Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Great Civilizations Reviews - Collected Here

I'll try and grab as many as I can, as they trickle in; hit up the comments if you see one I miss.

...Great Civilizations is rich with drum rolls that grab your attention, convicted guitar melodies and heart-felt lyrics. The whole album is an acclamation, a moving anthem. The tracks are arranged in a way that controls the mood; one song leading up to a frenzy the next turning the mood to a more reflective tone... >The Owl Magazine
...Chamberlin isn't able to play drums like it's 1995 (as he told this reviewer last Monday) but you'd be hard-pressed to convince listeners otherwise on album highlight "Capsized Jacknifed Crisis." His ridiculously fast but smooth stick work, and the pop rock behind this well-produced piece of work are pleasurable to listen to every time.... By the time you get through these 10 tracks, if you're like this writer, you'll appreciate and dig Chamberlin's new direction more than you thought you would and will definitely want to hear a follow-up to Great Civilizations, one of the more impressive debut records of 2011   >BlogCritics 
Skysaw’s debut album Great Civilizations is a tour of prog, arena, and quiet keyboard rock.  Pirog’s guitar hooks are fast and relentless; Chamberlin’s drums are tight and martial.  [Great Civilizations] reaches for the booming symphonies of Rush's Fly By Night or Moving Pictures. But only a handful of its 10 songs achieve those heights... One wishes Skysaw had included “Cathedral”, a seven-minute spectacle of shredded fury and ricocheting drum crashes the band has been playing at recent shows and one that could make Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart envious. > Washington City Paper
...in this ten song set that proves immensely listenable from start to finish and actually scales higher peaks as it works its way forward...Great Civilizations does occasionally bow to its handle with some sweeping sentiment. Indeed, songs such as the effusive "No One Can Tell," a soaring "Nothing's Ever Easy," and the ever-insistent title track diminish any cause to quibble about Chamberlin's intent...Great Civilizations excels on its own merits, a damn fine debut due the kudos the press is bound to toss its way. > BLURT
...Skysaw struts through modern rock with the kind of confidence you'd expect from a musician as sharp as Chamberlin (the song "Capsized Jacknifed Crisis" evokes its title primarily because of Chamberlin's superbly wrecked drums), and there's a wonderful '60s delirium along the music's edges -- backwards guitars (guitarist Anthony Pirog) and woozy bass wobbles and MGMT-worthy psychedelic voices (vocalist Mike Reina). > Chicago Sun Times [3 and a half stars]
Skysaw seems to be great prog simply because they do not try so hard to be great prog. Instead, they walk that fine line between complexity and accessibility, pooling their impressive musicanship to craft melodic riffs and textures that have the momentum of a roller coaster. As a result, Great Civilizations is accessible enough to be worth checking out, and deep enough to be rewarding in the long term From the Pharmacy of Dr. Spin


  1. I don't quite get the statement "...Chamberlin isn't able to play drums like it's 1995..." although I know it's not a dig. Anyone who's seen Jimmy play in 2003, 2005, 2007-2009, or in 2011, can attest that he just keeps getting better and better....more polished, more creative, and more visceral. Which is odd, because he's so good, there's never seemed to be much room for improvement...until you hear him play the next time, and you realize how he just keeps perfecting his craft.

    OK, done gushing now.

  2. Yes, yes, polished, visceral, I got it... but do you think JC can still play Jellybelly? Not that Jellybelly is the measure of quality, but it is damn impressive.

  3. Of course he could. Don't be ridiculous!

    (cue Perfect Strangers theme song)

  4. Take my word, he will not be playing Jellybelly ever again unless its slowed down to 10-15 bpm. I promise, even JC would agree.

  5. I'm not understanding the Jellybelly discussion, either....?

    Besides the fact that Jimmy very likely has absolutely no desire to play that song again.

    I saw Skysaw 2 or 3 weeks ago, and he played a ~10 minute drum solo that was face-melting, fast, with plenty of elements of technical trickery that would fit right in with Jellybelly. Tempo-wise, it may have even been in the ballpark of Jellybelly.

    On many songs, he was all over the drum kit with slick, white hot fills & rolls. Not sure what the significance of Jellybelly is, here; pretty much irrelevant. Guy is a beast.

    It seems pretty clear he's not interested in playing songs like that anymore. But I'd say, if he did want to play it again, it would probably be better than ever, at the level he's at now.

  6. "I don't see myself playing Jellybelly when I'm 40" - JC back in 1996. Personally I don't doubt that he could play it - he just doesn't want to. I completely agree that he continues to get better. Hopefully he'll find time for Complex Pt.2 or a bit more drum heavy stuff later and silence any naysayers! ;)

  7. ^I remember that quote, but Jimmy has clearly gotten much better since then. The chops in his Skysaw solos are through the roof. The "Fred" cover that the complex played is insanely fast and jimmy played it with relative ease. The six stroke rolls and fills on "Jellybelly" should be no problem for him as well. Just watch the drum jam he did for DC with Bozzio. Basically the ending of Jellybelly is the only insanely tough part, but I bet if he played it now it'd sound even better (im on just being a fanboy here either).