SKYND has chosen nearly the same cover art for their new EP, "Chapter II," as they selected for last year's "Chapter I." The same scared, stitched and oozing wounds spell out the name of the electronic duo on bruised skin that has simply been edited to appear darker than that in the cover of "Chapter I." This makes sense because while this EP covers different tales, their music continues to tell stories of shocking, oddly brutal, logic-defying, crimes. Electronic duo SKYND continues to explore the psyche of criminals whose infamy stemmed from the oddity and brutality of their actions.
The opening track, “Jim Jones,” is both chaotic and catchy. The repeated pre-chorus and chorus covey cult-like chanting, a large group desperately trying to save non-believers. The two verses are the personification of the cult leader Jim Jones, speaking to his followers. “Come come to god, we shall overcome someday/Come to god, come to the temple, come, come/Come come to god, suicide Sunday” is urgently sung at the end of each verse in pitch-shifted vocals, so low they sound hollow and quiet in comparison to the high-pitched chorus and bridge. In contrast, the vocals on the chorus and bridge are pitched so high it sounds like children are singing it.
The second song, “Tyler Hadley” goes through several instrumental changes throughout its 4 minute and 49 second run time. The morbid contrast between the minimalistic and trendy trap beat and heavily warped vocals about bashing someone's head in with a hammer is my favorite moment on the EP. The chorus is purposefully overly enthusiastic with harsh underlying synths. The second verse has a warped and slowed down version of the first verses trap beat, and then the song sounds like Skrillex circa 2010.
The third and final song on "Chapter II," “Kathrine Knight” is SKYND’s version of an emotional piano ballad. “Katherine Knight” is the only song on this EP that showcases the range and power of the frontwomen’s voice. The vocals slowly gain strength as they shed the vocal effects they have been slathered in as the song progresses. The sparse instrumental gains body as the song plays, transforming from a piano and kick drum to an orchestral swell. The processes of Kathrine Knight’s addled mind are articulated extremely clearly, and the songs’ emotional buildup is both raw and gut-wrenching.
The minuscule nature of SKYND’s discography is balanced out by the amount of thought and effort each song is given. Both their unique aesthetics and their ability to empathize with the subjects of their songs make SKYND’s art extremely fascinating. The goal that the band has stated on their website is “To get as close as possible to the evil humans are capable of.” Their work does not simply tell the stories of these criminals, it‘s a sonic journey into their lives and mindsets. SKYND’s songs and music videos are mini psychological horror stories that you can’t stop thinking about after you finish them. If you like true crime documentaries and off-kilter electronic music, you will love SKYND’s combination of the two.