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Dropshard - Silk CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.94 | 88 ratings

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4 stars Italian band DROPSHARD have, in their own words, been "dropping into unconventional rock since 2007". Following two initial demos they released their debut album "Anywhere But Home" in 2011. "Silk" is their second studio production, and was released in 2014.

I recall Dropshard's debut album as a fine and promising production by a progressive metal band with an accessible sound and style, one of the numerous quality albums that comes my way during a year that was a solid experience with a fairly large potential audience. Three years have changed a few aspects of this band however, and the most profound change is that the style explored on this album is one that by and large isn't progressive metal.

Apart from a few short interludes and atmospheric laden additions, the compositions on this album see Dropshard develop from a progressive metal foundation over to one with a stronger connection to neo-progressive rock. While I actually don't regard the band as substantially much different as of 2014, my experience is that the focus and foundation have been given a shift. So there are still harder edged passages present, and quite a few with more of a distinct progressive metal vibe as well, but these are now additions and expansions rather than a fundamental trait as I experience them.

Most of the songs here has a tendency to open in a more careful manner, Vocals and piano or acoustic guitar, or accompanied by relatively gentle instrumentation in sequences that may well be described as melodic rock rather than progressive rock as such. These soon expand into arrangements that have more of a neo-progressive character to them, with careful guitars and accompanying keyboard textures supplementing the strong and distinctive lead vocals that is an important aspect of this production. From there and on the compositions develop with a bit more variation, but a common trait is that some harder edged guitar riff and keyboards arrangements will appear at some point. Not always as a a distinct progressive metal run, but at minimum a harder edged and darker toned one. Some of the tracks, especially the longer ones, will then alternate back and forth between passages of varying intensity and stylistic orientation prior to coming to a close, while the shorter cuts have a stronger tendency to develop in a more straight forward manner with less of these quirky structural developments.

With the aforementioned more delicate interludes, as well as at times liberal use of sequences with more of a cinematic character, the end result for me at least is an album I'd categorize under neo-progressive rock, as my impression is that the ties to this segment of the progressive rock universe are most defined this time around. Not in a manner like Marillion however, but rather with similarities to the kind of material a band like Sylvan explored a few years back. And my recommendation is aligned with that view: Fans of bands like Sylvan and perhaps also later day RPWL is what I regard as a key audience for this album.

Windhawk | 4/5 |


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