, it delivers the goods for those who have followed the band and should rightly widen their audience quite a bit upon release.

Yes, the band name Countless Skies comes from a Be’lakor song, which should also give you a good starting point for their sound. Melodic death metal in its purest form – something that appears to thankfully be on the rise once more (at least in the past few years). No diluted poppy choruses, no bouncy synths to get in the way – just plenty of atmosphere and utterly gorgeous melodies. Taking influences from the best of this variety (Insomnium, Dark Tranquillity, Omnium Gatherum), there’s not a song (intro “Aubade” included) that doesn’t capture the imagination and put a grin on your face as the melodies soar in. From the galloping and thrashy “Incendium” to the more epic and sprawling “Return,” they keep plenty of diversity in addition to those top-shelf melodies. There’s acoustic moments, synth-laced ones, and of course, flashy and melancholic guitarwork. “Daybreak” is a nice place to start, with some excellent tempo changes moving from upbeat and speedy verses (which contain bassist Phil Romeo on clean vocals to complement guitarist Ross King’s growls) to more dreamy and Insomnium-inspired moments as the song continues on. At slower tempos, such as “Wanderer,” the band finds themselves tossing in some warm acoustics (which give off a pleasant reminder of what In Flames used to be) to elevate the mood.

At risk of sounding redundant, Countless Skies fill the landscape of New Dawn with some of the most majestic and enticing melodies of 2016 so far. They’ve really refined their craft and should rightly be showcased as one of the new bands in melodic death metal that are worth getting excited about. Beautiful stuff with just the right amount of aggression.

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