When one thinks of Los Angeles and heavy metal music, there are a few choice acts that immediately come to mind. From the various Black Twilight Circle acts to long running death metal act Sadistic Intent, the scene here is perhaps not as large as in some other metropolitan areas, but is filled with its own unique takes on the genre. Poised now to stand tall among some of the best this region has to offer is Skyeater, who are now releasing their awe-inspiring debut album The Maw of Time.
Skyeater’s combination of sprawling and intense music and otherworldly, visual-heavy live shows put them among some of my favorite acts to catch live and to listen to recently. Since first becoming aware of them in December of last year, I have been eagerly looking forward to when I could sample a full album of material from this band, and now that I have, I can say that The Maw of Time exceeds even the best I could have hoped to hear from Skyeater. Broken up into four massive songs, The Maw of Time combines the best parts of funeral doom and atmospheric black metal into something cosmic and menacing, yet contemplative at times as well.
The Maw of Time is an album that feels full of a kind of weight, even during the times it gives breathing room to the instruments. The distant, chiming guitars that make up the intro to “Anticosmogony,” for example, are light in texture, yet the poignant melody (counterpointed by ex-Ludicra vocalist Laurie Shanaman’s guest performance) makes it feel all encompassing, luring the listener into a sense of comfort before abruptly whipping them around as the band kick into a section of ripping, intense black metal. This is perhaps the greatest triumph of The Maw of Time; as long as these songs are, there is so much happening in them that no part of this album feels like it goes on for longer than it has to.
To craft songs this diverse in influence and with this length can be a challenge for any band, yet Skyeater make this all sound easy. The songs flow effortlessly, both in among the different sections of themselves and through the course of the album as a whole. The attention to detail and respect to atmosphere and songwriting here is nothing short of masterful work, to say nothing of the flawless playing ability of the musicians involved.
If you’ve been paying attention up until this point, you will remember I have talked at length already about my love for this band in other features here. It’s hard not to want to share something this good with the world at large. I truly believe Skyeater deserve to be recognized not just as some of the best music Los Angeles has to offer, but that The Maw of Time deserves to be counted among the best music you will hear all year.
The Maw of Time will be released on July 7th digitally and on vinyl by Baneful Genesis Records and on tape by Transylvanian Tapes at a later date. Skyeater are embarking on a tour through Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. To see tour dates and to learn more about the band, check out their Facebook page.