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'The World We Used To Know'
(Self released)
Release Date: 12th January 2015

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland

shattered skies

Prog Metal is a genre which seems to keep growing and growing, seemingly not requiring huge commercial success to keep the dedicated musicians in this very technical kind of Metal going.

Dream Theater have shown that you can become a pretty big headline act doing this (and if you stretch the definition of the genre there is always Rush and the current direction of Opeth) but we are still to see anyone else take it to that level. Irish four piece Shattered Skies obviously feel that there are possibilities though as they have relocated from their native Ireland to the UK to maximise their opportunities.

'The World We Used To Know' is their debut album following on from two earlier EPs and it turns out to be an accomplished, polished prog Metal gem. Shattered Skies' sound is loud and proud and very technical in composition but the main thing that strikes you is how bass heavy it is.

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Jim Hughes' instrument is way, way up in the mix and is the primary force used to drive the songs forward. Imagine if Lemmy was reborn with more strings to use and an array of new tricks and you kind of get the idea. Although I can't imagine Lemmy slapping his strings or getting a little bit funky sounding at times like Mr Hughes does here, he just combines some Kilminster ferocity with amazing dexterity and imagination.

Drummer Ross McMahon does a fine job of keeping up with the sonic bass assault and this leaves guitarist/keyboard player Ian Rockett to either add to the aural attack or throw in the subtle touches and melodic elements you would expect from the prog part of the genre name.

Singer Sean Murphy has a background in musical theatre and is easily able to make his smooth tones and strong melodic vocals be heard among what is often an overpowering musical assault on the senses. This is a self released album but the production is really impressive and the band sound huge on everything. Your neighbours will love you for sure!

shattered skies

The song writing which can often be an issue for more technically minded musical endeavours is overall pretty strong and the hard driving yet subtly complex 'End And The Rebirth' sticks in the mind long after you hear it as does 'As The Sea Divides' with its shimmering keyboard hook, relentless heavy complex time signatures and confident vocals. However as the album plays through the musicianship is always excellent but some of the songs don't grab you quite as much.

Of course there has to be an attempt at an epic on the album somewhere and the full eleven minutes plus of the title track just reaffirms all we've heard before but holds together very well despite the ambitions and multiplicity of styles it features.

Shattered Skies don't dress like most Metal bands (waistcoats and shirts, very smooth!) and they don't sound like most Metal bands either. If you are looking for reference points then they are kind of the meeting point between the dramatic madness of Leprous and the complicated melodic Metal of Threshold but they really do stand out on their own.

'The World We Used To Know' is a confident and impressive debut full of intensity laced with melody and imagination and I for one can't wait to see them live. Recommended for lovers of progressive Metal everywhere.

Line up:
Sean Murphy: Vocals
Ian Rockett: Guitar/Keyboard
Ross McMahon: Drums
Jim Hughes: Bass





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