Album Review: Ohio Sky – “The Big Distraction”

Ohio Sky
The Big Distraction
(Cellar Door Records)

A lot of people seem to confuse progressive and technical music; it’s an easy mix-up. If you drew up a venn diagram of prog bands that are technical and vice versa, there’d be a large overlap. However, Ohio Sky falls into the variant that’s progressive without actually being particularly technical. It’s music that is haunting, dynamic, and extremely well composed, but no one will confuse Ohio Sky with Dream Theater or Between the Buried and Me.  Fortunately for Ohio Sky, that really works out for the band on The Big Distraction. The band sounds like a trippy offspring of dredg and a touch of Coheed and Cambria, where it has its feet planted firmly both in hard rock and progressive rock. In many ways, Ohio Sky has a cross-generational sound, one that harkens back to King Crimson and Porcupine Tree.

That said, these musicians are no slouch. The band recently lost a bassist, so its lead guitarist decided to switch to slappin’ da bass, which has worked out for Ohio Sky perfectly. The rhythm section is splendid throughout the album without being a distraction. These songs employ a great deal of groove and feel that is often lost when groups delve into guitar pyrotechnics. It allows the best aspects of Ohio Sky to shine: the rhythm section and vocalist Vinny DiFranco. Vinny has a voice not that different from dredg’s Gavin Hayes, but he carries a tad more power than Gavin, which works out very well.

As is typical of prog albums, the songs themselves, while solid, operate best in the confines of the album. There are individual tracks that slightly stick out, but they are the exception not the rule. Ohio Sky is at its best either when it puts the pedal to the metal (“Momento Mori”) or when it goes all-out for dynamics (“Transformations” and “Vulture Cascade”). However, there are no poor tracks on The Big Distraction, so there’s little deviation from the excellent norm here. Overall, Ohio Sky has produced a fairly impressive album, filled with what makes progressive rock so fun and enjoyable. It’s an album that will stay with you and demand extra listens, and you will happily oblige. (Nicholas Senior)

Purchase The Big Distraction here.

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