Where does the line get drawn between artistic value and entertainment value? Hungary’s progressive five-piece band Skore and their most recent full-length (and then some) record, Missing Chapter, I again find myself arguing this point ad nauseum. Missing Chapter can be summarized into three aspects: beautiful production, high artistic value, and, in my most honest opinion, a difficult journey to complete.
The first of the three most important points to make about this record is that the production quality is absolutely fantastic. For an act that became an item merely four years ago to put together something of this professional caliber, with no label backing, is nothing short of impressive. It has perfect clarity on all fronts, impressive tone work, and a surprisingly low amount of vocal additives. Compositionally, where the band seemingly draws their most noticeable influences from is top-notch quality in any recorded effort. This makes this particular record very familiar sounding to any fan of the genre. The heavy acoustic and clean effect work present on this recording most closely resemble European progressive heavyweights, Opeth, and the build up and slightly heavier moments recall Between the Buried and Me, which are just a few of the influences detected on this album.
One of the few downfalls with Missing Chapter are the aforementioned familiarities and heavy influences that can be specifically found in the vocal styles. Pairing a Tommy Giles Rogers Jr tune next to any one of the tracks off Missing Chapters would bear impressively similar fruit. After trudging through a beautifully written but lengthy prologue and intro to opening track “Lose Myself to You,” the vocals creep into life in a fashion that was obviously well thought out, but very much heard before, almost foreshadowing for the rest of the record. The creep could have been taken in a different direction to try and diversify, maybe in a grungier style or even in a Layne-esque fashion with that kind of eerie tone, making all the more difference in the overall sound. Alas, I’m not here to say how someone should create their craft, I’m here to say what I thought of it.
Coming back to the original point of where a line gets drawn between art and entertainment, the reason I had such an argument with myself, other than my obvious schizophrenia, is because this record was almost a very difficult listen. Weighing in at forty-minutes and fifty-four seconds and spanned across seven tracks, Missing Chapters is a journey. We experience beautifully written guitar for extended periods of time, constantly building up towards something, but ending at a cliff hanger almost every time, right up until track six, “Dark Twin.” There it feels as if all the pretty artsy vibes start to finally go out the door to make way for a track with some heft to it. This is a really beautifully written record, but constant music blue balls like this would typically only appeal to a university student in a classical guitar program, and not as much to the average listener.
I have a great appreciation for the work put into banging out a piece like this, and the talent that has culminated here. I just wish that moments like “Dark Twin” occurred a little more frequently to keep me enthralled. That said, if you are in fact a masters student in music, and all things intricate and prolonged is your jam, then you absolutely want to break into Skore like the candy bar it’s so closely named after.
Written by Jason Greenberg
*edited by Danielle Kenedy