Thank you so much to everyone at Time For Metal for their review of "When The Skies are Grey" ..
The original review is in German, can be found here:
Here is the translated version in English:
A Dying Planet unite two bands that I mourn with bleeding heart, although both never officially disbanded: First, there are the adorable US proggers Zero Hour, whose driving forces, twin brothers Jasun and Troy Tipton, are also responsible for the formation of A Dying Planet. At least there were two signs of life from Zero Hour in 2020, who haven’t unleashed any material on the hungry crowd since 2008. Thus, via Facebook, there was a short sound clip for a new song and a live performance at the online festival Sea Of Tranquility.
On the other hand, the voice of the no less brilliant Dutchmen of Sun Caged can be heard – Mr. Paul Adrian Villarreal. The quartet is completed by the rhythm section around bassist Brian Hart and drummer Marco Bicca. Unfortunately, Troy has been unable to practice his brilliant bass skills for several years due to a serious arm injury, yet I would be greatly surprised if his musical talent was not utilized in the songwriting. Fans have already been able to marvel at the Tipton brothers‘ talent in other projects such as Abnormal Thought Patterns and Cynthesis.
To my shame, I must confess that the 2018 self-released debut Facing The Incurable passed me by. However, I „sucked it up“ for this review right away. On the mic there was still a mix of different vocalists like the already mentioned Villarreal, Erik Rosvold (Zero Hour, Cynthesis), Troy Tipton himself and vocalist Luda Arno. Paul Adrian Villarreal is now the full-time vocalist with A Dying Planet, who signed with German label Lifeforce Records for this album When The Skies Are Grey. Good prerequisites for the very finest Prog Metal?
Before I get to the song material, the ingenious artwork by Henry Moreno catches my eye – it’s worth buying an LP, which also comes in the beautiful and limited color transparent turquoise. I dive directly into the cosmos of A Dying Planet with the title track. It quickly becomes clear that this is not a snack for in between. The atmospheric sound demands attention. It’s best to enjoy the subtleties through your headphones. After a prompting guitar intro, Mr. Villarreal’s crystal clear voice resounds, as it did in the opener Resist from the debut album. If you are not familiar with his singing skills, at this point you may also like to imagine Ted Leonard (Spock’s Beard, Enchant), whom he reminds in high registers in places. Although it’s not Troy working on the low strings here, I immediately notice Brian Hart’s bass lines. They casually meander through the undergrowth to grooving drums and the deep vocals. In the middle part the mood changes and as a fan I feel directly reminded of the best Zero Hour times by the nasty riffs – great debut.
Rough and destructive Honoring Your Name starts before the vocals wrap me in a warm blanket again. The emotions of a single song are enough for a whole album with other bands. Because of Jasun Tipton’s distinctive signature, I always find myself drawn back to Zero Hour or Cynthesis. Nevertheless, A Dying Planet is an independent affair that sometimes invites you to dream, only to tear down all thought constructs again. Fans of Fates Warning’s last albums should also feel at home.
Hope For Tomorrow is a bit more moderate. I am impressed by Marco Bicca’s drumming from the first second on. Just listen to the filigree cymbal playing. The polyphonic interspersed singing is a great move in the constantly increasing song structure.
Gentle tones lull me into safety before the next song takes over.
This one, the nearly 15-minute Embrace, is the longest track on the album. Staccato riffs pile up against reverberating string strokes. Villarreal’s vocal color becomes a bit darker, not to say gloomy, which fits well with the basic mood of the song. Walls of guitars alternate with acoustic sounds, where once again the drumming takes the spotlight. I like it when drummers are able to not beat a song to death, but provide atmosphere and melodies themselves – well done, Mr. Bicca. Singer Paul duels with his own voice in distorted mode. A Dying Planet play with the expectations of the listeners and push a wild passage again dreamy sequences behind. At the end there is even an official keyboard-frickle on the ears. Everything a longtrack needs.
Far From Home pushes the loud-quiet dynamics to the limit. The acoustic part with ist introverted vocals at the beginning is followed by almost ambient-like sounds, only to then properly tear down the hut. Afterwards it goes with the currentless guitar again into the dark cellar of the soul. Then the electric guitar is allowed to set the tone again and my personal hero of the album again thrash the skins. The band packs in this journey everything that makes up their sound, without sounding gimmicky.
The curtain of gray skies closes for the last time. A Father’s Love holds some electronic sound gimmicks and again delivers the signature guitar work of Jasun Tipton. The level remains high, only in the chorus musically too much gets mixed up for me. This again does not cloud the strong impression of this work from the quality Tipton forge.
I would like to pass it on as a compliment, because When The Skies Are Grey can be listened to in one piece without any lengths. Certainly, this requires several run-throughs to grasp all the details. Nevertheless, A Dying Planet doesn’t play prog for music students, but puts atmosphere and songs in the foreground. Those who are familiar with the works of the Tipton brothers or generally like to listen to progressive music of the American style will be very happy with this output. 2021 seems to be a good year for prog fans.
Recommended songs: When The Skies Are Grey, Embrace and Far From Home.