The Smashing Skull Sessions

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Rise To the Sky – Stay With Me When You’re Gone

" Each track leans heavy against your heart, carefully pulling on each heartstring with just enough tension to allow you to feel and experience every crestfallen emotion you have inside without ever losing hope "

Gut wrenching and utterly heart-breaking is how I can best describe Rise To The Sky’s latest offering Stay With Me When Youre Gone. I love extremes in music, and I always look to be moved by music. I thrive off being emotionally torn to shreds when listening to the darker and more melancholic side of it. Santiago, in Chile is where vocalist and instrumentalist Sergio González Catalán hails from and this project of his has been breaking hearts and stirring the soul of many a listener since 2019. This latest offering is heaving with unabating grief and sorrow, but within all this suffering and despair, the listener can seek, and find solace beneath its heavy sunken heart.

The heartbreak is instant as the opening track, A time I Was Loved mourns and weeps under a veil of cellos and violins, before being consoled and comforted by those deep, intense bellows that shed tears under the cover of deep solemn riffs and funereal paced drums. An intense opening track that aches and yearns for a time that has now passed. Lyrically, the pain is magnified by the words “Dream of a time When I laughed like a child, Bring back my past, When I knew I was loved by you”. Even the closing moments of the track with its acoustic beauty and it’s softly spoken passage doesn’t soften the pain or the heartache that has just been witnessed.

The beauty of tracks like Deep Wound To My Heart is its ability to make those harrowing vocals sing in unison with the melody of those guitars and that mid-paced procession. Even as the track begins to soar under those lead guitars and Emidio Alexandre's clambering percussions, the sadness weighs heavy. "Oh no time can heal this loss, Oh this wound so deep inside, I don’t see it heal with time, No one can take this pain away, There is no way to bring you back”. There are moments here where the pain that Sergio sings about is immeasurable through words. It’s that feeling deep in the pit of your stomach which this style of music feeds on. Its grave but somehow glorious sentiments have a way of healing and comforting the soul.

Rise To the Sky’s blend of atmospheric doom metal along with the funereal undercurrents that haunt the album make for a truly special record. Every track is laced with emotion, sorrow and woe. Lush, rich walls of sound interlace with heaving guitars and torrid vocals that make this journey through grief one to remember. Even when the cleaner vocals on tracks like Leave Me make an appearance, it never dilutes or takes away from the anguish that’s felt throughout.

Standout tracks like the beautifully harmonic Chervona Ruta, which is a cover of an Ukranian traditional song by Volodymyr Ivasiuk still aches and hurts, and how fitting a track to cover under the current climate. Sergio has put an emotion and a scar on the track that really emphasises the meaning and the intent of the lyrics. “Don’t go seeking, For the red bloom this evening, You’re the one, you’re the only one for me, For your great beauty Is the most clear of rivers, Of the mountains You’ve given death to me”.

If you have any fondness for the melancholic and the down beaten, Rise To the Sky are a must listen. All seven tracks on Stay With Me When You’re Gone hit hard. They seep in through your pores and travel through every vein in your body, unearthing an emotion deep within. Each track leans heavy against your heart, carefully pulling on each heartstring with just enough tension to allow you to feel and experience every crestfallen emotion you have inside without ever losing hope. You only have to look at the glorious artwork to be able to visualise all those feelings. I loved this album!