SANKARA – Guided By Degrees (2012)
Gareth Jones and Vinden Wylde left the UK band The Reasoning back in 2009 to forn a brand new project, SANKARA.
Jay McDonald and Rhayn Jooste from the recently imploded celtic metal band The Bluehorses soon joined to complete the lineup, and a well-received indie released four-track EP appeared in 2011.
After a first few live appearances, the band have now unleashed their first full-length album, entitled “Guided By Degrees”.
“Guided By Degrees” it’s a polished mix of adult melodic hard rock and AOR ballads tinted with a vintage sound. There’s some of the feel of The Reasoning’s very early work before they moved in a more prog-metal direction, blended with late a ’70s / early ’80s Styx approach in style.
But Sankara have their own sound, built around strong riffs and anthemic choruses in the best British tradition.
The dominant lead instrument is Jay McDonald’s guitar perfectly complemented by Gareth Jones’ pipes in his first role as full time singer, beacuse on his previous bands only shared lead vocals with others and here proves he’s more than capable of fronting the band on his own.
The rhythm section of Vinden Wylde and Rhayn Jooste lay down solid grooves rather than indulge in any kind of self-indulgent showboating, underlining the fact that Sankara are more a straight-ahead rock band than a prog metal one.
High points include the punchy hard rockers “In God We Trust” and “The Harm Principle”, and the ballad “Lullaby for a Lost Boy”; a semi-epic that seems to pack a terrific lot of music into four minutes.
Another highlight is “The Dolls House” with a guest appearance on vocals from another Reasoning alumni; Maria Owen-Midlane. It’s a keyboard-led ballad combining some great vocal harmonies between Owen and Jones, and one of the album’s few excursions into prog rock in the instrumental break.
“Guided By Degrees” is a solid piece of work which ought to establish Sankara as a band who mean business.
During ten tracks and forty minutes (as it used to be in the good ‘ol days) to avoid fillers or dull moments, Sankara delivers meaty songs plenty of strong melodies with a rich sound driven by elaborated layers of guitars and clean vocals.
01. In God We Trust
02. Chasing the Sun
03. Never Felt So Alive
04. Gilded By Gaslight
05. The Doll’s House
06. The Harm Principle
07. Lullaby for a Lost Boy
08. Stolen Moments
09. But For Her
10. Light Your Journey Home
Gareth Jones (ex-The Reasoning) – Vocals, Keyboards
Jay MacDonald (ex-Bluehorses) – Guitar
Vinden Wylde (ex-The Reasoning) – Drums
Rhayn Jooste (ex-Bluehorses) – Bass
Arnie Edwards – Bass
Paul Wilson – Rhythm Guitar
Maria Owen-Midlane – guest Vocals
BUY IT !