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Sylvan - Sceneries CD (album) cover





3.94 | 426 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'Sceneries' - Sylvan (5/10)

What better way to start off 2012 than with a double album, right? In any case, Sylvan is a band who have reached my ears long before this New Year's day, but I would be safe in assuming that there are people reading this who are much more familiar with the band's work than I. I can safely declare however that Sylvan have attained a status of recognition within the 'neo-prog' community, and for good reason; their highly melodic take on progressive rock has been historically beautiful and passionate. 'Sceneries' is very much an album that caters to the existing fan of the band. As a hour-and-a-half monster of music to digest, few newcomers will have the patience to sit through such a length of music that- despite some areas of strength- does not appear to warrant being so long.

The music on 'Sceneries' might be described as being somewhat post-rockish in nature. The musicianship is brooding and dark, with the instruments focusing on raising an atmosphere while the melodies are left to the vocals of Marco Glühmann. Kept at a painfully consistent mid-tempo throughout the album, each of these five 'epic' tracks sees the band wander through a slew of oddly similar ideas, sometimes contrasting in terms of relative 'heaviness', but throughout 'Sceneries', there is little sense of variety or dynamic. Especially considering that a cinematic album length would wear thin with all but the most diverse and profound albums, 'Sceneries' feels bogged down by its overindulgent length, rather than enabled by it. As I would say for the majority of double albums, the same message could have been conveyed in half the time.

The strength of the songwriting lies mainly in the arrangements and orchestrations of the music, which are intelligent enough to keep a listener attentive, although all of the ideas are kept within the same narrow band of mid-tempo brooding mellowness. Few exceptions are allowed, and as a result, none of these epics particularly stand out from each other. The musical highlight that 'Sceneries' offers is likely the charming string section that's brought in to emphasize what are apparently the emotional 'climaxes' of the compositions. That term must be used lightly here however, because there is little sense of a rising action throughout this. Despite being given more than enough time to ferment the ideas into dramatic builds, the dynamic stays fairly constant and regular throughout 'Sceneries', and as a result, Sylvan come across as much less of a moving act than they have been in the past.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |


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