The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
From The Archive: Skycamefalling – To Forever Embrace The Sun
As of lately I’ve been regressing back to the music of my teenage years. Not sure if it’s a longing to feel young again, a trip down memory lane, or is it because I’ve come to understand whatever music you’ve listened to as a teenager, is the music that you’ll never forget. For those who are beyond their teen years, you might understand what I’m getting at. Sure time changes, as does ones taste, but every now and then, do you find yourself thinking about those bands and/or albums that you listened to when you were a teenager, and all you wanted to do was rebel against the world? No? Anyone? Oh well, to get to the point of my rambling, I’ve pretty much been re-listening to a bunch of 90’s hardcore albums that defined my teenage years. For this weeks installment, I will be discussing Skycamefalling’s debut EP, To Forever Embrace The Sun.
For the most part, what drew me to Skycamefalling was not only the music they played, but the fact that they were also from the very same stomping ground of Long Island, NY. Also a part of the local hardcore scene, which my friends and I were very much involved with, it was only a matter of time until this band made their way into my crosshairs. Even though I grew up listening to early metal and rock bands, my teenage years were spent listening to bands like Snapcase, Strife, Integrity, Minor Threat, Bane, Converge, and countless other bands (way to many to list). So when I eventually heard To Forever Embrace The Sun, I was immediately hooked. The amount of aggression this album had was right up my alley, and the rawness was something you didn’t hear in to many other hardcore/metalcore bands at that time. They were easily one of the most innovative groups (for their time) the genre had seen. There was just something about their sound, a sort of sharp, metallic tone that easily seperated them from other bands, and aside from brief excerpts of melody, their sound was very distinguishable.
From beginning to end, the entire album is thought provoking, inspirational, emotional, and all around visceral. There is nary a bad tune on the entire EP, and I’ve been hard pressed to find any faults when I listened to it then, to even now when I’m older and a bit wiser (keyword being “bit”). Not once do the songs ever come off repetive, there is a constant pace and flow that carries each song from one to the other, and it’s this flow that keeps you listening.
Skycamefalling – ‘A Penny For Your Confessions’
Lyrically, they fit the same bill of bands like Converge and Poison The Well, by having lyrics that didn’t focus on brotherhood, vigilance, unity, and those other usual staples of hardcore music, instead they opted for well-written and poetic lyrics. And the duo of Chris Tzompanakis (harsh) and Cameron Keym (clean/spoken word) on vocals further added to the bands overall impact. Chris’s screams were less from the gut and more from his throat, which gave it a more gravely sound, and Cameron added a melodic counterpart to the harsh screams by mostly using spoken word and occasional moments of actual singing. It’s a nice juxtaposition of the two styles that meshed well with the rest of the music.
Although Skycamefalling never really had the same impact of similar sounding bands, this EP, along with their full-length album, 10.21 and their final self-titled EP, deserves any and all acclaim it has received over the years. They weren’t just another band to come around and play the same shit you’ve heard many times before, but they took the best elements of what made a hardcore/metalcore band great and utilized it with great potential. Each album of theirs was well-crafted and finely executed, with their sound never straying far from their roots. From the angry, throat shredding vocals to the strong musical/lyrical themes that encompassed their entire body of work, Skycamefalling were one of the best bands the genre had to offer.
After Skycamefalling disbanded in 2003, which left their fans with a two song EP, it was pretty much assumed that it was the end of the band. However, in 2011 they reformed and played the Long Island Fest, as well as Webster Hall in July of 2011 with Harvest & Burnt By The Sun. And more recently in October of 2011, they played a show marking the tenth anniversary of their album 10.21, by playing it in its entirety. But with no news of whether or not they will be getting back full-time as a band, there is that little sliver of hope they will.
Skycamefalling – ‘Visceral’