REVIEW: Skyharbor - "Blinding White Noise: Illusion and Chaos"
They say, an idea changes it all. It was conceived to be a simple bedroom studio project and look how far they have come today! Skyharbor is predominantly a 3 piece band, comprising Keshav Dhar on guitars, Anup Sastry on drums and Nikhil Rufus on bass. Star guests include the likes of Daniel Tompkins (ex TesseracT) and Sunneith Revankar (Bhayanak Maut and Providence) on vocals and Marty Friedman (ex Megadeth) and Vishal J Singh (Amogh Symphony) on guitars. The international collaborations that they bring are second to none! Skyharbor not only happens to be India’s brightest metal prospect, but it’s been creating big waves overseas as well, as accolades and words of appreciation for their album keep flowing in. In the words of guitarist Keshav Dhar, it took them “4 years of epiphanies and disappointments, frustration and jubilation” to finally get their debut album out, which features guest performances by some of the biggest names the industry has seen. They are signed to UK Based Label Basick Records
Their first album, Blinding White Noise: Illusion and Chaos is a two disc offering, spanning nearly 50 minutes of pure progressive djent madness. Produced by Keshav himself, the sound is extremely mature, groovy and smooth yet heavy, something that has been unheard of, in India. Right from the very first track, Dots, you start understanding what a genius and perfectionist Keshav really is. Right from the intro riff that cuts you square, to the multi-layered rhythm patterns, neatly chopped breaks and Daniel’s cleans soaring over them, this song sure is a treat and sets the mood for the feast about to follow.
Night, the fourth track is rather slow paced and soothing. Once again, the listener is surprised by Daniel’s lullaby voice, and the beautiful ambience around which this track revolves. Somehow, this is something I love about this album. Each of the songs seems to have a story of their own and have a very distinct feeling attached. Next up is Aurora; the song evolves into the hook line with a groovy guitar riff, typical of Keshav. The other clean sections are even catchier and somehow sound like Daniel’s chanting a hymn. The hook line certainly makes a lasting impression and it plays on and on in your mind, long after the song has ended.
Track 6 is called Celestial. Filled with cleans on guitars and vocals, along with djent-core riffs, and an extremely catchy hook line, this is my favorite track from the album. Vishal J Singh’s makes his presence felt with his kickass guitar solo. Overall, a great track, one can’t help but appreciate Keshav’s skill as a composer and arranger.
The second disc, Chaos, starts off with Trayus. Once again the chugs are back in play. While the songs take on a darker side, the signature Skyharbor ambience and cleans are clearly noticeable as Sunneith continues his vocal assault. Even though I have used this word too many times already, I am going to use it again, because that’s what Skyharbor’s sound is all about: GROOVE! It sure is infectious on this track as well and utilized so well with such a catchy progression this song is definitely going places.
Overall a great album, Skyharbor clearly demonstrates how far experimentation can lead you to and how several genres can be amalgamated to get a sound so original, lasting and catchy. Two things on this album that will clearly draw anyone’s attention are the groove and Keshav’s ‘chuggaty’ riffs layered with cleans. They sure make a deadly combo. While the guitars and vocals take the centre-stage, the bassist and the drummer also deserve a big round of applause for adding that extra vigor to those grooves and holding the entire band tightly in place with pin-point precision.