SMOKE THE SKY
The Human Maze
A German band that sounds like southern and groove metal? Hey, it’s SMOKE THE SKY, with their new record The Human Maze! Members Kris (Vocals/Bass), Mr. Mo (Guitars/Backing vocals), Konst (Guitars), and Mikk (drums), all formed the band in 2010. They have one previous release called Leave This World Loud, debuted in 2012.
The first song off this track is “Avoid The Void”, and it packs a punch… up until the vocals. The guitar tone doesn’t really mesh well with the vocalist’s voice, and the children’s background vocals don’t really help the song either. The only thing that the track provides is a good time to headbang. There are many instances where the vocalist sounds great, the chorus being one of those. The song clocks in at 7:01, which honestly bored me after 5 minutes. Let’s not forget the lazy fadeout at the end, it just ruins the vibe of the song. It’s a great track with great instrumentation, but there was no need for it to be that long, especially when the message is to “avoid the void”. I get it, but sometimes I just want to stare into the void, ya feel me? Haha!
Avoid The Void
Raw Is The Law
Time To Die Again
Moving onto “Mephisto”, the riffs remind me of “Betrayed” by Avenged Sevenfold, and some Pantera. The drumwork gives us a nice pocket groove, and we continue to jam. The vocalist is starting to sounding like the late Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots at some parts during the track; It’s a groovy song. The third song is called Skysucker Inc, starts with a vocal delay of the word “sky” and a choral chant repeating it, until we get to the word “suckers” and everything builds up to the song. However, I feel a sudden drop and kicking in after the word “suckers” would have been so much cooler. The vocalist starts to almost rap until the chorus, and here we can see the band maintain its groovy tastes. “The Engineers” has the best intro to a song so far on this album. I’m not into the choruses but everything else was grand. My biggest surprise was that after the very first song, the vocals sound nice with the guitars now. Maybe it’s my fault with a change of headphones? Anyways, after “The Engineers”, “It’s Human” begins with the same slowed pace that the previous track ended. It’s a well done transition, and the band coming together is a great sound. Maybe “The Engineers” and “It’s Human” should have been one song to start the album? These two tracks are a way better introduction to this band and album.
I’d say “It’s Human” is my favorite song so far. The verses remind me of Incubus’ singer Brandon Boyd in a way. When the band picks up the pace halfway, it’s such a “mosh pit!” feel. “Raw Is The Law” is a corny title, to be very frank, and the intro reminds of an Anthrax song. If this is what the band intends, I completely understand yet please know I laughed when I read the title. I did start to enjoy the song more once it picked up after a minute and 15 mins in. If played live, I can see how the intro being long gives the band time to prepare and hype the crowd, but for album purposes and the genre the band is playing in, it would be so cool if it was straight to the point. The solo and rhythm tracks during it really bring the tune home. The seventh song here is “Frankinsmoke”, beginning with acoustics and showcasing a softer side of the group. It feels delicate yet also heartwarming and powerful. I get a huge Alice In Chains vibe, especially with the notes and harmonies they do. This vibe is maintained in the next song “Iron Sun”, but in small doses. The solo here is if like Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold contributed. I really do enjoy the track, and I love changes, and I was about to comment about “Iron Sun” being too long as well, but I confused it with “Mr. Chaos” ‘s intro. I loved that bass intro, it’s a great transition. I don’t know if the band intended for both songs to melt together when listening from an album perspective, but from a song perspective, they are both great in their respective forms. The drummer punching in the double kick pedals are excellent! “The Night” contains everything the album already had, but packed into one song. It’s a great song, but I feel it’s there to fill some space. It has quality chord choices though! The last song, is another favorite. The vocalist says “Alright, suckers, time to die…” and a machine gun is heard. He finishes with “...again!”. The track explodes as I’m smirking. A bluesy, groovy, metallic riff jumps around, all the while you hear whispers and yells. As “Time To Die Again” plays, it’s pretty strong and gives a sense of “We will return”. As a huge zombies fan, this is an amazing song to shoot zombies to. As the song finishes, you hear cries of people that sound like zombies!
Well, that was the whole album, and I’m going to be really honest. I am very appreciative of this band’s heavy sound and creativity, but I felt with a little different choices, it would have been an excellent record. It was a decent record to sit down and listen to at best. Nothing really memorable or stuff to pay attention to… then again, it depends on the band. Smoke The Sky is a great band, but this release wasn’t really that special to me. All the topics here have been touched upon before, and not delivered in a new way. I still understand the band’s direction, and thank them for this album! They have a cool sound so people should listen to them regardless: everyone has different opinions. This album receives a 6/10 from me, with 3 songs standing out, and everything else being groovy as hell and melting together.
Kris (Vocals / Bass)
Mr. Mo (Guitars / Backing Vocals)
For more info: