Zeke Sky
Intergalactic Demon King

I like to think I’m the kind of guy willing to give almost any music endeavor a fair shake, whether it falls in one of metal’s incalculable and ever-growing catalog of subgenres, or, really, whatever the hell else happens to invade my ear canals! But we all have our go-to comfort zones, right? To the point that you can almost judge the proverbial book by it’s cover and know that this is going to be right up your ally or, conversely, that it just isn’t gonna land.

when I first laid eyes on Zeke Sky‘s Intergalactic Demon King, I thought for sure I knew what I was getting into, and i was all about it. Looking at that logo, my mind immediately went to traditional, Manilla Road-loving Heavy Metal (yes, please!). Then I saw the whole album cover and… MY GOD that album cover! Keeping score, we’ve got a fire lion, we’ve got a herd of fire demon… skull goats? Gnarly. Then there’s our hero up top all swole-out and ripping away on his guitar. And there’s a burning grand piano? For, uh, reasons? Oh and it’s all in space, obviously. Duh. The point is, I thought I knew exactly what I was getting myself into, and I was all-in to take this puppy for a ride.

Friends, this is something else entirely. There is… SO MUCH going on here. And it’s all rad as hell.

So this being 2022, Zeke Sky (guitarist, vocalist and full composer of everything going on aside from drums on Intergalactic Space Demon) got his foot in the door of the music biz on, where else, Youtube. This is not to disparage him or Youtube musicians/entertainers in any way shape or form, it just means that inevitably, I haven’t heard of him until right now. As it turns out, he is the living version of the swole-as-hell dude on the album’s cover, which makes me wonder just when the hell he finds the time of day to hit the gym as religiously as he obviously does, while becoming such a damn virtuoso on the guitar and amazing composer. I can barely find the time to function as an adult.

In the interest of attempting to find a category to throw Zeke Sky into, I suppose you could call it… Progressive Power Djent? Or Progressive MeloDjent? Imagine Devin Townsend, Blackguard, Protest the Hero, Periphery and, like, a smidge of Unleash the Archers coming together in a sort intergalactic super force of all things epic and righteous. If I didn’t know any better I’d swear he was part of the epic Canadian Metal scene but, alas he’s from Philadelphia. Regardless, this dude can SHRED. After setting the table on the multilayered, picture-painting “Overture,” my dude immediately breaks out the big guns with “On the Tip of the Tongue,” starting with a fantastic, cascading piano intro that brings to mind everyone from Meatloaf, to Celine Dion (stop laughing THIS IS SERIOUS), to Yes. That sort of Prog-mindedness certainly takes center stage, with layers of guitars, vocals and overlaying synths taking you on a journey with a decidedly metal back bone that balances everything out with an appreciated dose of heft. And while at no point during the proceedings would one doubt the man’s musical chops, the minute he busts out his first epic solo, you know we’re dealing with something REAL serious here.

But before you think this is gonna be an all-out noodle fest, “Light the Sky” comes in guns blazing with a ferocious, breakneck riff that has you feeling like you’re in a shuttle launch getting ready for an atmospheric breach. Midway through though, everything shuts down and gives way to a neat little atmospheric break led by a… theremin, maybe? It’s a nice little reminder that this album is certainly going to continue taking you on a bit of a journey, even if Zeke Sky decides to bust out the heavy shit – such as in the case on the follow-up title track, which very much gives a whole lot of those Protest the Hero vibes right from the first note – intricate, busy fretwork on full display, backed by a bruiser of a riff and some pounding, bombastic drum work that balances it all out really nicely. Even on “Level the Heights,” perhaps the album’s heaviest track (it even boasts a nasty little Lamb of God-inspired breakdown halfway through), Zeke Sky keeps his progressive tendencies well in-play, deftly transitioning from the aforementioned LOG-like heft to bust out a lengthy, expertly tapped solo that’s more Satriani than Slayer.

After a stretch of heavier tracks lasting through “Light in the Hollow,” the album starts to turn back towards a more Progressive, Heavy Metal flavor. Intrumental “Firewitch Forever” features an incredibly fun riff that brings to mind everyone from Deep Purple to Iron Maiden, capped off with Sky’s most ostentatious, self-indulgent soloing on the album which may sound like a dig, but I assure you it’s epic and righteous and very much necessary. “Faith and Sorrow” may have a foundation built on a super crunchy riff, but it’s the extra accents that make the song special – the all-too-brief organ hits (I KEEP TELLING EVERYONE, USE MORE ORGANS), the brilliant leads, the spacey backing vocals, it all creates a vivid fever dream of a picture that I want to soak myself in and return to again and again.

Zeke Sky is a brilliant musician who has effectively made one hell of a proper entrance into the world of Heavy Metal. Hype has already begun to build in spades and, to these ears, it’s all well-deserved. Intergalactic Demon King is a joyous, twisting ride that should appeal to a wide range of metalheads, and I suspect its accolades are only just starting to pile up. Check this out pronto.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
December 22nd, 2022

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