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Silhouette - A-Maze CD (album) cover

A-MAZE

Silhouette

 

Neo-Prog

3.21 | 41 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Not a mazing, but a good start

Having enjoyed Silhouette's current release "Across the Rubicon" immensely, I decided to venture back in their catalogue to this their début album. Released in 2007, "A maze" was several years and a line up change in the making, and even then it was self released significantly restricting its exposure. The album features nine tracks in all, the feature track being the 9 minute "Seize the night".

Taking their inspiration from the neo-prog of the eighties, there is a retro feel to songs such as the opening "Ocean of life", which has hints of bands as diverse as the Doors, Aphrodite's Child and Beggars Opera. The lush keyboards of Erik Laan and the fine acoustic and lead guitars of Brian de Graeve create the perfect foundations for the distinctive lead vocals of Jos Uffing. Vocal duties are actually shared between three of the four band members, all three being proficient singers in their own right.

Some tracks, such as "The lie" display a kind of charming naivety in prog terms, the track having pop nuances, striking synth and innocent vocals. Elsewhere, there are overtones of bands such as Talk Talk (their early years), to these ears at least. "Where Are You Now" is for the most part an enjoyable if unremarkable song, but it features an excellent synth passage which transforms the track.

The 8 minute "The World Is Gonna Get You" is the first song to really display the band's ambitions in prog terms. Here, the arrangement is more adventurous,taking a fairly straightforward upbeat rock number and embellishing it with soft flute like synth, (the obligatory) Hackett-esque lead guitar and shifting time signatures. While a bit rough round the edges, the track does give a good indication of the way the band would progress in the coming years.

The aforementioned "Seize the night" is indeed the highlight of the album, bringing together the various sounds and influences captured elsewhere on the album into fine mini-epic. Here, there is something of a Pallas feel to the music, especially in the impressive instrumental runs. The final track "Long distance love"has a ballad feel, with romantic lyrics and an anthemic pace.

Overall, an impressive début by these Dutch proggers. While the album as whole does suffer a bit from the home made nature of the production, this is more than offset by the quality of the music and the performances. More significantly, it points the way for the band to refine and develop their music on future albums.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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