And the Sky Darkened – Between Ghosts (Self-Released)

Thursday, 7th May 2020
Rating: 7.5/10

It’s a tough line to straddle when it comes to modern metal. Some bands wish to tip their toes into the rock spectrum while utilizing metal techniques and heaviness, and it’s the veering between two sides that can cause a downfall. And the Sky Darkened is one such act that sits in this grey area between realms, and Between Ghosts has some strong moments though it ends far too quickly.

Taking some inspiration from acts ranging from Trivium to Metallica to Lamb of God, And the Sky Darkened sounds thoroughly modern in their execution. There’s plenty of fireworks to enjoy on the guitar side of things, which is what helps to keep their foot firmly planted in metal territory. Just the first track (“Burden Hardest to Bear”) alone is enough to excite in this area – be it a gargantuan riff, flashy guitar solo, or just the plethora of melodies you can dig into. Some heavier moments creep in as well, with some accelerated drumming and some gruff vocal injections to augment it. “Turn These Eyes Blind” and “The Darkened Await” continue this same approach – deftly melding more melodic choruses with ear-popping instrumentation – the latter being a joy in its heavier moments. Sadly, things fall apart on the closing title track, an altogether too saccharine ballad that wouldn’t feel out of place on an alternative rock radio station. Some may dig the acoustic approach, but with only four songs on the EP it feels like it would have been better to go out with a bang than a whimper – save a track like that for a full-length to give the listener a breather.

Overall, Between Ghosts serves as a solid introduction to a band that does a good job of coating appeal to both hard rock and metal fans. The riffing and melodies are thoroughly enjoyable on the ‘heavier’ tracks, and is worth an investigation if you enjoy any of the acts listed above and are seeking something more on the melodic end of the spectrum.

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