Sky Passage The Gathering (2023)


There must be something in the water over in Canada because we now have another wonderful band from this beautiful country. Sky Passage is a band that claims to make prog metal, but I don't agree with that, at least not entirely. The band finally comes with a CD of the previously digitally available ep The Gathering. We're talking about an ep with a length of about twenty-five minutes with two songs, well a long intro of more than two minutes and then an epic of more than twenty-two minutes.

As I said, I don't think the term prog metal fits the music of this band, I would describe it more as spicy prog with a few metal traits. I'm not really a prog metal fan but I think this is really good. Sky Passage bypasses all prog metal clichés and makes exciting and very varied music.

The beautyfull cover struck my attention, as often happens,  and I am glad I discovered this band.

Brothers Mathieu and Gabriel Cossette provide the keyboards and guitar work and Laurent Lavallee on guitar, Alex Rancourt on bass and drummer Cedric Lepage complete the line-up. What about the vocals? This is provided by three vocalists who each play a role in the story. Frank Barns as the Bard, Achraf Loudiy as the Thief and Maxim Baeulieu as the Saint. Furthermore, you regularly hear Isabelle Cormier's violin and Marc Antoinne Bouchard is responsible for a dazzling guitar solo.

At first I almost didn't realize that there were three singers because their voices are not very far apart and fortunately all three are not screamers but fine singers who portray the story around the three characters very visually. In fact, The Gathering is about life and death and the realization that your actions in life determine your fate. Faith is also given a critical eye and, as expected, The Bard is the descriptive figure.

Well, finally to the music. The short track Scales of Justice is really just a wonderfully floating intro, full of heavy, penetrating keys and a violin in the background, which is the prelude to the very long The Gathering. What a great song that is. The trick is always to incorporate beautiful melodies in an appealing way into catchy music. Well, they did. The playing technique is of a high level and that helps to bring the intriguing music with a lot of variety and passion. We hear several nice solos on guitar and keys and they all remain melodic and never get bogged down in a slurry of notes despite the fact that they are sometimes fast and technical. The story is easy to follow and we go from bombast to sensitive pieces and just as easily to a number of folky pieces with an almost medieval atmosphere and then rock again. Despite its long duration, it doesn't get boring anywhere and continues to captivate until the last second. The excellent rhythm section provides the needed drive and some very playfull bassparts adorn the music in a pleasant way. 

I catch myself wanting to listen over and over again and you can't really give a bigger compliment. For a first introduction to the music of Sky Passage, that's just very good. I usually wait with a review until I have the CD at home, but I make an exception now. (it is of course ordered immediately) I downloaded this ep back in March and listened to it a lot and think more people should hear this music because these Canadians absolutely deserve it.

And what can we expect in the future? I hope they stay true to The Gathering's style and don't become just another band that thinks it's important to break speed records and scream and grunt the loudest. It is precisely the prog elements that make the rather spicy music a feast for the ear for me. I also hope that the courage to keep making long, varied compositions will not be lost.

I am very curious what the future will bring but for now I am very happy with The Gathering and this mini album will definitely get a place in my annual list.

Do yourself a favour and try this one on bandcamp ,or even better, buy the CD!


Music 84

Cover 80