Nashville based Lines in the Sky released their third studio album, Beacon in February of this year. Comprised of Jesse Brock (lead vocals/guitars), Bowman Brock (vocals/drums), and Ben McAnelly (vocals/bass), Lines in the Sky serves up thoughtful, technical progressive metal that still manages to be palatable, melodic, and catchy.
“Not About You”, the album’s opener, is a decent primer for what Lines in the Sky is all about. The song is built around a complex, quirky, syncopated riff that, despite its odd timing, somehow manages to get stuck in your head, all while Jesse Brock’s soaring voice glides above the polyphonic textures. Progressive metal often times carries with it a connotation that the music is brooding and dark, but this track is a great example of how you can blend pop elements and progressive metal without losing intensity or technicality.
Having said that, not every track on this album is cheery and bright. Third track “Teeth” features pensive lyrics, dissonant chords, and chunky, heavy rhythms throughout, reminiscent at times of early tracks from A Perfect Circle’s first two albums.
Title track “Beacon” is a hard hitting, riff driven track that is full of hooks and clever rhythms. My favorite part of the song happens from 2:55 on- everything drops out but the guitar, and it slowly builds up to a return to the main riff, only to go out with an intense, harmony laden bang.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible level of talent and tight playing in this band. Jesse Brock’s powerful voice and impressive range can’t be ignored, and the complexity of the rhythm section is evidence of not just tremendous talent, but also proves that this band has learned how to play together and bring out the best from each other- something that only comes with time and practice. They manage to have a huge, full sound despite the fact that they are a trio. I had the pleasure of seeing Lines in the Sky at Urban Artifact a few weeks ago, and I was really impressed at how tight they were, despite some absurdly complex instrumental passages and accompanying vocals.
When I first started listening to progressive metal, the main bands were Queensryche, Dream Theater, Opeth, Porcupine Tree, and Pain of Salvation. Lots of bands came and followed their styles, and the brooding, intense, technical, and bombastic music that followed would define that genre for a decade. But in recent years, numerous bands have come out that have taken elements of various styles, such as pop, fusion, metal, and even punk, and have infused them with elements that were more typically found in prog metal to create something special. Lines in the Sky’s Beacon’s pop-infused progressive metal is the type of album that will bring the genre forward into the future. Give it a listen, and buy using the link below.