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CD REVIEW: Desolate Sky - Between The Devil And The Darkness
By Don Sechelski - 01/23/2010 - 09:39 PM EST

Artist: Delsolate Sky
Album: Between The Devil And The Darkness
Genre: Alternative Metal and Rock
Sounds Like: Megadeath, Iced Earth
Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Best Songs: No More Lies, Between The Devil And The Darkness, Another Day
CD Review:

Chicago based heavy metal band, Desolate Sky has released an interesting and surprisingly musical debut album, Desolate Sky. Based firmly on the foundations of old school metal music, they have the sledgehammer drive of the best metal bands but add a more musical songwriting style that lifts them above the rest.

Consisting of Scott Staszak on lead vocal and rhythm guitar, Mike Mendenhall on drums, Patrick Gandy on lead guitar and Steve Sones on bass, this is a tight unit. No More Lies, my favorite cut on the CD, is a perfect example. It starts nicely with a fingerpicked acoustic guitar from Staszak. This quickly gives away to a muscular guitar and powerful rhythm section propelled by Mendenhall's frenetic drumming. When Gandy breaks out into a lead solo, it's metal at its best. The title cut, Between The Devil and The Darkness, is another strong cut. Reflecting the nihilistic tone of the lyric, Staszak says, "Between the devil and the Darkness there's a place for me, Where questions have no answers and prayers are not heard." The band rocks with a vengeance until suddenly Staszak and Gandy play an acoustic duet that is deliciously beautiful before the band slams back and Gandy rolls into a hyperkinetic electric lead solo. This is good stuff. Judgment Day is a great tune. Sung from the devil's point of view, "Step right up sign right here, I have a deal for you. Take what you want, indulge your greed. Surrender yourself you belong to me." The band rocks hard, as usual and the guitar work really shines.

Mendenhall, Gandy, and Staszak share songwriting duties but this is a true band effort. These guys are tight and the result is greater than the sum of the parts. Desolate Sky proudly carries on the traditions of heavy metal music but brings a musical sensibility that leavens the density and adds just the right amount of spice for a very tasty dish. If you are a metal fan, this is your music.

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