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Dropshard - Silk CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.94 | 89 ratings

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4 stars As much as I love progressive rock, I have to admit that too many modern-day bands emulate a specific period - the first half of the 70's - a bit too closely. Sure, their work is always intricate and appealing, but they usually rely too heavily on tricks made famous by genre's leaders like Genesis, King Crimson, Rush and Yes. Few acts in the genre take notable pages from other eras and styles, and even fewer do it as well as Italian proggers Dropshard. Their second studio instalment is called "Silk," and it is a wonderfully diverse, joyous and complex journey that manages to meld vintage traits and contemporary vibrancy and superb, unique songwriting. It's a really great album.

Formed in September 2007 by guitarist Sebastiano Benatti, bassist Alex Stucchi and drummer Tommaso Mangione, Dropshard set out to "dropping into unconventional music." Their debut "Anywhere But Home" managed to make a good breakthrough for the band. But with "Silk" the band is ready to open new horizons by showcasing a work of significant variety, innovation and passion.

"Insight" is a wonderfully inspiring and original way to to start. The instrumentation is a hypnotic and robust journey from a subtle arrangement to an enticing buildup that carries the same blithe spirit and dazzling timbres as the music of the mentioned heavyweights of the genre crossed with its contemporaries (Haken comes to mind).

"Eyes" ventures into a surprisingly different direction, with alt-rock tones and a pensive, spacey atmosphere. Enrico Scanu layers his vocals exquisitely, adding a bit more emotion to the playing patterns. His vocal style is reminiscent of Anathema's Vincent Cavanagh. "Cell 342" begins on a similarly quiet and reflective note that echoes Anathema influences once again, but it soon piles on the progressive rock virtuosity and madness with frantic drums and synths, and equally spastic guitar work showcasing how eccentric and ambitious Dropshard can be.

"Seat," "Pepetual Dream," and "Get Out and Run" form a batch of shorter tunes (all under three minutes), opening space for "The Endless Road," the first out of two songs that clock over ten minutes. It builds slowly from a short ambient part, over through the beautiful Fender Rhodes passage to a real progrocker, what turns to be one of the most multifaceted tracks here, revealing every side of Dropshard in one magnificent package. The other epic, "Memento" builds on atmospheric motifs constructed around various narrative parts.

I could go on and on about Dropshard, praising every moment of every song for being confident, enticing, adventurous and hearty. "Silk" is a record that exposes more and more brilliant nuances with each listen. It's a wise and tricky balance that allows the album to feel charmingly familiar yet also extremely valuable.

JohnNicholson | 4/5 |


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