Album review: Skywalker – Late Eternity
There aren’t many post-hardcore bands from the Czech Republic, but Prague quartet Skywalker are doing their best to put the city’s scene on the map. They’ve been doing a good job, too, expanding its reach and international appeal by sharing stages – back when touring was thing – with artists like Beartooth, Japan’s Crystal Lake and Sweden’s Normandie. That method of spreading the word is, obviously, currently impossible, so it’s a good thing that band have produced a truly impressive set of songs to do the talking instead.
Billed by frontman Jay Kucera as – deep breath – “an elaborate probe into the feelings of alienation and loneliness brought upon by individualism both in the positive and negative meanings of the word”, the album’s concept was actually born before the pandemic struck. It just took on an even deeper meaning as events transpired afterwards, and the effects of being forced to be alone took hold. You can hear the restlessness and frustration of that kind of isolation in the brutal darkness of opener No Leader, a ball of muscular, pent-up visceral rage, the sound of smashing your head against a brick wall in the hope of a release that never quite comes.
It certainly sets the tone for the rest of the record – Jay lets loose with his guttural, powerful vocals throughout these 13 songs – but it’s not monolithic. Rather, the band infuse the record with numerous melodic nuances, whether that’s the soaring, electronic surges of Ignis and Charon’s Song, or the ambitious Setting Stone, a surging pop-rock track, replete with intense metalcore breakdowns that’s tailor-made for arenas once they reopen. Yet there’s always an element of surprise at play, too. Listen to the way Sand God shape-shifts from unforgiving metalcore to vulnerable, contemplative pop, or how the pulverising final track Every Grief suddenly gives way to an existential spoken word breakdown before morphing into the crescendo of beautiful, soaring melody that brings the album to a close. A thrillingly cathartic ride through darkness and light.
For Fans Of: Beartooth, We Came As Romans, Enter Shikari
Late Eternity is released on February 19 via Pale Chord.
Listen to Skywalker’s morbidly intense new single Charon’s Song, taken from their upcoming album Late Eternity.
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