Leon : Sometimes it’s clear from the start that you will like a record or that you won’t like it, but unfortunately sometimes it’s just more difficult than that. This is the case with the album 'Map Of Broken Dreams' by Great Leap Skyward, a band from Australia that, according to the information booklet, is called a super group, “with members from Knightmare, 4 Arm, and Septerrus”. The term supergroup is used very easily, even when I look at the popularity of these bands on social media it’s a stretch, only 4 Arm seems to have a bit of (local?) success. Anyway, for this review it doesn’t really matter, because the album does not get better or worse when I know which musicians do or do not play in the band. What is nice to know, however, is that Ermin Hamidovic (Periphery, Devin Townsend) has taken care of the mastering.
The music that Great Leap Skyward makes is interesting, they call it 'Progressive Cinematic Metal', but I don’t really agree with that. It’s true that I can’t really associate a sub-genre to the music, that’s because musically it is a mixture of influences, I hear elements that wouldn’t be out of place on a Katatonia album but also on an album by Dimmu Borgir. The former is mainly due to the quieter and spherical parts of the music, the latter is expressed in lightning fast double bass drums and a few moments with scream / grunt. This combination sounds quite interesting and to a certain extent innovative, yet I can’t keep my focus to the music for too long. That does not reflect in the qualities of the musicians, they all provide an excellent performance and I also don’t have feedback on the vocals, which I often criticize. But I do miss the 'yeah' feeling and I think this is because I sometimes just miss something cool in music. There are more than enough aggressive moments in the songs but I never get the urge to head bang (except during ‘Nuclear Winter’), maybe it’s because the music is always melodic, so the aggressive pieces are somewhat softened down. I also find the songs are quite similar, or at least have the same vibe, some more variation wouldn’t have done harm but perhaps that is a matter of taste.
Sometimes you can think an album is rationally good but it just doesn’t connect emotionally, the so-called head bang urges are not there and that is really important for an extreme progressive metal band. Great Leap Skyward, however, has undeniably created a very good album, especially for a debut album 'Map Of Broken Dreams' is an excellent album and deserves to be heard. I would certainly recommend progressive metal fans, who also listen to the extreme side of the genre, to listen to a song or two, maybe your experience is different than the one that I had.