Coming from Scotland, Darren Cruickshank is a very talented musician. You would have to be ignorant to deny that. And it’s really good to see that one of his projects has finally been signed (to Myriad Records). I’ve been following this guy’s work for quite some time now. Found him when I was first getting into the more technical side of metal and was instantly a fan. Especially with the insane display of skill he brought in his various guitar play throughs on Youtube. He is the driving force behind the tech metal beasts in Entrosolet. However he started out before that with a side project online, Bleeding Skies. He continues his musical endeavors with both projects.

If there’s anything that Darren does well, it’s atmospheric layering. Deep, moving soundscapes filled with aural pleasure captivate your mind while listening. There is also a great sense of melody and composition to be found. He has a very musical approach to how he writes. You can also tell there’s a huge anime influence with the song titles and what not. But it’s really cool because it lends musically to his style too.

“I Choose To Awaken” begins atmospherically as you enter a soft, flowing soundscape of the title track/quick intro “Choose To Awaken”. This transitions into the next song, which is actually the first of a trilogy within the EP. “PT I – Another World” has a large scale to it. No doubt, it is a huge way to really open things up as Darren lets loose with his signature guitar style and creativity. “Pt II – Yuno” is probably the heaviest track on the release. He really brings out his technical skill with tight rhythms throughout. The first half of “PT III – Emi” is beautiful atmosphere until it hits you in the most perfect way. This is a must listen. “But You Didn’t Need Love Anyway” is some more atmosphere with your atmosphere. But it’s all very well done. I like how “I Choose To Awaken” has such an ethereal feel to it. A Bleeding Skies classic, “Please Don’t Forget Fuko” might be the best track on the entire EP. With it’s driving melodies and powerful delivery, I don’t think I’ll be forgetting Fuko. Another classic, “Let Me Go”, translates very well onto this release. It’s cool to hear these songs with superior production. “At Least, Be Human” has some very creative riffing and huge soundscapes to it. With wonderful progressions and one the heaviest sections on the release, this is a stand out track. The song closes “I Choose To Awaken” with epic style.

I do have a few criticisms. There are segments which sound very similar, even if they aren’t with closer examination. It all goes in with the writing formula between the heavier, technical bits and the floaty atmospheric parts. Also, some transitions feel forced.

To wrap the review up, this is a great release that’s worth your time. Especially if you’re into atmospheric progressive metal, then this is a must listen. Darren rarely fails to impress and he’s only going to get better as time goes on. The Circle Pit will keep you up to date with Bleeding Skies and Entrosolet so stick around. But in the mean time check out the next level play throughs and a track from the EP, and if you like it go grab it on Bandcamp.

Links: Facebook // Youtube // Bandcamp