[Review] Nine Skies – The Lightmaker

Nine Skies have established themselves over the past few years as one of the most interesting bands in the modern Prog scene. The new album “The Lightmaker” scheduled for release on September 18, 2023 contains 8 long tracks, in which some top-notch guests also participate. Dedicated to Eric Bouillette, it tells the story of Rudy, who is now living his 1001st and final life. The album opens with “Intro: An Fánai,” a short introduction composed of delicate arpeggios creating a dreamy atmosphere. A warm and expressive vocal opens “The Explorer,” featuring Riccardo Romano. A solid rhythm section composed of elaborate drumming and load-bearing bass lines characterizes the structure of the song, enriched by continuous tempo changes. Interweaving keyboards and guitar alternate energetic passages with soft Symphonic openings, developing an intense track full of pathos. The band’s Progressive imprinting is enhanced, immersing and accompanying us on this valuable journey through their distinctly personal sounds. in the second half the track moves toward the finale in a musical crescendo, ending with a delicate vocal. An intro with orchestrations opens “The Dreamer” in which another excellent vocalist participates: Martin Wilson. In the first part of the track guitar arpeggios and keyboards characterize the melodies, while the rhythm section consists of deep bass lines and minimal drumming. With a change an intense instrumental section is developed with a fine guitar solo. The intensity increases as the minutes go by, evolving the song with a good alternation of instrumental and sung parts that enhance Martin‘s enetgic vocals. In the second part, the guitar takes the lead with an extended solo insert that accompanies us to the finale. “The Chaotic” starts off strong, with gritty, distorted guitar riffs and a massive rhythm section, showing the band’s heavier side. The track features Adam Holzman on keyboards and Arnaud Quevedo & Laura Piazzai on vocals, experienced artists in the Prog scene. The vocal parts are enriched by effects, alternating sung and spoken parts in an interweaving of male and female voices. Touching at certain points on Prog Metal sounds, with drawn-out drumming and at times dark atmospheres, it is a very elaborate song with many technical passages. In the second half Adam’s keyboards offer us an extended solo that brings the sound to a very high level, and accompanies us to the finale where the guitar offers a solidta virtuoso insert. We are halfway through this excellent work, and “The Lost” features Kristoffer Gildenlöw on bass and vocals. Scratchy vocals alternate with warm, melodic parts, which fit over delicate guitar and bass arpeggios. Unlike the previous track this one is softer, in the first half, and then in the middle it unleashes all the energy the band has to offer. Heavy riffs and a powerful rhythm section alternate with melodic openings with guitar aropeggios, in a steady musical crescendo that culminates with a dark and markedly Heavy instrumental section. “Interlude: The Wanderer” is a short 1:27-minute passage with Symphonic sounds that takes us to the two long epics that conclude the tracklist. Featuring Charlie Bramald on vocals, “The Haunted” exceeds 11 minutes in duration. Positive melodies and fine guitar and keyboard interlacing, percussive and very rhythmic drumming characterize the track. Charlie‘s vocals are melodic and dynamic, interpreting the song’s lyrics with intensity, alternating perfectly with the instrumental parts. A blend of classic and modern Prog sounds, with continuous tempo changes and an extended instrumental section in the second half. The entire duration of the piece is exploited to develop the central theme, enhancing both the compositional and performing technique of the artists involved, ending with a passage from Baroque atmospheres and a narration in the finale. The album ends with another epic over 11 minutes long “The Architect” in which John Mitchell on guitar and Marco Minnemann on drums participate. On vocals Achraf El Asraoui intereposes the lyrics with pathos and very dynamic and technical singing. A track that incorporates Progressive Rock with a Mediterranean touch, developing elaborate and very technical passages and tempo changes. A good malgam of Prog Rock and Metal, more delicate passages and Heavy stretches, with instrumental and vcantata parts alternating in a unique whirlwind of emotions. The track and the record end with an intense guitar solo that leaves us wanting to listen again to this excellent work. This band confirms and improves with each release what was good previously heard. The album consists of 8 intense tracks from beginning to end, markedly Progressive Rock, with an excellent alternation of sung parts and elaborate and technical instrumental parts. The guest contributors to the album make their contribution by putting their own stamp on the various tracks in which they participate. Another masterpiece produced by the French band, which manages to impress me positively with each record release. a recommended listen for all lovers of Progressive Rock sounds, managing to bring the classic atmospheres of the genre into a modern and markedly personal context.


01. Intro: An Fánai (2:38)
02. The Explorer (6:08)
03. The Dreamer (8:01)
04. The Chaotic (7:18)
05. The Lost (9:12)
06. Interlude: The Wanderer (1:27)
07. The Haunted (11:25)
08. The Architect (11:18)


Alexandre Lamia / Guitars, piano
Anne-Claire Rallo / Keyboards
David Darnaud / Guitars
Alexis Bietti / Bass
Johnny Marter / Drums
Achraf El Asraoui / Vocals on “The Architect” (8)

Riccardo Romano
/ Vocals on “The Explorer” (2)
Martin Wilson / Vocals on “The Dreamer” (3)
Adam Holzman / Keyboards on “The Chaotic” (4)
Arnaud Quevedo & Laura Piazzai / Vocals on “The Chaotic” (4)
Kristoffer Gildenlöw / Vocals & Bass on “The Lost” (5)
Choir on “The Wanderer – Interlude” (6): 50 people who took part (names list on the booklet)
Charlie Bramald / Vocals on “The Haunted” (7)
Marco Minnemann / Drums on “The Architect” (8)
John Mitchell / Guitar solo on “The Architect” (8)

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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