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Nad Sylvan - The Regal Bastard CD (album) cover

THE REGAL BASTARD

Nad Sylvan

 

Crossover Prog

3.68 | 29 ratings

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TCat
3 stars Nad Sylvan is the moniker for this Swedish crossover prog artist named Hugh Erik Stewart, who has been releasing albums since 1995. His albums have been released at odd intervals, but his 6th album, "The Regal Bastard", was released in July of 2019. He has worked with several different bands since the late 70's, but never really achieved mainstream success. However, in 2012, he started working with Steve Hackett on his Genesis Revisited projects.

Nad Sylvan's solo albums consist of himself working with various other artists as needed in each album. In "The Regal Bastard", he works with not only Steve Hackett, but also Tony Levin and Guthrie Govan (from "The Aristocrats", whose 2019 album I reviewed just yesterday, coincidentally). Nad provides vocals, guitars, keyboards and piano, but also included in the band line up for this album is Hackett and Govan on guitars, Levin on bass and also Anders Wollbeck on keyboards, Jonas Reingold on bass and Nick D'Virgilio on drums and percussion. This album consists of 7 tracks with two additional tracks on the CD. This album is also the final part of what is called The Vampirate Trilogy.

"I Am the Sea" starts the album off as a track that is somewhat soft and wandering at first, but on each verse, the music builds and becomes more emotional leading up to a great guitar solo at the end. I have a bit of a problem with the vocals however, as they seem to be a bit forced at times, and not very strong in the softer parts of the song, but they improve on the heavier portions of the song. He does his best to give a performance that would land somewhere between Gabriel and Collins, but his pitch tends to wander a bit too much. "Oahu" continues with the sea faring theme with a breezy track. Again, I find the vocals a bit annoying, but the music itself isn't bad. "Whoa (Always Been Without You)" improves a bit on the vocals, but the music itself is less interesting as it is a simple steady beat throughout. Again the music itself is decent, and there is a nice guitar solo in the middle, but it's dragged out a bit at the end. For a 7+ minute song, it doesn't really go anywhere.

"Meet Your Maker" is a bright and upbeat track, but again, it doesn't develop into anything interesting. The guest female vocalist helps a bit allowing reprieve from time to time from the usual questionable vocals. "The Regal Bastard" is the 12 minute epic track. Starting with vocals and mostly piano, the music develops as it moves into the second verse, adding an orchestral element. The track definitely has a more progressive feel to it and does seem to be the highlight of the album, even the vocals seem to fit quite well to the entire picture. After the halfway point, some nice harmonies and great bass sound comes in and the music starts to really develop well, with a great synth solo. The vocals return at 7 minutes and the symphonic sound takes over again. Another instrumental break comes along and the music is a nice flowing feeling that moves along at a moderately fast pace before moving into a stop-start section that builds nicely. The last few minutes consist of the third verse and some meandering.

"Leave Me On These Waters" is a fairly standard ballad style track that stays that way, but has an extended guitar solo in the last half which is nice. "Honey I'm Home" is a short, jubilant, mostly instrumental epilogue. The two bonus tracks come next with "Dva Time", which is mostly straightforward soft rock and "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" which is more symphonic sounding and ballad-like.

The album is decent enough, and has some excellent musical passages, but the vocals and some of the melodies are not that great. The definite stand out track is the title track which is also the longest of the bunch, but the other tracks each have their own issues, and the music is not very venturesome, and mostly quite standard and non progressive. It's something I would listen to on occasion, but far from the best new music that I have heard this year.

TCat | 3/5 |

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