How does one respond to adversity? People like to repeat cliché statements on social media or plaster those statements onto a photograph of a famous person. “Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful.” “Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.” The funny thing about cliché statements though – most of them are true. The RaZor Skyline is a band who has persevered through lineup changes to deliver their strongest album, Dark Water Oasis.
The band was formed in Seattle in the mid 90’s by Karen Kardell and the_gun. Between 1996 and 2003 The RaZor Skyline released 3 albums that showed that they were inspired by Siouxie & the Banshees as well as The Cure (for the Cure fanatics reading this, you can throw The Glove in there too). Whereas those bands were clearly in the post-punk and Goth (but don’t call it Goth per Robert Smith) camps, TRS took those influences and incorporated some metal influences into the mix. Lead singer Karen Kardell left the band after the 2003 release of The Bitter Well, leaving the future of the band in question. Fortunately Miska Kazda (formerly of Dalet-Yod) was able to step in as the new singer in 2009, leading to the release of Dark Water Oasis. It is clear from the very first moments of the record that this is a band rejuvenated, making each note count. Nods to the Goth crowd are there, but so is an eclectic mix of synths, ethnic percussion, and soulful vocals.
Salvation lies in our grasp… (album highlights)
Vittoria gets the album started off on a strong note, the doom-like synths that open giving way to a driving guitar refrain and tribal drumming. Miska’s vocals use the perfect blend of command and emotion. Key lyrics: “I can see in your eyes the innocence / of a child who has never been afraid / and I hope that your eyes will never see / all the fears in this world we have made”
View of Paradise shows a bit of a metal influence (which I spoke about earlier in this piece), the guitars weaving in and out of the mix. Vocals are muted, fitting within the overall dark atmosphere of the track. Synth pop metal? Something like that. “Salvation lies in our grasp, but we cannot pay the price / Every day the children dream with a view of paradise”
Dark Water qualifies as the album’s title track and is a masterful song that plays to the band’s strengths. Soulful vocals, sinister synths, metal tinged melodic guitar – it is all there. The chorus is my favorite on the record, emotion spilling out of Miska’s voice with these words “Dark water that kills the sea / it terrifies me”
This is a record that you’ll find yourself reaching for over and over and comes highly recommended. You can find out more about the band via their website http://www.razorskyline.com or look them up on The Social Network – https://www.facebook.com/TheRaZorSkyline.
Verdict: Uplifting Darkness
For Fans of: The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, Siouxie & the Banshees, Eurythmics, Tori Amos
- We the People
- View of Paradise
- This City Never Sleeps (Eurythmics cover)
- Grey Skies
- Silent and Smiling
- Dark Water
- The Longest Night of the Year