Release: December 7, 2011
2. Darkness & Disguise
3. The Other Side of the Mountain
5. Valley of the Kings
7. Earth Choker
8. The Sleeping Prophet
Okay, so the atmospheric post-metal-shoegaze-ish cover art doesn’t really tell the story of Black Skies too well here cause this be beer-swillin’, down-in-the-muck sludge rock like few bands can pull off.
The absolute first thing I think of is Jucifer when I listen to On the Wings of Time. We’re talking Jucifer at the beginning of their run. I remember the feeling I had listening to their debut (Calling All Cars on the Vegas Strip) for the first time. That was also an independent release before being picked up by oddly by Capricorn who had no fucking clue what to do with it. That record tuned down and still hit harder than anything I had heard in ages. Black Skies bring me back to that point in time.
The trio formed in 2005 but have only been able to put out a demo, and two EPs which have gone virtually unnoticed. But with their first full album, they are screaming to be fucking heard. Bassist Michelle Temple and guitarist Kevin Clark share the vocal duties with Temple’s screams balanced out by Clark’s grime. When Jucifer started out, they mixed sludge with pop songs but Black Skies don’t bother with those pop riffs. Most of the tracks are face rippers and even ones that start off slow like “The Other Side of the Mountain” eventually crank it up to 11.
On the Wings of Time is simply a fantastic riff-fest that expertly blends dark sludge with melodies that stick in your head for days to come. I dare you to listen to “Technologicon” and not pump your fist and sing along “TECH.NO.LOG.I.CON!!!”
Now of course, comparing them to Jucifer is interesting. From the beginning I thought they were going to be one of my favorite bands and then Relapse signed them and they went off into some bizarre world that I just can’t understand. Black Skies has that sound, but don’t seem remotely as weird, so here’s hoping they stick to this sound and create great music for years to come. And fuck, self-released? Someone please snatch these guys up and give them some money to create more music. Hell yeah, Black Skies. Hell yeah.