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Sunshine Dust by Skyharbor

Album: Sunshine Dust

Artist: Skyharbor

Genre: #Metal

Sub-Genres: #ProgressiveMetal

Label: eOne Music

Non-Airable Tracks: NONE

Description: Skyharbor is a band I had not heard of until we received this album. It is their third album and apparently it is a long time in the works. It has been 4 years since Skyharbor’s last release. They started recording Sunshine Dust last year, but they did not like the tracks and ended up redoing the whole album. Their effort is very present in the album, the mix is very clear and the recording is super clean. They even made all of the songs lead into each other a la Pink Floyd. There are quite a few ambient sounds strategically placed throughout the album, lending an interesting texture to the whole work.

To start, let’s go over the mix. It is a pretty characteristic prog metal sound with everything you would expect from the genre. Imagine Opeth + Periphery mixes and you’ll know what I mean. The drums are very tight, but are actually not super present in the mix. The bass has great tone, a little crunchy and not too full. The vocals are very clear and present in the mix. Guitar is not as loud as one might expect in metal, but it cuts through when it needs to and it stays back for the rest of the time.

In terms of musical style, Skyharbor reminds me a lot of Crown the Empire and Periphery. Periphery is mostly represented in the vocals and tones. The vocals are almost all clean, but still retain that metal edge and occasionally do growls. I hear Crown the Empire in the way the band structures the songs and melodies as well as there use of samples and synthy sections. The songs are often pretty heavy, but always keep a distinct melody and are actually pretty catchy at times. There is a little Deftones influence here and there (riff at 2:00 of “Dim”) and overall I think Skyharbor has done a damn good job of mixing different influences into a final product that ends up sounding original and not just a cut and paste off brand Dream Theater.

The instrumentals are very well done, and the band clearly has ample technical ability. The drums are kind of generic prog metal drums, but not bad. The guitars are very well written and there are plenty of clever riffs. The solos are nothing to write home about, but I enjoyed them when they came up. Bass is not emphasized too much in the songs, but it definitely has its moments. It usually just keeps a foundation, but when you can hear it in breaks it has awesome tone and riffs just as hard as the rest of the band.

To be honest, I didn’t really pick up on any of the lyrics while listening, but they were definitely emotional and edgy. Nothing too out of the ordinary there, it’s metal.

As a general rule, prog metal is very diverse and hard to categorize. Whether you like this album or not will be completely up to your personal tastes. It does not sound close enough to anything that I can say “if you like Periphery you will like this” with 100% certainty. However, if you like this genre already or want to get into to it, this is a capable display of what progressive metal has to offer.

I rate this 7/10.

Sounds Like: Periphery/Haken but less djent, Crown the Empire, Deftones

Recommended Tracks: 

  1. 2, Dim.

  2. 11, Menace. Cool song with harsh vocals. 4:49

Reviewer’s Name: Nate Smith

Date of Review: 9/30/18

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