SeeTheSky: NWODOA

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SeeTheSky: NWODOA
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See the Sky
Experimental Progressive Metal
Self-release
September 23rd, 2012
Release length: 1:10:34
Bandcamp
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ReverbNation
SeeTheSky is a relatively new two-piece Progressive Metal group making their way through the unsigned underground of Denmark. According to their Bandcamp page, they are a “band that dare to be different,” a bold statement that does ring true on many levels to those who heard their demo, We’re Alone. Released shortly after that three song effort, they set their sights on destroying your senses with their debut full-length effort, NWODOA. But, does this effort have what it takes to retain that unique touch fans have come to expect, or is it just a bit too far into the Experimental world that it just makes no sense in any way?

NWODOA is a pretty crisp album, but still manages to retain a nice heaviness. The guitars vary greatly from more Electronic distortions that are somewhat clean, but can also have a nice rougher edge during heavier moments. The bass guitar isn’t too loud thankfully, really pushing the depth more than anything, which works great with the booming and tighter snares, as well as the click of the bass kick. The cymbals help to fill the music with a clean sound that is pushed slightly in the background, though it’s hard to tell if what seems like a vibration that goes in and out is simply washout, or a technical effect. Either way, it is distracting through the entire release. Finally there’s the vocals, which range well enough between harsher harmonizations, a few rhasps that are belted out in some spots, impressive gutturals, and a suiting clean singing that is hard to describe. While often a serious performance, due to the music that aspect can come off a bit eccentric instead of just a little off-key.

While the album is seperated into thirteen tracks, it’s obvious “NWODOA” is the focal point for the group. Clocking in at eighteen minutes exact, the track bleeds in from the atmospheric introduction of Strapping Young Lad style Industrial distortion and intensity amid spoken word samples that give way to a technological setting. This bleeds into the title track, which is quite the experience. Everything start off normal enough once the introduction finally clears up. The booming snares give the song a bit of a tribal touch with a catchy groove, mixing some clean singing with harsher vocals. This does come back periodically throughout, though sometimes with a new approach, such as the more technological atmospheric passage that follows and segways into a more abrasive section with faster drumming and melodic riffs. There are some slower Doom Metal-esque passages that bring in a darker atmosphere later on, and eventually shift into some more intricate riffs that eventually go into a further eccentric performance with a sharper distortion, as well as drumming that does throw things back to the beginning. Everything is fine up to this point, but when the music slows to a lighter performance of soft electric distortions against keyboards, the clean singing can be a bit rough to listen to, though doesn’t ruin the experience overall, especially when they go really off-key for longer moments, such as when the note is held for a little more emphasis.

Much of what follows after “NWODOA” is a mixture of oddly handled mixtures of styles, or just really catchy material. “Broken for Me,” for example, mixes a harmonized rougher vocal performance that is on key, but sounds a bit rough, though seems to be on purpose. The obvious Alternative Rock influence is met with some catchy hooks for the chorus, but the main verses end up a lot more aggressive with faster drumming. “The Dreaming” is a far lighter track that is often soothing, taking on a Progressive Rock approach that is easy to get into. The bass performance in some spots really stands out more than the guitar itself, though a little more than half way in the guitar slowly builds to a matching technical performance that creates a bit of an uplifting vibe towards the end. “My Axes” is also well worth noting, a more energetic performance with catchy riffs that will have you bobbing your head along to it when those areas are active. Other than that, you get some restrained clean singing during the slower passages with a heavy keyboard presence that creates a foggy environment. This is carried into the chorus, but the singing heads into a rougher harmonization approach once more that works perfectly with the Rock oriented riffs.

Then there’s the simply catchy material, which makes up most of the final third of the release. “We’re Alone” is a bass-rich song overall that really fits the rougher vocal harmonizations. The somewhat chugging material is heavy enough to still remain somewhat accessable, which helps the lighter melodic chorus and less eccentric clean singing. This is perhaps the least experimental of all songs, blending Progressive Rock riffs and atmospheres with a subtle Groove that will linger in your mind for a while. “Confusion” is a much lighter experience, taking more of a soothing approach to an atmosphere that has a slight eighties Rock tinge to it. This also features some additional saxophone elements here and there, making the acoustic performance a lot more emotional, as well as memorable.

NWODOA is far from a bad album, but it’s definitely one you will have to approach with an open mind, at least for the first half. The clashing music and vocal performances make sense when you break everything down, and the eighteen minute title track is engaging despite the insane amount of changes to the music and its direction. But, what stands out the most, both in a positive and negative light, are the more traditional compositions towards the end, which are still incredibly catchy and sometimes will stick with you longer than the most eratic of songs this album has to offer. At the same time, the unique element of the band that is established through much of the release seems to be vacated. If you want something rather unique and definitely different, then SeeTheSky‘s NWODOA is something worth checking out, though it definitely caters to more of a niche audience. Whether you think you’re in that demographic or not, you can still hear the album [at the time of writing this article] for free on their Bandcamp page and make up your mind yourself, but chances are good you’ll find plenty of redeeming traits in this effort worth throwing some money towards.

01. Ready To STS – 1:00
02. NWODOA – 18:00
03. Broken For Me – 4:03
04. What Have I Done – 4:40
05. The Dreaming – 5:20
06. Break Your Bones – 5:03
07. My Axes – 4:17
08. I Am Creature – 4:54
09. We’re Alone – 4:10
10. Confusion – 4:02
11. War On My Ear – 5:25
12. Lucky Seven – 4:53
13. Sleep On – 4:47
Initial Pressing Score: 8/10

See the Sky (band)

Digital review copy of this release provided by See the Sky.