Ross King – Vocals and Guitars
James Pratt – Guitars
Phil Romeo – Vocals and Bass
Nathan Robshaw – Drums
Arianna Mahsayeh – Cello (Track 2 & 5)
Marcello Ciciriello – Piano (Track 1, 4 & 5)
Anthony Trimming – Choir (Track 2)
RJ Learmouth – Choir (Track 2)
Vickie Harley – Choir (Track 2)
5. Glow Part 1: Resolution
6. Glow Part 2: Awakening
7. Glow Part 3: Reflection
Countless Skies, the UK’s leading force in the realms of melodic death metal have returned with their sophomore album: Glow, a follow up to 2016’s New Dawn. Blending the sounds of many Scandinavian heroes of the genre and adding their unique progressions to the sound, Countless Skies have returned with one of the most awe-inspiring albums I’ve heard this year.
To begin with, the band have taken the blissful echoes of their biggest influences and set them to create an atmosphere and concept I have not seen covered by others. Once you begin with “Tempest” you’ll be reminded of many greats like Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum, with the strings and precision drums lifting the mind into what feels like a cosmic trip into the unknown.
Many highs are topped by the progression of the tracks with “Summit” and “Moon” composing the closest I’ve felt to going off on some epic adventure into a fantasy and sci-fi realm that would have anyone interested in the weird, wonderful and esoteric screaming with delight.
As well as their incredible musicianship, Countless Skies have assembled an army of experienced guest musicians to add extra awe to the album. The first to showcase said talents is Arianna Mahsayeh, whose cello adds a symphonic and gothic shine to the songs, making you feel like an entire orchestra is accompanying these boys from Hertfordshire. Also showcased on “Summit” is the talented pianist Marcello Ciciriello who gives a more classical edge to the rhythm, not to mention the excellence of a choir composed of Anthony Trimming (King Goat), RJ Learmouth (Raze the Void) and Vickie Harley (Pallas Athena), all of whom raise the bar higher than I have ever seen on a melodeath release.
Production on this album is pristine, which is excellent for this sort of band as they take you into the title track, composed of three parts. Part one has dulcet tones and begins the descent into ethereal harmony with the second feeling like a spaceship ride with a slight power metal edge and the final part bringing the album to a conclusion that would give the likes of Fleshgod Apocalypse a run for their money.
I find it extremely difficult to put into words just how amazing this release is from start to finish. This is an absolute must for anyone who digs the likes of classic Scandinavian melodeath or the symphonic sides of black and death metal, or one who is into the neoclassical scene and loves the combination of classical and choral with the contemporary majesty of metal guitars.
Countless Skies have set a new level of awesome on the UK melodeath stage and I look forward to hearing more from them, and any band capable of bettering them in terms of excellence.