Countless Skies self-titled EP unfurls a British variant of epic Melodic Death Metal which historically has belonged to the Scandinavians but with this release all that is about to change.
The glacial chill of our Scandinavian cousins may be missing but in its place Countless Skies have harnessed an unmistakably British sound, indebted to the UK’s deep history and lush landscapes and one which forgoes the blasts of pure ice and battle-hungry cries manifested by Amon Amarth, Unleashed and Insomnium.
It’s the relative simplicity of the songwriting that impresses the most. Countless Skies resist the urge to hammer the listener with relentlessly technical showboating and instead the songs ebb and flow, winding their way through carefully constructed paths of brutality and beauty.
The EP’s riches are admittedly front-loaded, of the 4 tracks it is “Ethereal” and “Penance” that stand-out; both songs warranting repeat listens to truly unearth the myriad of subtleties and nuances that are contained within. That’s not to say that Countless Skies’ remaining tracks, “Everest” and “Reverence” are inferior, rather they slightly struggle to match the majesty of the EP’s crowning achievements.
Manna from heaven for fans of Insomnium, Agalloch and Skydancer-era Dark Tranquility, Countless Skies have delivered an EP which should see them spreading their anglicised Melodic Death Metal far and wide. Who needs Vikings? The British are coming! 8/10