Parallel The Sky
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Parallel The Sky

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"Album Review"

Parallel the Sky - 'Parallel the Sky EP'

Release Date: September 19, 2008

Parallel the Sky is:

Josh LeBlanc (vocals)
Blake Johnson (guitar)
Marty Pena (guitar)
Trent Robertson (bass)
Josh Smith (drums)

Overview: For a band that's only been around a year, Parallel the Sky has done more trail blazing than Portland's hoops team has done since the start of the century. These five gents hail from Lake Charles, Louisiana, which is 3 hours, give or take from where Drew Brees plays. Feeling like they were ready to conquer the world, Parallel the Sky dove into the studio with producer Paul Broussard to try and crank out the best debut EP they possibly could. Following Metallica's lead of a week prior, the band unleashed their baby on September 19, a Friday. Parallel the Sky has a wealth of CD release shows lined up that span much of Louisiana's geography, while those not cool enough to go to one (like myself) can purchase the EP on their MySpace or iTunes.

The Good: After reading their list of influences-RATM, GNR, Chevelle, Black Crowes-I winced in pain at the thought of hearing a new band mash-up the aforementioned four. However once I popped in the EP, I was pleasantly surprised and tuned in to what I was hearing; thankfully, my mash-up prediction died the door. Parallel the Sky already seem to be carrying quite a load on their back with the aptly titled "Hate on My Back". But the band also tacks on the weight of muscular riffs, storming drums, and a bass grumble hooky enough to demand your attention without flinching or toppling to the ground. Vocalist Josh LeBlanc often reminds me of Josh Frazier, the frontman for the now defunct band Outspoken. His sense of urgency on "Hate on My Back" is effective, keeping his humility in check by not flipping out so early in the album. "Follow Me" unwraps to a tune akin to Seether's "Breakdown", but ends up having more beauty in its negative spaces than the new Seether single. Boasting some bodacious dynamics, "Follow Me" is far catchier than its face value wants you to believe, keeping to a coy, yet distinct clinginess. Guitarist Blake Johnson's first solo is well-implemented, as it avoids sounding calculated by coming in right on cue at the bridge. "Follow Me" packs loads of bravado many a novice band would have trouble containing, but Parallel the Sky make themselves look seasoned rather than scared, sloppy, or showing off. Grinding and grungy, "Nice and Easy" is an eager beaver with a voracious appetite for adrenaline. The song possess this vintage Creed vibe, a welcomed homage validating its could-be circa 1997 birth. "Never Alright" commences with the gentle coos of Blake Johnson and Marty Pena's guitar, brightened by Josh Smith's careful cymbal play. From there, "Never Alright" launches into Submersed-y rock, with all the sweep and consistency to boot. Parallel the Sky proves the thoroughness of its budding repertoire with the earthy and soulful "Time". It's the little tidbits and trinkets that imbue this song to make it come alive, be it Smith's cross-sticking, the tambourine hits smoothing things out, or the strumming of the guitars that leaps out at you ala Days of the New. "Unwanted Angel" clearly wants you and makes sure to get what it wants, with a drug-like opening lead guitar line. A stimulating and rousing listen, the chorus of "Unwanted Angel" is bliss by harmony, and will leave you feasting to listen again and again. The EP becomes no more at the end of its final track, bravely entitled, "No More". All in all, "No More" is a no frills acoustic number who's success is derived from the song doing nothing more than eloquently bringing closure to the album; the back end of the track had me thinking OLD Candlebox without hesitation, and that rocks.

The Bad: Parallel the Sky is young blood and there are some occasions where this fact shows its ass. Starting with individual songs, the band's first taboo comes within "Never Alright". Although the cut has a solid roadmap to follow, it never really goes anywhere, as if Parallel the Sky were driving in circles. Second is "Unwanted Angel", where there is just too much going on to really hone in on what I feel could potentially be their strongest song. It's not so much a sound of clutter, but rather a "loose" sound that you can really start to notice a little past its midpoint. The final detriment to this EP is the somewhat uniformity of the introductions of "Follow Me", "Never Alright" and "Time". While each one eventually goes his separate way, it makes it tough for each song to stand out by its own merit when the first 50 seconds of nearly half the record sounds distinctly similar.

Bottomline: First off, I want to offer Parallel the Sky my personal kudos for caring enough about their progress to so adamantly seek out a review of their craft. And the best part about listening to this CD is hearing the same passion in their music which I felt reading the initial e-mail which they sent me. Sure, there are some n00bie moments here. But the more you hear these seven tunes, the less you'll feel like this is a year-old group. And the more people that go out and support Parallel the Sky by buying this record, the less likely the band makes it to its second birthday and beyond.

Rating: 8/10

tunelabmusic. com

- Nick

"Rock you three times"

Parallel the Sky, She Craves and Judas Bear rocked Rikenjaks with everything from punk to alternative rock

Issue date: 4/21/08 Section: Entertainment (The Contraband ~Mcneese)

It is hard not to find a downtown bar featuring live music on a Friday night. This past Friday, April 11, I watched three bands rocking the night away at Rikenjaks Brew Pub. Lake Charles rockers Parallel the Sky, along with Texas' She Craves and Judas Bear, entertained with a mix of musical styles.

Media Credit: Shea Vidrine
Guitarist Marty Pena and Bassist Trent Robertson of Parallel the Sky, formerly known as Five Story Fall, onstage at Rikenjaks.

The last band on the lineup last Friday was lake area hard rock group Parallel the Sky. This local band, formerly known as Five Story Fall, has been playing together since September. Their name was changed recently in an effort to appear more original, said members of the band.

Parallel the Sky consists of vocalist Josh LeBlanc, bassist Trent Robertson, lead guitarist Blake Johnson, rhythm guitarist Marty Pena and drummer Josh Smith. Gilbo is the newest member of the group, having been picked up recently in the wake of losing their former guitarist.

Parallel the Sky plays your standard radio mainstream hard rock. They were by far the heaviest of the three bands Friday night, but they are by no means brutal. Blake displays excellent guitar skills. In his fairly long solos, he sacrifices technical elements and speed for wailing solos packed with tone and feeling. However, he does utilize complicated playing in some of his guitar parts. Singer LeBlanc displayed his talent as a solid vocalist who could hold a note. Parallel the Sky is a decent hard rock band in an overplayed and overpopulated genre.

The band will be going into Makeshift Studios in Lafayette soon to record a six- to eight-song EP and will be performing again May 2 at Rikenjaks with Lafayette rockers Abrupt.

I would like to take this time to thank anyone who bothers to pick up The Contraband and at least glance at my article. I probably would not be writing this column if I did not feel people were learning something from it. Everyone listens to at least one type of music. My purpose is to expose the existence of bands playing in the lake area that you, my readers, may enjoy seeing. Nothing can compare to the live music experience. Have a great week, McNeese. ~(Shea Vidrine)~
- Shea Vidrine


Parallel The Sky Self-titled EP release Sept. 19th 2008



Parallel The Sky is a home grown intense, powerful, and energetic rock group from Lake Charles, La. Our music is in your face with catchy guitar riffs and unforgettable lyrics backed with solid drum patterns and smooth bass lines. PTS started in September 2007. Each member of the group comes from a different background but they all share the same desire to write and play music. They just released their first self-titled EP September 19th 2008. Already the guys have gotten great feedback on the album. Some of their biggest influences include: Rage against the Machine, Guns-n-Roses, Chevelle, and Black Crows. You can see from the bands that influence PTS that they spend their time writing music with a classic and soulful feel, but with a modern rock twist. This sets the band apart from many other groups.