Review: And The Sky Darkened – ‘Between Ghosts’ EP

Drawing from a pool of influences that include heavy hitters such as Metallica, Tool. Alter Bridge, Killswitch Engage and Alice In Chains, Cardiff metallers And The Sky Darkened ramp up the power on this, their sophomore EP. Four accomplished, powerful tracks that criss-cross the realms of various modern metal genres, with the main exception being any genre with the word “core” attached.

Formed in 2015, and consisting of Ryan Lewis (vocals/guitar), Ollie Hansen (guitar), Matt “Animal” Thomas (drums) and James O’ Donovan (bass), And The Sky Darkened have quietly been gaining a reputation as a fearsome live act, and now they have the studio chops to match this. The rewind button was nearly worn out during the first few listens of ‘Burden Hardest To Bare’, thanks mainly to the pummelling drum work from “Animal”, but also to the great mix of harsh and clean vocals. The twin guitars bring an air of current-day Trivium to the party, especially during the melodic fills which Lewis matches with his uplifting clean vocals. ‘Turn These Eyes Blind’ is a real grower, the bass licks from James O’Donovan are massive, and the face-melting riffage hints at a major Mark Tremonti influence. Prime time Alter Bridge mixed with Tremonti’s solo work, Killswitch Engage screams and Tool mysticism. A belter of a track that lingers on long after it fades out. As does the atmospheric ‘The Darkened Await’. Lots of twists and turns on this one, from the lighter-than-light guitar intro to the savage riffing and full-pelt drums. A muscular six minutes that has something for everyone, even an “epic” Maiden-like guitar section near the end. The title-track is arguably the stand out track of the four, semi-acoustic with a dark, brooding piano arrangement and a vocal performance from Ryan Lewis that makes the arm hairs stand on end.

Second EP? Really? Checks notes…yes, this is indeed the second outing for the band, and comes four years after the debut; ‘The Fracture’. It actually sounds more like a stop-gap release from an established band keeping their name alive during lockdown than an “inexperienced” band.

Available May 8th, more information via the links below:……

Review – Dave

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