Black Skies have never been known to rush; in eight years, the sludgy Chapel Hill trio have managed only two full-length efforts. They released the first one, On the Wings of Time, two years ago. The second, Circadian Meditations, is out November 19. Like its predecessor, the new record moves at a tectonic clip, especially when compared to the brisk and brutal EPs that preceded them.
With production from Harvey Milk’s Kyle Spence, who also handled their last LP, the record comprises six muscular numbers, each scorched and bruised by molten distortion. The drums come from Caltrop’s John Crouch, as former drummer Timothy Herzog is now busy with Godspeed You! Black Emperor. As with Caltrop’s best work, Circadian Meditations alternately grinds and tangles, building patiently.
“Celestial Coronation,” released with the video below, sums up many of the record’s strengths: Kevin Clark’s lines are lithe but weighty, twisting through adventurous melodies grounded in low-end. Michelle Temple sings with an authoritative monotone, emerging at the song’s most dramatic moments and providing a much-needed focal point. All of these tricks are familiar, but Black Skies execute them admirably, especially given their years of refinement.