Thursday 1 August 2019

Skybinder - Trauma and Trial (2019)

Country: Greece
Style: Melodic Metalcore
Rating: 6/10
Release Date: 20 Jul 2019
Sites: Bandcamp | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Regular readers will know that I was an old school metalhead rather than a punk and I've never been a huge fan of the shouty genres that end in -core. That doesn't, however, mean that I don't like any of it; it just means that I'm a lot more selective about what works inside my head.

And Skybinder, a metalcore band from Athens (Greece not Georgia), definitely work in my head, even though they're almost brand new. They were founded as recently as last year but they've been busy because this full length debut follows three singles and I have to say that it's pretty good. Sure, George Plaskasovitis has the vocal style we expect from metalcore but he does it well and he's able to include melody and intensity.

Metalcore is the most accessible -core genre to me, especially when it has that melodic prefix. It tends to mean that, while the vocals are are shouty and there's plenty of that monotone bass where it's trying to be a drumkit, there's a lot more to the backing music, which combines the energy of punk with the intricacy of metal. Guitarists Simos Xalarhs and Tony Makrogiannis have plenty of metal in their sound and it's agreeably mixed too.

While Fathoms sounds like a punk song with odd guitar runs, those runs are reminiscent of early Paradise Lost, adding a doom/death tone to the song. I really dug My Severance, which has a thrash mentality, a great melody and a set of interesting breakdowns, not to mention George getting even closer to a death growl. It runs only three minutes and change but it's very welcome. And, for something completely different, Leap of Faith starts out like an Iron Maiden song.

All these influences are there in the guitars. Tasos and Dimitris on drums and bass are clearly good at what they do but they do what we expect them to do, which isn't particularly inventive. They just underpin the songs so the guitarists can create textures and George can add energy to proceedings. My favourite songs here were always going to be the ones where the guitars had most to do.

The question is whether that's going to be enough for me to care about the album and, this time out, it is. I've listened through a few times and have yet to get bored or turned off. Even George mixes it up at points, like the whispered section in The Pretender, probably the most all-round imaginative song on the album, even if I do wonder how the end would sound without the guitars fading out with the rest of the band.

This is the sixth album I've reviewed this year from Greece and none of them sound remotely like each other. Skybinder probably have most in common with Voidnaut, also from Athens, not in the style they play but because they both play music clearly influenced more by American music than European. I wonder why Athens has a fondness for modern American music but it clearly does, as my next review will underline. I look forward to figuring out an answer.

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