Secrets of the Sky – Pathway

 Secrets of the Sky are a five piece hailing from Oakland, California. They released their debut in 2013 titled To Sail Black Waters and it immediately received praise amongst the underground metal community, it was one of those releases that mixed enough genres to appeal to many tastes, but largely sat within the realms of progressive and atmospheric black metal. The underground interest in the band eventually lead them to a major label, with the band signing on at Metal Blade in time for the 2015 release of Pathway.
Secrets of the Sky are truly gifted songwriters, the manner in which the songs are crafted is a rarity in the metal landscape these days. The band do not go out chasing memorable hooks, instead they build their sound around atmosphere and storytelling and carefully placed soundscapes. In fact, to suggest that Secrets of the Sky went into the writing and recording of Pathway with individual songs in mind is fanciful, this band wrote the album from start to finish with a concept in mind. Each song was recorded in sequence to ensure the flow of the album represented the cinematic qualities of the story, much like a book is written; an author may have ideas and concepts of how a book may end and what occurs in the middle, but it is written sequentially.
The maturity in the arrangements does not reflect a band on their second album, and there is a lot more dynamics to the vocals of Garett Gazay (who also plays the keyboards). On Black Waters he seemed to get bogged down a little in the confines of black metal, whereas over the course of Pathway he treads a lot more ground, and the cleans are so very emotive and powerful at times, almost calling out Layne Staley.

To receive a Three of Swords from a Taro reading represents virtual loss, its pure excruciating sorrow which must be felt in order for closure and relief to follow, and that’s exactly how ‘Three Swords’ opens the album; with a sorrowful soft doom texture and immediately it becomes evident that Pathway is going to take you places. ‘Angels in Vines’ continues the doom trajectory with just a little more gusto, as well as a death metal and beautiful clean vocal contrast throughout.

Some of the more memorable and long staying records in history are journeys: they start off in once place, they move, they travel and they flow from one area to the next, never heading backwards and always treading new ground. Pathway is one of these albums, the album gets heavier as it progresses and by the time ‘Eternal Wolves’ is reaching its black metal climax, you are at ease with how you got there, because it seemed so effortless. There are seven ‘acts’ (titled I-VII) that separate the actual songs on Pathway, these moments hold as much weight to the concept as the written material, the journey seemingly beginning at the cusp of the ocean (birth) and ending at the hand of a sword (death).
Pathway is one of those albums that is experienced, you become a part of the journey and its all encompassing. Heading into the release of Pathway, Secrets of the Sky were firmly spoken of as an exciting underground artist. Well, that’s about to change, as they won’t be a secret much longer. Phenomenal album.
Pathway Track Listing:
1. I
2. Three Swords
3. II
4. Angel in Vines
5. Another Light
6. III
7. IV
8. Garden of Prayers
9. V
10. Fosforos
11. VI
12. Eternal Wolves
13. VII
About Quinton (54 Articles)
Into most things metal, particular favourites are the artier, progressive and dynamic groups. Tool, Rishloo, Karnivool, Pallbearer, Gorguts to name a few. Writing is a passion also \oo/

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