By Jonathan Smith
After an extended wait, Sweden’s Skyfire have released Esoteric. It’s a solid collection of melodic death metal tracks with just enough progressive and power metal aspects thrown in to keep things from being too predictable. Joakim Karlsson keeps his vocals on the heavier side, a decision that works well when placed into context with Andreas Edlund’s lively and emotional keyboard sounds. In some cases things are pretty formulaic. “Deathlike Overture” is the same sort of instrumental intro we’ve heard over and over again. However, it’s the small moments that keep Skyfire’s latest effort from fading into the melodic death metal crowd. Where the band really shines is here with the brief bursts of lead guitar wankery that go a long way. Perhaps best demonstrated on tracks like “Let the Old World Burn” and “Misery’s Supremacy,” they often come off as a bit excessive compared to the rest of the song, but they’re oh so enjoyable for that reason and are often the little pushes that makes the album stand-out. For an album with lyrical themes supposedly centering around depression, Esoteric’s sound is anything but depressing.