Boom! Apparently sometime after 2014's debut album, Firebreather, Cleveland's Sunless Sky exploded from within. The only surviving member was vocalist Juan Ricardo, who also does double duty as the new lead vocalist for Warren Ohio's Wretch and their latest, The Hunt . For their second album, Doppelganger, Ricardo has trimmed the band down to a four piece which includes lead guitarist Curran Murphy from Akron Ohio's Shatter Messiah, bass/rhythm guitarist Kevin Czarnecki, and drummer Coltin Rady.
With personnel changes, there seems to be some musical changes as well. Early Sunless Sky sounded like the American side of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, with some very eerie references to Iron Maiden. This time around the Doppelganger Sunless Sky sounds more like traditional heavy power metal. It's not that the foundation of classic "keep it true" metal has been abandoned. may it never be! But the heavy metal here is definitely more the swift and relentless power metal. (There are no pussy ballads here, by the way.)
Additionally, the guitar lines are more sharp, brisk, and assertive, and they are definitely tuned to the frequency of Ricardo's voice, notable in the harmony. And Murphy's abundant leads are, like the movie franchise, fast and furious. Blistering is another word that comes to mind. If you like terrific heavy metal lead guitar solos, then you'll dig Sunless Sky's very guitar forward approach. For Ricardo's part he sings clean with melody and strength, yet having a delivery swaying between staccato and slightly screamo. All these things are undergirded by a powerful rhythm section, which gives Sunless Sky a beefy bottom end.
The question that came to mind when trying to conclude my observations was this, "Do I like this version of Sunless Sky better than the previous?" I don't think there's a simple yes or no answer. It's more like, Sunless Sky is the same but different. Either way, with Doppelganger, Sunless Sky offers some fast and furious, lead guitar forward classic American heavy power metal. Recommended. Top song picks: Starfall, Lake Of Lost Souls, Adrenaline Junkie, and Black Symphony.
With something of a slight change heavy metal direction, within Doppelganger, Sunless Sky offers some fast and furious, lead guitar forward classic American heavy power metal. Recommended.
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