Design the Skyline – Nevaeh by Jo Blackened

Band line-up:
Matt Ryan: Guitar/ Programming
Julian Reckless: Guitar
Keebler Lemos: Synths
John Martian: Drums
Ethan: White: Bass
Dani Doom: Vocals
Eric Azure: Vocals

Album Tracklisting:
1. Crystal Swords Kill The Hordes.
2. Reality Away.
3. Destroyer.
4. Cybernetic Strawflower.
5. Break Free From Your Life.
6. Reverie.
7. Witch of The Woods.
8. Free for Infinity.
9. Under The Blood Driven Moon
10. Nevaeh.

Despite having received fairly negative reviews during the early stages of their musical career. Design The Skyline appear to be unaffected when dissecting the contents of Nevaeh. These young scene kids from Texas show that there is more to them than funky hairstyles and outrageously skinny jeans (a problem found in many of their contemporaries).

Kick starting with ‘Crystal Swords Kill The Hordes’ elements of heavy metal, hardcore, soaring melodies and symphonic grandeur corrode together in a melting pot to provide the listener with a quite a challenging listen. Nonetheless this is a quite rewarding piece of music in itself. Deep throat tearing shrieks, growls chasing riffs and daring drumming all build together to form a powerful lead guitar crescendo.

‘Reality Away’ pushes the post-hardcore influences to the forefront, while maintaining a solid transition between clean and aggressive vocal passages. Fast paced and head banging these guys know how to keep a momentum going.

Much can be said for ‘Destroyer’ in its techy wake of destruction it definitely serves as a testament that they are by no means a band who confines themselves to simple song structures and the radio friendly sensibilities.

One of the album’s highlights can be found in ‘Break Free From Your Life’, which is strongly reminiscent of Underoath’s They’re Only Chasing Safety album. From the high pitched vocals, elevated synth sections and galloping drums, this song alone propels the album forward in an unexpected and headstrong direction.

The instrumental ‘Reverie’ provides some much need relief from the chaotic onslaught thus far; with proggy effects that hark back to Explosions in the Sky and an almost bluesy guitar section you’d almost be forgiven for forgetting who it is you are listening to. That is until ‘Witch of The Woods’ bites back with a vengeance of metallic riffs, lightning fast drumming and enraged vocals that could strip the paint of an armoured plated vehicle.

‘Free of Infinity’ capitalises upon the bands electro exploits with distant shrieks echoing throughout while ‘Under The Blood Driven Moon’ feels like a battle ground for metallers and moshers to relieve their energies in a blood soaked pit where only the strong survive.

Closing off with the acoustic induced sound of the album’s title track, there is a strong sense of reflection left with its aftertaste, a sombre yet fitting end to the record.

In a nutshell, this is perhaps a good place for haters to revise their opinion of Design the Skyline. Although the album does feel a bit strained and it does lapse into pretentiousness in parts, they are a daring and energetic group who are buzzing with creative vitality. Like them now or like them in a few years time.

I personally think these guys may be on to something, with the shards of brilliance that lay scattered throughout Nevaeh.