Exclusive: track-by-track of Skyharbor's upcoming debut album
India-based Skyharbor are gearing up to release their debut album 'Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos' through Basick Records next week. The album features Dan Tompkins (ex-TesseracT), Marty Friedman (ex-Megadeth), Vishal J. Singh (Amogh Symphony) and Sunneith Revankar (Bhayanak Maut), and is currently available for preorder. The band's mastermind Keshav Dhar has agreed to go through the album track by track with us. Have a read!
Keshav Dhar of Skyharbor
This is one of our oldest songs, and the really interesting thing about it is that, although I've gotten a lot of people describing how 'complex' it seems, it's mostly based around one simple chord progression, which is expressed in a number of different ways. This was really the most effortless song to write on the entire album, and the whole thing was finished instrumentally in less than an hour! A real moment of inspiration if ever there was one.
This song also has some of my favorite lyrical moments on the album, in fact I chose to name the album after the line Dan sings in the ambient break, "blinding white noise".
I've always been a sucker for a killer pop hook. While some of the songs on the album were originally written with the idea of staying instrumental, this one was crying out for a superstar lead vocal from the moment it was demoed. A very simple, straight up song - possibly the 'poppiest' track from the album, but I think it turned out really classy eventually.
It's funny how songwriting works - you start off with a riff or something which you visualize, expanding into this glorious big picture. Almost always, the end product turns out completely different from what you'd originally envisaged! In this case, at one point I saw this heading towards an epic 15+ minute marathon of a song, but eventually this is what it turned out like.
This was also the first song that I collaborated on with Dan Tompkins and Marty Friedman, and both their contributions just fit in like a glove.
Listen to 'Catharsis'
This was an absolute last minute addition to the album - in fact I actually wrote it while my computer was bouncing out the final album master! It sounded fitting to have a quiet little moment to breathe, so to speak, in the middle of the album - and so I just slipped it in there as an instrumental. Dan wasn't having any of that though - the moment he heard it he quickly tracked vocals over it and sent it back, and I just can't imagine it instrumental anymore! Definitely one of my favorite moments from the album.
This one is also a no-nonsense, no-frills, straight up song with more of a pop arrangement like 'Order 66', but again with a real emphasis on melody and 'flow' in the song. It's really all about the emotion and vibe with this song, and the lyrical content emphasizes that more or less.
This is perhaps the song that has seen the most drastic changes from its early demo form which spread on the internet years ago, to the album version. I really wanted to have one song on the album which would be a glorious collaborative effort between myself and some of my favorite musicians, and I knew this one had the right vibe but needed a complete rewrite, while still holding on to the essence of the original. Vishal J Singh (of Amogh Symphony fame) absolutely nailed it with the gorgeous classical solo in the middle, and even now the vocals in the chorus make the hair on my neck stand on end! If I were to pick one song on the album that really showcased all our sonic aspects, this would be it.
This song actually wasn't supposed to be on the album. It was written with the idea of being part of a big concept idea that I've been toying with for our second record, but once Dan recorded vocals on it I simply knew there was no way this couldn't be on the album. It's probably the most representative of the musical direction we're heading towards for the future. Big, groovy, spacey, moody and brooding.
Listen to 'Maeva', the closing track of the first disc 'Illusion'
The very first song I ever wrote! It was nothing like this originally though, and it's amazing to see how the song has evolved over half a decade of rewrites and rearrangements. Me and a friend were messing with some riffs for fun back in 2007, and wanted to write something really really obnoxiously heavy and annoying - there were even bee samples in there at one point, and the song was aptly named 'Obnoxicity', haha! Later, I took the whole thing apart and expanded on the riffs I felt were actually usable. My very good friend and mentor Zorran Mendonsa helped arrange the song, and that was when it really took shape. The epic chord progression with a zillion layers at the end was thrown in there almost as an afterthought, but remains one of my proudest moments from the album.
There really isn't much to say about this one. It's frantic, angry and very heavy! I always wanted to collaborate with Sunneith as he has one of my favorite screaming voices ever, and it turned out really well I think. Interestingly, each riff in there is made up of riff-lets, or little phrases taken from a dozen completely different riffs and re-arranged in this way. It was a bitch learning to play it in order to record it properly, but was worth the workout!
This is an older song, from around three years ago. Again a super aggressive track, focusing mostly on balls-out power. I like to look at the little melodic interlude as a little oasis of melody amidst all the chaos surrounding it. The influences are fairly obvious in this song - I was listening to a ton of SikTh and Chaosphere-era Meshuggah at the time, and the more wacky elements have definitely made themselves quite present!
Keshav doing his thing
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