Design the Skyline is a metal band out of Corpus Christi, TX who first gained attention with their song and video for “Surrounded by Silence.” While that attention was mostly negative due to the song styl itself as well as the outward appearance of the band, one thing is for sure: press is press even if it is bad. August 16th, 2011 hits, and Desig the Skyline relases the album “Nevaeh”. Yes, that is heaven backwards. This album, however, is far from heavenly.
Many times in the print copy world, peole use ghost writers to write their books for them. An astute reader can tell when the same ghost writer is used for different books based on the style, etc. In the case of metal, my personal feeling is that you can lump many bands together and ask the question, “Is there a ghost writer working for all these bands?” Why doI say that in this review? Lets look at the album first.
Lets take a first look at the vocal arrangement, comprised of both screaming vocals, and clean, high drawn out sung melodies. This combination is something that has proven successful for many bands and is something that can be very appealing to the masses. In this album, the screaming really overshadows the singing, something that I think is a detriment to the album. The singing is actually well laid out, but is somewhat second fiddle to the screaming. The singing, which I find to be the strong point of this album, actually gets lost behind the screaming. This album would benefit from being more even balanced across singing styles, giving equal, if not perhaps more power to the singing. THe combination is reminiscent of emocore bands, but tha is not necessarily a knock at the style.
Instrumentation wise, this album is where I am confused the most. Some tracks, such as Reality Away and Destroyer do not plant a seed in my mind, except maybe to say that I am one of the few who cannot let go of the unforgettable. Both tracks, while heavy and fast moving, really do nothing to set the album apart. Where Design the Skyline really shows prowess is in their experimental side. Reverie is the perfect example of the experimentation that sets this band and album apart. The song is almost ethereal otherwordly, but still has roots in metal. The actual sound quality of the album is very solid and clear, something which I personally love.
“Nevaeh” shows glimmers of hope for those of us who want something to remember, but it is not enough to be grabbed off the CD rack and given more than a cursory listen. This brings us back to the ghost writer idea. Lets assume that much of the mainstream metal out there that is only so-so is written by a ghostwriter. Lets also assume that these ghostwriters are beenficial to bands. In such a case, Design the Skyline would benefit from using such a ghostwriter on this album. “But wait,” you say, “did you not just say that the experimental side is rather interesting?” yes, I did, however if you are only going to give us a tiny nugget of it, then it feels as if it doesnt fit in the album. This would then leave a void that needs to be filled. This album doesn’t do well enough to fit into the heavyweights of metal, but also does not do enough to be something unique and different.