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Silver Key - In The Land Of Dreams CD (album) cover


Silver Key



3.84 | 49 ratings

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3 stars (6/10)

"In The Land Of Dreams" is an hour of bright well made Neo-Prog, sure to please fans of the classic approach of this subgenre. That much should be clear right from the opening title track. I'm not sure I'd completely define this as 'retro neo-prog' though. The sound Silver Key have made here feels a lot more based in modern rock to me. That's not to say the sound of "In The Land Of Dreams" isn't heavily influenced by the classic 80s neo bands of yore (because it is), but there is enough of a modern streak to it that you can easily recognise it.

The album is packed full of melodic guitar solos and the fiddly keyboard solos, as well as the classic synth sounds you might expect. What was more of a surprise was the amount of excellent bass work (for example the solo in "Learn To Let Go", or the opening of "Millenium"), and it was very welcome. Influence from Marillion, IQ, Pendragon and so forth can be heard throughout, and there are even reminiscences of some newer bands, such as Celpsydra (which is probably down to an 'Italian factor').

The highlight for me is "Millenium", a dark exploration of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This song came right after "Learn To Let Go", which was lyrically a rather clumsy song. This meant that when I heard the harrowing clips that introduced "Millenium" I was a bit worried Silver Key would not be skilled enough to handle the sensitive subject matter. Turns out I was wrong, and actually they pull out the best performance of the album for this one, and offer a striking and evocative song to us.

The 26 minute suite, "The Silver Key", is another obvious highlight, though it's a bit more mixed. There are parts that are really great and epic, especially the powerful finale. There are also more thoughtful low key sections that I also enjoy. Some of the heavier guitar parts stand out as well. However, I'm not sure that "The Silver Key" feels like one song; it's quite segmented, and some of the parts noticeably disrupt the musical flow. Still plenty to enjoy though.

What I'm not quite sold on is the vocals. They are handled competently but can sound a little awkward to my ears at times, and don't provide the best framing for some of the more awkward lyrics. I also find the choruses are in general a bit hit-and-miss, and can stray into generic territory at times. It's not a huge deal though, and I would expect that a lot of people wont find this much of a hindrance to their enjoyment of the album.

So, does it measure up to the classic Neo-Prog bands, such as Marillion, IQ and Pendragon? I'm not sure I think it quite does, it just lacks the same kind of impact. But then those bands are some of my absolute favourites. The flip side of this is of course that even a familiar tribute like this is good enough for me to enjoy, and I expect if your tastes are similar to mine then you will also enjoy "In The Land Of Dreams" too.

ScorchedFirth | 3/5 |


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