Wow. We actually got some people that weren't here for The Last Hero release to come back for this one.
I'm sad. Like A Dying Machine, that hour really flew by fast. I will go ahead and reiterate my thoughts from when I initially heard it at The Listening Party, but it's mainly the same thoughts. I will add that there's still a lot of heavy elements in this album where AB did not go to the dark route of going super pop like Shinedown, Skillet, Daughtry, etc. has dived into at times in their recent albums. Indoctrination and Native Son are pretty darn heavy. Granted, I think people going to be polarized with Godspeed. I didn't think too much when I heard it at the listening party, but it is growing on me.
Overall, is this their best album ever? As I said in another forum, I don't want to feel like thinking that this is going to be their best album ever, because it's not fair to the other five great albums if it does succeed and it's not fair for Walk the Sky by itself to live up to expectations that it doesn’t need. I always look at the focus and the intent that these guys want to achieve in every album and see if they do it well and able to deliver their intent with their songs and give us great songs to listen to over and over again. When they said that this album was more enlightening than others, they meant every bit of it. Overall, I think they succeed in getting what they want out and it did felt like a more positive and cheery sounding album. Even though they cut down on the amount of the intricate instrumental sections in comparison to prior albums, the songs did feel more concise and I think it has a lot of replay value. I mean I’m certainly going to want to listen to it again and enjoy certain things on it that I couldn’t pick out in the album listening party.
Do I feel like more songs should have been longer and bring more instrumental sections and solos to the fold? Absolutely, but I don't mind them going shorter songs and when you go that route, you got to make every minute count, and AB did just that. I'm still hoping that they can do a double album in the future that can show that they do everything (epics, short radio songs, ballads, acoustic stuff, etc.) and excel. I don't even think any song felt like filler even on songs like The Bitter End and Tear Us Apart. In fact, if they do another show with an orchestra again, I hope they play The Bitter End. I think it would work excellently. The one minor gripe I have and it's noticeable, I just wish the band would dial down with layering Myles' vocals, since it is unneeded. I'm willing to meet halfway if Elvis would have layered his voice like he did with Year of the Tiger where it felt more subtle as opposed to AB's more in-your-face approach to it if that makes sense.
Still, I think listening to Walk the Sky in its entirety wasn't a huge headache to listen to for me like The Last Hero was at times, from a sonic perspective, so they got that going for them. Overall, I have no issues saying this is my album of the year and only one album really challenges it for me (and it's not Tool or Slipknot or other albums that metalheads would be raving about this year). It's actually from a Jpop artist: Aimer's Sun Dance album, which is also a more positive poppy sounding album from a lyrics album, as oppose to the orchestral dramatic vibes she can bring at times. Funny year for music for me. However, for me, all roads usually lead to AB being on top once again. Bring on the tour and seeing some these songs live. If they do shows in the West Coast, I'll plan a trip to go at least four of them in that coast.
Favorites as of right now: Native Son, Take the Crown, Forever Falling, Walking on the Sky, and Dying Light