Skylark – “The Horizon and the Storm” (2015)

Label: Underground Symphony Records

Review by Warren Mayocchi

Skylark released their first album 20 years ago. It was called “The Horizon and the Storm”. To celebrate the event they have released a rather large production. There are four discs in the deluxe package, including their new album paying tribute to their first recording with it’s title – “The Storm and the Horizon”. Though Skylark do go into power metal mode, I think they are closer to the classic rock sound of bands like Survivor, Journey, Toto, Foreigner and so on. With eighteen songs there is a wide selection on “The Storm and the Horizon” and then there are the other three discs of content if you obtain the deluxe version. This is a celebration of Skylark and their fans will be pleased. However, new fans may find this album difficult. There is a flatness in the recording that I suspect is not present when the band play live – I wonder whether the song mixing could be improved.

In many songs the guitars and keyboards are too muted when the vocalists are active. So the drumming becomes the dominant backing instrument, however even that seems one dimensional at times. The vocals are generally clear but inconsistent – at times punchy, at times lacking. When I watched the promotional video for the album it showed several vocalists male and female. Skylark are doing their a farewell tour “Sayonara party” in 2015. So this may mean that this is the final album from the band and they have created an album full of guests to celebrate all they have been. What results from all this is a largely drum and vocal album with a constant buzz of background instrumentation and constantly changing vocalists. When the vocals are silent the other instruments do come to the fore and display what is possible. The introduction to “Crystal Lake”and instrumental solos in most songs show that the band do play well. Bringing the instruments out in the mix when the vocals are being delivered would better support their songs. “The Hardest Part is the Night”, track 12 (title translates to “I Don’t Wanna Release You”) and “Bridges are Burning” are songs where the mixing is improved and show the better aspects of “The Storm and the Horizon”.

Skylark are doing well to still be making music after 20 years! They have created a following with a strong base in Japan and they should please their fans with the inclusion of Japanese songs on the latest album. On “The Storm and the Horizon” Skylark present good songs, but they would be better performed with more consistency in the vocals and a different mix increasing the depth in the sounds they are recording. For the people who buy the deluxe version they will also receive the best of Skylark with compilation album “Divine Gates part V chapter 1: The Road to the Light”, a new recording of “The Dragon’s Gate”, and there is also an extended version of the “Eyes” EP.

Rating – 75/100

 

Tracklist

CD1: “The Storm And The Horizon”

  1. Eyes  (Singer: Ashley)
  2. The Kiss That Never Happened (Singer: Mai Shaira)
  3. Crystal Lake (Singer: Fabio Dozzo)
  4. Just One Word (To Fall in Love) (Singer: Savannah Ferguson)
  5. マジンガーZ (Majingaa Z) (Singer: Mai Shaira)
  6. Don’t Know What You Got-Till it’s Gone (Cindarella cover – Acoustic Version) (Singer: Ashley)
  7. The Run Towards the Sun (Singer: Caro Guedes from Beto Vasquez Infinity)
  8. Shot Through The Heart (Bon Jovi Cover) (Singer: Mai Shaira)
  9. Tears (Acoustic Version) (Singer: Ashley)
  10. Another Reason to Believe (Singers: Valerio Voliani, Valerya Vanth & Helena Tironi)
  11. The Hardest Part Is the Night (Bon Jovi cover) (Singer: Mai Shaira)
  12. 離したくはない(Hanashitakuwa nai) (Singer: Mai Shaira)
  13. Road to Heaven (Singer: Ashley)
  14. 会いたかった (Aitakatta) (Back Singer: Mai Shaira & Risa Kimura)
  15. Santa Fe (Bon Jovi Cover) (Singer: Mai Shaira)
  16. さんぽ (Sanpo) (Singer: Risa Kimura)
  17. Carrying You (from”Laputa: Castle in the Sky”) (Singer: Fabio Dozzo)
  18. Bridges Are Burning (Singer: Savannah Ferguson)

 

CD2: Eyes (Extended Version)

  1. 残酷な天使のテーゼ(Zankokuna Tenshino Teeze) (Singer: Noriko & Fu-ki)
  2. She (Singer: Mai Shaira)
  3. 君をのせて(Kimio Nosete) (from”Laputa: Castle in the Sky”) (Singer: Mai Shaira)
  4. Love Song (Singer: Barbara Inzirillo)
  5. Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone) (Cindarella cover) (Singer: Mai Shaira)
  6. The Crypt of Montmartre (Singer: Helena Tironi)
  7. The Kiss That Never Happened (Alternative Version) (Singer: Valerya Vanth)
  8. 残酷な天使のテーゼ(Zankokuna Tenshino Teeze – Alternative Version) (Singer: Mai Shaira)
  9. Believe in Love (Singer: Ashley)
  10. Another Reason to Believe (Demo Version) (Singer: Valerio Voliani & Ashley)
  11. Little Girl (Intro)
  12. Little Girl (Remastered) (Singer: Fabio Dozzo)
  13. とべ!グレンダイザ (Tobe Gurendaizaa) (Singer: Risa Kimura)
  14. Rainbow In The Dark (Remastered) (Singer: Fabio Dozzo)
  15. Feverish (Singer: Fabio Dozzo)

 

CD 3: “Divine Gates Part 5 Chapter One: The Road to the Light”

  1. Belzebu (Singer: Fabio Dozzo)
  2. Satan Arise (Singer: Fabio Dozzo)
  3. Dream (Singer: Helena Tironi)
  4. Welcome (Singer: Fabio Dozzo)
  5. Hurricane
  6. When Water Became Ice (Singer: Fabio Dozzo)
  7. A Star in the Universe (Singer: Rob Tyrant)
  8. Why Did You Kill the Princess? (Singers: Folco Orlandini, Fabio Dozzo & Rob Tyrant)
  9. Twilight (Singer: Fabio Dozzo)
  10. Sleep (Savatage cover) (Singer: Valerio Voliani)
  11. Night of Pain (Singer: Fabio Dozzo)
  12. The Guardian Angel (Singers: Folco Orlandini & Fabio Dozzo)
  13. Fear of the Moon (Singer: Folco Orlandini)
  14. The Princess’ Day (Singers: Kiara & Fabio Dozzo)
  15. Sands of Time (Singer: Ashley)
  16. Insanity Is the Truth (Singer: Fabio Dozzo)
  17. The Tears of Jupiter (Singer: Ashley)
  18. Follow Your Dreams (Singers: Ashley & Fabrizio “Obi” Girelli)

 

CD 4: “Divine Gates Part 5 Chapter 2: The Dragon’s Gate”

Performed by Chiara Manese

  1. The Temple
  2. Creature of the Devil
  3. The Answer
  4. Skylark
  5. Waiting for the Princess
  6. Light (Act 1)
  7. Light (Act 2 Intro)
  8. Light (Act 2)
  9. Light (Act 3)
  10. Light (Act 4)
  11. Princess of the Snow
  12. Dragon’s Secrets
  13. Tears (Bonus Track)

 

Line Up

  • Ashley – Vocals
  • Eddy Antonini – Piano & Keyboards
  • Roberto Potenti – Bass & Guitar

 

Links

facebook.com/skylarkrock

skylarkrock.com