HRR 698 CD, ltd 500

Luke Mils - vox
Adam Thorpe - guitar
Jonny Stern - guitar
Luke Williams - bass
Andy Macknight - drums

01 Virtual Humanity
02 Dead City
03 Midnight Ryder
04 Mistress of Darkness
05 Take the Night


Following in the footsteps of Amulet, Wytch Hazel, Seven Sisters, Dark Forest and Toledo Steel, Skyryder are another name to be added to the growing list of protagonists of the new wave of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. The roots of the band go back to the year 2016.
Based in the North East of England, the different band members are actually scattered across the country. Adam Thorpe (guitar) and Luke Williams (bass) are from the Durham area, Jonny Stern (guitar) is from Teesside, Andy Macknight (drums) comes from Sunderland and Luke Mills (vocals) is from Portsmouth on the South coast.
Last year High Roller Records re-issued the band's debut EP »Vol. 1«. Guitarist Adam Thorpe comments: ”I think because of the re-issue we've noticed more interest in the band online and for gigs etc. As well as that we love working with the guys at High Roller, they're a bunch of great guys who've been so supportive and laid back and really strive to help bands like ourselves. Onwards and upwards form here.”
»Vol.1« is now followed by »Vol.2« (which seems quite logical). What
are the main differences? Less NWOBHM and more power metal? Adam Thorpe: ”I think »Vol.2« has got a more developed sound compared to »Vol.1«. This is down to everyone coming together to write and we all took the idea and ran with it. Collectively we have a really eclectic taste in music and it definitely has had an impact on the sound, which we really hope sets it apart from »Vol.1«. We didn't set out with an intention of straying either side of the line, we walk between power metal and heavy metal but there's no complaints if we do.”
He continues: ”Starting out originally, it was supposed to be just a project. So initially it was just going to be a one-off release. However, upon completion the story just didn't feel finished, so this time around we've finished off the initial story. For »Vol. 3« (which we doubt will be the title) nothing is set in stone as of yet but we are writing now as we've finished »Vol. 2«.”
"Virtual Humanity" off »Vol.2« starts quite folky, showing shades of Dark Forest at the beginning ... Bands like Seven Sisters, Dark Forest, Amulet, Wytch Hazel and Skyryder, are they all supporting each other, is there a united scene of new traditional metal bands in the UK? ”Yeah we agree, we just like pushing ourselves to try things we haven't before,” confirms Adam Thorpe. ”I think there's a lot of mutual respect between all the bands. Plus the scene in the UK is pretty cosy, so everyone pretty much knows everyone. We love seeing the guys play and even more so if we are playing alongside.”
"Dead City" shows some influences by (very early) Virgin Steele … ”Of course, we try not to think too much about that stuff as we're writing,” says Adam Thorpe. ”But there's definitely a few fans among us, so it's going to come out somehow. We find that people pick up on these unintentional influences and it's great, you can't fault being compared to Virgin Steele (or Cloven Hoof as was previously suggested). 'Dead City' is basically about an assassin sent by the elders to do their bidding and destroy everyone in his path. Another part of this little concept that's been running through all of our material.”
"Midnight Ryder" is a more basic metal tune, that might
well turn out to be a kind of hymn for Skyryder … Adam Thorpe: ”'Midnight Ryder' was written very quickly. We started jamming the simple riff just warming up and Luke Mills started singing and writing lyrics almost immediately. We did try a bunch of different arrangements but in the end we prefered the simple approach. This song is definitely the no-nonsense track of the EP and we all wrote our parts accordingly. It was the first song from the new release we ever played live, so that should show how much it resonated with us.”
As Adam Thorpe explains, "Take The Night" is the most up-tempo number on the record: ”We wanted to finish the record with a bang. It also drags in a few touches that everyone really loves into it. Big build-ups, unusual drum beats and the usual Skyryder speed and dual guitar work. It's also probably the closest we've come to a self-titled song.”

Matthias Mader