Thursday 25 January 2018

Review: Ring of Gyges - Beyond the Night Sky

It's hard to overstate the achievement that is Beyond the Night Sky, a debut album from an Icelandic progressive metal five-piece Ring of Gyges.

The music is relentless, yet restrained; heavy, yet soaring; familiar, but adventurous. It is passionate, melancholic, tragic, and occasionally euphoric. For a band that’s been active for less than five years, Beyond the Night Sky shows an impeccable approach, both in songwriting and execution, and it takes more than a couple casual listens to fully appreciate it. But once you sit back, close your eyes, and really experience the album, you will catch a glimpse of the spark of genius that inspired this album.

The lyrics on Beyond the Night Sky are poetic and abstract. The songs themselves work best in context, but “Andvaka,” “Dawn,” and the album’s centrepiece, a 13-plus minute monster “Dusk” stand confidently on their own. Some of the best moments exist in contrast: the clean guitar intro in the mentioned “Dusk” is simple but welcome, followed by the series of riffs that blast from every direction. The unison of the ‘70s progressive rock and modern-day progressive metal is flawless throughout the album. It has to be mentioned that Beyond the Night Sky also includes guest appearances on instruments such cello, viola, violin, saxophone, flute and clarinet, what opens up for additional experimentation. 

Ultimately, I believe this album will be the yardstick against which all future Rİng of Gyges albums will be measured. Beyond the Night Sky flirts with perfection and — if nothing else — proves it's within Ring of Gyges’ reach.

Beyond the Night Sky is available from Bandcamp

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