CD Review – Sky Architect – Excavations Of The Mind

Dutch progressive band Sky Architect re-released its debut album, Excavations Of The Mind, on its tenth anniversary in March this year in a remixed, remastered and expanded form. At the time of it’s original release the album garnered many positive reviews, and it’s easy to hear why.

For a debut album this is very assured stuff indeed. Without being outstandingly novel, the band has produced a powerful and energetic album that leans heavily on the history of progressive rock, with classic influencers like Genesis, Yes, and King Crimson holding musical hands with the likes of The Flower Kings, Porcupine Tree, and occasionally something heavier such as Dream Theater, Opeth, or Pain Of Salvation. The band make these influences sound quite fresh and lively, and also highly melodic, never loosing a pop sensibility.

The band hits the ground running with the multi-part opener Deep Chasm, here presented as one near twenty-minute piece rather than split into four individual tracks on the original. There’s plenty of moods and style changes, and great creativity both musically and vocally. The second track, The Grey Legend, tries the same approach but is perhaps just a little too long (around twelve minutes) and outstays its welcome a little bit.  Russian Wisdom is a catchier tune, whilst in the near twelve-minute Excavation Of The Mind they attempt to produce a classic and get within touching distance of doing so. The closer, Gyrocopter, is high energy stuff and in contrast to The Grey Legend, is probably too short. The three bonus tracks on the re-release present a live outing for The Grey Legend, an acoustic version of Russian Wisdom and the demo of Gyrocopter.

This is a very strong release by the band and it certainly doesn’t sound a decade old. It suggested that Sky Architect had enough nous to still be around to build on it. They have gone on to release a further three albums and they’ll hopefully still be with us after lockdown!

This is a fine release in the heavy prog mould, accessible, elaborate but enjoyable. The musicianship is excellent throughout and the vocals powerful but melodic.

Deep Chasm (19:04):

1. Part I: Charter (3:38)

2. Part II: Chime (8:04)

3. Part III: Changeling (0:43)

4. Part IV: Chasm (6:45)

5. The Grey Legend (12:11)

6. Russian Wisdom (5:05)

7. Excavation Of The Mind (11:46)

8. Gyrocopter (2:58)

Freia Music reissue

9.The Grey Legend [live] (12:57)

10. Russian Wisdom [acoustic] (5:15)

11. Gyrocopter [demo] (2:50)

Tom Luchies / lead & backing vocals, guitar

Wabe Wieringa / electric & acoustic guitars, producing & mixing

Rik van Honk / grand piano, synth, keyboards, backing vocals

Guus van Mierlo / bass

Chistiaan Bruin / drums, backing vocals

Original release:  Galileo Records ‎- GR023 (2010)

Expanded, remastered and remixed edition on Freia Music (THOR 54):  16th March 2020

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