The County Antrim trio have harnessed all their experience that has seen them live through so many musical trends and obsessions over the last two decades, but in doing so, the boys have hammered out an album that snatches and seizes on all the finer moments of the heavy music genre and given it a warm fuzzy glow that radiates and seeps from every instrument, and onto their album Simple Beasts
Twenty years in the business and with album number three just released, Skypilot have shown that they don’t just release music for the sake of it, but when they do, it will always be dripping in energy, enthusiasm and groove. The County Antrim trio have harnessed all their experience that has seen them live through so many musical trends and obsessions over the last two decades, but in doing so, the boys have hammered out and album that snatches and seizes on all the finer moments of the heavy music genre and given it a warm fuzzy glow that radiates and seeps from every instrument, and onto their album Simple Beasts.
The opener, Waffledust is this brooding, mid-tempo beast that drives through these low, fuzzy, stoner riffs which, in contrast, and are the perfect accompaniment to the clean, near rasping vocals that soften the sound without diluting any of the intensity. Foot tapping hooks under head-shaking lead guitars layer the track perfectly, giving Simple Beasts an identity and a structure that sets up the rest of the album.
Octofuzz takes the intensity up a notch with some seriously heavy, leaden riffs and steely drums before stripping it back down again, giving the vocals and that groove-soaked bass guitar their moment to shine. The vocal chorus penetrates and ploughs through some real dirty rhythm guitars, making Octofuzz a very catchy and memorable track. Even the title track Simple Beast, with its more laid back and nonchalant approach, is still smothered in that glorious fuzz that dominates the album. Through clean, plucked guitars and softly spoken lyrics the music meanders around “this simple beast” and powers the intent home with a near-certain, crowd-chanting finale.
As I mentioned earlier, these guys have time and experience in abundance, and it can be found embellishing every track on the album. Flourishes of prog-metal, grunge and old school heavy metal are to be found everywhere. Tracks like Klusterfun has this clever harmonic vocal arrangement that brings you down an Alice In Chains rabbit hole, only to have you burrowing back up through the slick bass lines of Jazz Klub and its sticky, but very tasty Pearl Jam licks.
8 in the face and Through the window bring more distorted, hazy riffs that wouldn’t look out of place on any TOOL album. When these guys bring it, their intense wall of sound suffocates and consumes through those stony-faced rumblings and the near metronomic might of the Skypilot percussions. Even little nuances such as those little scratches towards the end of Through the window all add to the experience and overall depth of this album.
The closing track, and if I’m not mistaken, the second single released from the album, Knifed on the beach really does sum up what Skypilot are all about. Harmonic vocals, heaving riffs, clambering drums and a bass guitar that has all the 70’s groove and flair you’d find on the streets of San Francisco, make this group of musicians a tour de force. I’m repeating myself again, but fuck it, it needs to be said. The Irish metal scene is thriving, bubbling away in a cauldron of talent, ferocity and intensity. Another landmark release and another album to add to your end of year “best of” list. A list that keeps on giving…and growing!