Sky Architect are a Dutch melodious progressive space rock band from the surroundings of Rotterdam. A Billion Years Of Solitude is their third and latest effort. The band started in 2008 at the Rotterdam Conservatory. In the past five years they recorded two albums: Excavations Of The Mind (2010, see review) and A Dying Man's Hymn (2011, see review). Both albums were highly acclaimed works of art and I was really glad to get the chance to review the new CD. Sky Architect consist of Tom Luchies (vocals, guitars), Wabe Wieringa (guitars), Guus van Mierlo (bass), Christiaan Bruin (drums, backing vocals) and Rik van Honk (keyboards, piano, flugelhorn, trumpet, backing vocals).
The music of Sky Architect can be described best as a unique kind of space and prog rock larded with Mellotron and various other keyboards over a pulsing bass, sharp-edged guitar sounds, complex drumming and polyphonic vocals. Although the music contains touches of Genesis, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Hawkwind, Gentle Giant, Pink Floyd, Dream Theater and King Crimson − to a greater or lesser extent − they still sound as one of a kind.
For this new record the band was inspired by science fiction movies from the fifties and sixties. While listening to it, you will be taken to the galaxy, to the universe, to black holes and supernovas and intergalactic wars. Most reviewers called the result space rock, though the band members prefer that listeners have an open mind and just listen to it. Is it a perfect album then? No, I have to make two critical remarks. I find Tom Luchies' voice a bit thin and flat when he sings solo. However, that problem disappears when the rest of the band supports him with (sometimes) stunning polyphonic choirs. So I would like to suggest doubling the vocals for future releases. Furthermore I think that listening to this product for 61 minutes is quite a long time. Some songs last more than ten minutes and take actually too much time to get started. For that reason these songs couldn't keep my attention all the way. I personally prefer a more compressed album.
However, my positive feelings dominate! I still think that A Billion Years Of Solitude belongs to the best Dutch prog rock CDs in years! Finally, just in case you want any more recommendation: on the inside of the cover of Le Sacre Du Travail (2013, see review) by The Tangent, leader Andy Tillison wears a T-shirt of Sky Architect...
**** - Gert Bruins (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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