Backstory: Skyharbor is out of India, and there are several high-profile guest appearances on the album including Marty Friedman (ex-Megadeath only on track "Catharsis" I believe), and the vocals of Daniel Tompkins (ex-Tessaract, vocals throughout). This is Keshav Dhar's first project straight out of bedroom recording, and it's a mix of catchy/groove-laden quality.
For those who function on classification schemes: Skyharbor is prog metal along with Meshuggah style guitar rhythms, all graced by elegant vocals (if you liked Tessaract this album is a no-brainer).
I'm impressed more by this album than I have been by anything else all year. Screamed and harmony, I can't say enough about Tompkins' voice -- the guy has an amazing set of pipes. The Meshuggah/"djent" thing is accessible and it's featured to grace the sound, not as some kind of crazed rhythm spamfest. It's well-applied and technically proficient enough to be applauded, it's not overdone, and it's wielded responsibly enough to be reigned in and not spill over into tracks where there is no need for the sound. Combined with the refined shifts in songs that offer much more than another Meshuggah derivative, the whole effort is standout and unique front to back. It's diverse enough to keep coming back to, and I find that's an important quality in my music.
Maeva, Celestial, and Catharsis mark some of the best song writing and execution of any band I have heard in a long time, the first listens of those tracks were striking and were immediately repeated.
Overall, the Illusion-named tracks all feature a more ethereal/progressive feel, and the final three Chaos-named tracks feature much faster heavier songs.
An 8.5 is about where I feel the album belongs in terms of scoring. Amazon's 5-star system just doesn't offer enough wiggle room, and so I bumped it up a notch mainly out of respect for metal coming out of a new continent, and for the quality for such a new act.
I'm not blown away. This is nothing revolutionary but it's unique enough to remain a head's breadth above the clamoring of the "we can sound like Meshuggah too!" or other general prog-metal sub-genres.