Black Skies
On The Wings of Time

Blacks Skies’ stock-in-trade is a blend of early Pentagram-style proto-doom and stoner rock. Their vibe and sound is more rough and tumble rock n’ roll than crushingly heavy. Driving riffs are the theme here, not obliterating heaviness, and the band rumbles forth convincingly, if unexceptionally, on their third full length release.

The intro and main riff of “Darkness & Disguise” sound like a slower version of Pentagram’s “Forever My Queen”. The song progresses from a laid back groove to a gallop as the guitarist toys with some screeching wah. They use small doses of eastern scales to great effect “Valley of the Kings” and “Earth Choker” and closer “The Sleeping Prophet” has a brilliant cascading wall of fuzz. The driving pummel of opening track “Rebirth” is as punishing as they get and, with the exception of acoustic instrumental “Weightless”, they’re content to keep the songs focused on head nodding slow and mid-paced riffs.

On the other hand, the vocals are unremarkable. Clark’s cries and croons dominate the record and are accented by occasional shouts from bassist Michelle Temple. They fit the music well enough to be unobtrusive, but they won’t catch your ear as particularly unique or impressive. The riffs are quite good though and there are a number of quality tracks here, particularly “Darkness & Disguise” and “Valley of the Kings”. They like to settle in to a sturdy groove and ride it out to give guitarist and vocalist Kevin Clark room for some nice leads and expressive solos.

On the Wings of Time is a classic case of good. It’s one of those albums that’s not exceptional, different or particularly memorable, but still finds its way in to your stereo occasionally. It won’t knock your socks off, blow your hair back or any other cliché that might be substituted for “great”, but it’s got some good songs and there’s no shortage of decent riffs. Black Skies have talent and conviction and sometimes that’s all you need.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chuck Kucher
February 7th, 2012

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