The debut full-length from this two-man project dares to explore far-flung corners of both metal and beyond, incorporating influences from many a genre and genuinely earning itself the title of avant-garde — even as its star-crossed aspirations sometimes miss the mark. The Year Zero Blueprint is a mixed bag in more ways than one.
Until the Sky Dies maintain a nebulous sound here, constantly shifting and changing. As such, nearly every song on the album manages to surprise and catch one off-guard with dynamic variety and unforeseen choices. "III," for example, which stands as a solid doomy track founded on a great riff, is followed up by "IV," which kicks off immediately with a kind of fuzzed out surf vibe. It's this daring that makes the album worth checking out, even if the band seem to stray to places where they have less expertise.
In comparison to the tracks mentioned, "II" serves as a hollow attempt at funeral doom that goes on forever, mainly due to its production — a key weakness throughout the album. While it occasionally complements the songs, the album's mixing more often hinders them, particularly when they adhere to the genre conventions of doom; the heaviness and grandeur is absent when it's needed the most.
Taking a weird note from the likes of Devin Townsend, Until the Sky Dies seem to disregard the boundaries of genre, leaving us with a full-length of great dynamism, but which fluctuates in its effectiveness. Yet, Until the Sky Dies remain a group to keep an ear out for. (Cimmerian Shade Recordings)