If you’ve heard of Hatespire, then you’ve heard of Countless Skies. The band changed their name from the former to the latter after their formation in 2009 in a scruffy flat in Hertfordshire.
OK, the flat might not have been scruffy. It just reads better that way.
Regardless, they managed to fuse some death and melodic musings into a three track demo which was released the same year. However, life and other silly things got in the way and the band went on hiatus until 2014 where they did a Blues Brothers and got back together. A four track self-titled EP was released in November last year under the new moniker of Countless Skies and it’s… actually, it’s damn good.
I’ll get the one negative out of the way first – production is a little too bass-heavy (I think) for my liking. It sounds a bit “cotton-wooly” and the vocals in the quiet sections are a little too quiet. Sorry, it’s hard to explain and it could be my speakers in all fairness. You can stream the tracks for yourself anyway just to check (links below).
Other than that, this is some fine stuff. I do particularly like melodic death stuff, as it happens, so this was one EP I was happy to give a listen to and I’m glad I did. It’s about a 50/50 mix of each style, with plenty of relaxing breaks making for a collection of songs which are actually enjoyable to listen to rather than just shoving on as background music.
The driving rhythm of opener “Ethereal” is interspersed with singalong clean vocals soaring into the choruses. “Penance” has a nicely disjointed intro which flows into a toe-tapping main section with a simple but catchy riff throughout. Nice solo around the halfway mark, too.
“Everlast” starts off almost prog-like with a lilting guitar melody before the heavier side of the band kicks in. By two minutes in, it’s jumping between blistering speed and airy segments, but the harsh vocals continue throughout to hold it all together.
The EP ends with almost seven minutes of “Reverence” which is a great piece of music. Probably the most melodic, or featuring more of this style, than any other song on the EP it’s none the less heavy when it does get going.
It’s a bargain at £3 (on Bandcamp at least – you can also find it on iTunes, Google Play and Spotify) and you’ll be helping fund the band through future projects. That’s got to be worth the price of a beer.