There are few records out there that have shaped the face of the modern hardcore style and what it has become. The masterpiece known as "10.21" is one of those records, along with the equally beautiful "Opposite Of December" by Poison The Well. Simply said, there are many bands today that owe a debt of gratitude to this record and the band that produced it, because it has become one of the most essential modern day hardcore albums, and a classic in every respect of the word. If you are in love with the melding of beauty and chaos, then Skycamefalling is a band that you must listen to, because I'm sure you'll see hints of them in many of the bands you listen to today. "10.21" is just an album that sounds as good today as it did five years ago, and one that will sound as good five years from now as it does today.
In many ways Skycamefalling were one of the most innovative and creative bands in the hardcore genre. If you notice bands today inserting small acoustic parts, or going from a brooding assault to a beautiful melodic interlude, you can thank Skycamefalling for that. Before "10.21" combining things like acoustic guitar parts, piano or soft melodic sections was unheard of, but somehow SCF made it work, and most importantly they made it work well. Musically the ideas pioneered by this band, intense riffs, heavy breakdowns, and poetic lyrics, are still some of the founding principles of the hardcore genre today. These guys really were amazing in every aspect of their sound. As far as the common sing/scream technique, which was given much headway by Poison The Well on "Opposite Of December", Skycamefalling took it a step further. The melodic vocals are extremely haunting and soothing where they are inserted, not whiny, high pitched or emo, and not overdone in the least. That is a problem with a lot of hardcore bands today. Most try to come up with catchy hooks or emo choruses, and just throw out random melody so they can attract a bigger audience. Skycamefalling only placed the melody where it was appropriate to do so, and where it would help to further the songs. Of course there is a much greater ratio of screaming to singing. Vocalist Christopher Tzompanakis really carries this band. His vocals just give every song that much needed heavy, yet extremely melodic edge. And just when you think the extreme screams can't get any better, Cameron Keym inserts those haunting background vocals that will just send chills up your spine. The opening song "With Paper Wings" is enough to evidence everything that's been said. The blistering chaos seemingly transforms into a melodic atmosphere, only to gracefully bow out with a soothing piano passage at the end. The guitars also stand out along with Christopher's vocals, as Cameron and John show where the hardcore guitar style has progressed from. I like many other fans could go on for days about the musicianship, the vocals, the intense riffs, the melodies or the dynamic elements presented on "10.21", but I could never do it justice. This is an album you must hear to appreciate.
As far as the structure of the album is concerned, it flows beautifully. Songs are very diverse and incorporate a variety of elements in each, which makes every song distinctly different from the previous. For fans who like melodic tendencies, "With Paper Wings", "The Nothing", and "Healing Yesteryear" will be right up your alley, while fans of heavier material will be at home with pieces like "Laura Palmer" and "Porcelain Heart Promises". Skycamefalling was also one of the first hardcore bands to explore adding interludes to further the flow of their albums. This is shown by the band's introduction track, the instrumental track #5 and the album's epic title track "10.21". Before SCF many bands just rounded their cds out at 8 or 9 songs, and paid very little attention to the flow or atmosphere of a record. Today it's hard to listen to a band's cd that doesn't have at least one interlude, an intro or an outro on it. However many bands just insert random passages that do nothing to accentuate the music, just to make their album seem longer, and many listeners skips these interludes. With Skycamefalling, you'll find yourself listening to every song, every intro, and every interlude. They just had a way of making music that few bands possess. This is a record that you can put on and simply listen to the entire way through, no skips, pauses or stops. Skycamefalling can fully capture your attention and hold it throughout the entire course of "10.21". Chances are if you've never had the pleasure of listening to this cd, you're going to be amazed at how you can't stop listening during the 62 minutes this cd lasts.
I don't want to drag on too much about how amazing this cd is, because as you can tell I am very biased towards it, simply because it has been so influential to the hardcore/emocore genre, yet is not widely known. However maybe it being not as widely renowned as say "Opposite Of December" is a good thing, because it gives you an intimacy with the band and this cd. I will simply say that if you listen to hardcore/metalcore/emocore or any of the other derivatives, I would suggest that you pick up this cd along with "Opposite Of December" by Poison of The Well. I think you'll be surprised to see that many bands today are mimicking Skycamefalling's sound. Like Janitor X said, there's a reason that bands are trying to sound like this. However few can ever capture the intensity and beauty this album has, and that my friends is why this is a must own album.