“The Pugilist’s Lament” is a straight-forward track that does not have much time to go off on meaningless tangents or otherwise waste listener’s time. Thus, the guitars and vocals are pointed at one specific spot on the musical skyline and are set loose for two or three minutes. Skylines are tremendously influenced by the post-grunge acts of the mid nineties. During tracks like the aforementioned “The Pugilist’s Lament”, the bulk of the riffs seem to be birthed full-sized from Stone Temple Pilots’ corpus.
There are not the singalongs or emo breakdowns that are present during a number of other band’s tracks; while this shows a conscious decision to not follow the crowd, it does mean that Skylines’ arsenal is decreased slightly. The lack of differing styles and sounds is something that grows to be a larger problem until the opening of “Annihilation”, where Skylines shifts their guitar sound to a halting, almost stuttering type of delivery. Everything else is the same with the band, so this should not count as a complete 180 for Skylines; it is really more of a minor derivation from the formula that would have succeeded more if the band had let it come forth through the entirety of the track instead of just smaller parts.
While I have no doubt that this LP is much stronger in style than their previous one, there is simply too much cohesion here. There is little new between each of the tracks, and while the sound of Skylines is good and solid, one cannot expect audiences to stay if the same formula is used without fail ten straight times. The band shouldn’t be ignored due to this lack of vision, but rather specific tracks like “Forgiveness” should be dissected into their different parts (The drum beat that opens up the track) and appreciated. It is not as if the band does not have talent; it just seems as if they have gotten too much into a groove here and have not really expanded their horizons sufficiently on “Identity”. This may be Skylines’ own “Identity”, but this is the equivalent of saying the identity of Bobby Knight is angry or of Bill Clinton as lecher. For the next album, Skylines should approach the record-making process in a way that allows for greater range in creating song. The band has more than enough chops to survive and thrive in the current music scene, but this is perhaps the only last missing piece in the puzzle for Skylines.
Top Tracks: Annihilation, Forgiveness