American outfit Fair Skies have actually been going for ten years, but only just released its first full length album; Through the Storm. Their music, situated around a melodic hard rock vein, has plenty of feels like the Finnish school of melodic metal stretching over to power metal, hinting of the likes of Sonata Arctica, as well as more modern outfit Arion or even the more mainstream rock oriented Sturm und Drang and also lending a fair bit from the ‘80s rock scene. Even by power metal standards, Through the Storm is a fairly inoffensive listen, but it’s one that reveals more of itself as the listens are repeated. Proving to be oddly charming and enchanting, Through the Storm has something very earnest about the it; a style that lends itself well to just rolling with it, without expecting much and thus be rewarded when the music delivers.
The songs beautifully roll into each other and evolve as the album goes on, with the similarities and wholeness being felt throughout but without ever being too similar. The experience is wholesome and while the music is accessible, it’s still not too poppy; the song structure is lent toward lengthier pieces that don’t present themselves too fast, while still being to the point. The strength being that the concept delves deeper still as the album progresses, and the music evolves, becoming slightly darker. Especially the emotive guitars in the longer instrumental lead parts are decidedly rewarding. The material is also equally strong throughout, and the runtime at just over one hour seems to sweep by quickly and devoid of any mentionable filler moments - the exception would be the obvious bonus track All the Love, added at the end, but that’s easily skippable. While the album would benefit from a more upbeat number or two, as well a harder edge at times, it still feels complete being as it is.
The melodics are top notch and the best part of the album, while the rhythm section can feel timid at times. The guitars however, while not especially heavy, find the line between emotive and tight riffing. Brandon Jones deals some sweeping keyboard solos that always feel entirely apt for the situation the song is in at the moment, while Danny Keyser’s guitars sometimes take the upper hand and take the flow of the music in new directions. The synergy between the two, with Chad Keyser’s vocals adding the finishing touch, is the true star of the album. I’m not guessing this will be the revelation of the year for anyone, but fans of European power metal and melodic rock might should give it a try; slowly evolving pieces like album highlight Just You And Me are intertwined with catchier numbers like Running Back To You, while the closing My Dying Wish clocking in at ten minutes carries most of what makes the remainder of the album good. There’s bound to be something for everyone. Not a challenging or remarkably awesome listen, but a sweet and oddly captivating one.
Standout tracks: Just You and Me, Hanging By a Thread, Taken for Granted