Album Review: Secrets of the Sky – “Pathway”

secrets of the sky pathway

Hello. Nice to make your acquaintance. I am Pathway, the newest release by Secrets of the Sky. I am a progressive metal record. I am the second release by this Oakland-based quintet and I hope that you will enjoy reading what I have to say about myself. I was not entirely happy with myself as a finished product, but shouldn’t we all strive to be better?

You may be fooled as you press play. First off, I begin with nothing but ocean sounds. You might think to yourself, “Hey, did I just buy a Sounds of Nature CD?” The answer would be “no.” Don’t panic. You’re listening to me. You’ll be reassured as the second track displays the wide breadth of influences that were called upon to write me. Much like my other tracks, Three Swords opens lightly with a soft keyboard playing along. But don’t be startled by the hard-rock-inspired vocals and glass-chilling shrieks that develop as this track moves along.

Unfortunately, this confusing pattern will continue. The way I was programmed, each song is preceded by a track that calls upon some force of nature to set the mood. You might notice that in most cases, my preceding noise tracks don’t really correspond to the songs that follow. For example, you may hear thunder, footsteps, demonic voices, a choir, fire or oceans and feedback. Don’t be alarmed. In all but one situation there is an actual song following. You might even be able to sing along with me!

My songs are diverse. I even have some goth-inspired numbers like “Angel in Vines” or its sister track, the folkier “Another Light.” Don’t give up on me, because one of my last songs, “Eternal Wolves,” is the best I have to offer. The drumming is crisp, the guitars are clean and jazzy, and the song progression is slightly more subdued and dark than my other songs. It’s a real highlight and I probably should have put it earlier in my running order.

Ultimately, I’m held back by my shoddy vocals. Most are monotonous, shrill screams over almost all my music—which is kind of upsetting, I’ll admit. But I do have some redeeming qualities. For example, the guitar work, especially the cleaner parts, is quite captivating and sometimes even pretty. You might also enjoy my drumming, which is precise, clean, and focused.

But I get it: in the end, the vocals might end up keeping you from loving me and replaying me over time. They really put a stinky finish of lacquer on the surface of everything I do. Furthermore—and I tried my hardest to object—they’re not mixed with any respect for the music underneath. They’re not only obtrusive, but also drown out some of my best attributes. I’m sorry I let you down. I did my best but I wasn’t completely responsible for my finished product.

-Manny-O-War


Pathway is available now on Metal Blade Records. For more information on secrets of the sky, visit the band’s Facebook page.

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