Eagle's Nest, Devil's Cave

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With a name like Skeletonbreath, one could easily assume that this New York City-based threesome is providing some type of metal. Skeletonbreath certainly sounds like the name of a death metal, black metal, alternative metal, or doom metal band. But in fact, Skeletonbreath aren't metal at all. Eagle's Nest, Devil's Cave, the group's second album, is an instrumental alternative rock/art rock/progressive rock outing that has a strong East European influence. Much of this 2009 release's Romanian, Bulgarian, Czech, Hungarian, and Balkan appeal comes from the violin playing of Bob Pycior, who sounds like he has spent a lot of time listening to gypsy violinists from countries were under communist rule during the Cold War; nonetheless, Eagle's Nest, Devil's Cave rocks aggressively -- and the interesting thing is the way Skeletonbreath achieve all that rock muscle without an emphasis on electric guitar. This is a power trio, but not a power trio in the traditional guitar/bass/drums way; instead, Skeletonbreath's format is electric violin (Pycior), electric bass (Andrew Platt), and drums (Tris Palozzolo). That's an unusual combination of instruments for rock, certainly, but it's a combination that works well for Skeletonbreath. And as quirky and experimental as tracks like "The Combustible Man," "Machinists," "Silk City," and "Texarcana" are, they also have a sense of groove and are relatively accessible. Unfortunately, many second albums are plagued by what is known as the "sophomore curse" or "sophomore slump"; in other words, artists will show promise on their debut albums only to disappoint listeners the second time around. But there are no signs of a sophomore slump on Eagle's Nest, Devil's Cave, which finds Skeletonbreath's risk-taking outlook continuing to pay off.

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