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3 stars Sylvan's "Force of Gravity" is neither something new nor is it something very original. It actually sounds a little uninspired or less mildly put, like stagnation. I got the impression that they put their new material together and called it the new album. Then someone came along and said "Do you think it sounds progressive enough?" "Not sure, let's add a few more progressive parts." So, they did that and after they were done someone said "Um, it's a little too Old School. Maybe you should add a few more digital sounds to pep it up." And so they pepped it up a little. But again someone came along and said "I think it's missing some heavy guitar riffs, you know, Riverside like." "No problem, " the band replied, "since we're excellent musicians it should be a piece of cake to add a few nice heavy guitar riffs." After implementing the latest suggestion they all felt like the album sounded a little too contrived now and they decided to edit out some of the more contrived parts until someone realized that making the album less contrived could actually make it even more contrived. "I'm getting tiered of this." one band member said, "Let's leave it like this." And the others agreed.

That's probably not how Sylvan recorded their new album but that's what it feels like to me. It's not bad, but considering what this band was capable of in previous albums it could have been far better.

Report this review (#240251)
Posted Saturday, September 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
3 stars I think it's more like Symphonic prog, even with some neo elements also a lot piano driven sound. In fact, first album by Sylvan I heard, so I can't compare much. I have to say that it took some time to get used to Marco Glühmann's specific vocal, some may even say "emotional" like. There's a strong emphasis on melody, which I always can admire, because I don't want just "melody", there have to be more elements in music, to form good composition. And they're here, little signs, making together something bigger. Maybe it's not so original, but I don't feel it here.

4(-) for something barely 4 star like, but this album made it. I like diversity of tracks here, switching fast/slow ones is managed good, without shock-effect.

Report this review (#245001)
Posted Saturday, October 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars The 2009 release "Force of Gravity" by Sylvan carries on the band's strong points (strong melodies, passionate singing), more on a song-structure basis than on "Posthoumous Silence". FoG is inferior as a result than this last, but almost 70 minutes of music are anyway a treat. Some heavier guitars and rifffs are present here and there, and even some more pop ("Embedded") and AOR ("God of Rubbish") moments: though these features are not elevating FoG in prog terms, they are not even dimming the lights on the entire work. As I've noticed scarce reviews so far on PA, in my opinion "Force of Gravity" deserves attention and a place on a music collection. Not all of the 11 numbers are on the same level, but many pieces are really interesting, and I will give a few notes on the most remarkable ones. "Force of Gravity" is a great opener, evolving and well constructed. "Isle in me" is driven by a really moving melody, starting with ethereal piano, one of the best of the album. "Turn of the tide" also has a similar development as the previous, but more on a melancholic mood. "MIdnight sun" is a slow tempo, with great duet with female singer that sings really like Kate Bush! Wonderful song. "King Porn" is another standout track, with interesting lyrics about a "modern times" phenomenon. It seems to start with brutal riff, than it swirls to a more calm feel, with a bluesy section, that end up in crescendo to full sympho rock. "Vapour trail" is made up of 14:30 duration, and it develops from an ethereal string intro to a variety of moods, never forced, and you feel really like suspended on air, until a very noticeable mid-part, wehere the song seens to get stuck in a monotone singing by Marco, greatly resolved, I have to say, with some genius-placed bars of jazz (!) flavour, introducing one of the best symphonic rock finale of this year (mmm...or of the last years...). All in all I would give this one 3,75 - but well deserves to be rounded up to 4 for the highlights described above.
Report this review (#254849)
Posted Tuesday, December 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars What happened? Why did Marco and friends decide to go heavier? The abrasive guitar power chords and over-effected theatric percussion, in my opinion, takes away from the vocal talents of uber-talented front man Marco Glühmann. This album is such a disappointment after such wonderful progress from Artificial Paradise through Posthumous Silence and its live album/DVD. Even the production quality on this album is inconsistent from song to song (which explains how a masterpiece like "Vapour Trail" can exist among the rest of this stuff). It's just wrong! Luckily, the album kind of evens out over the course of its 70 minutes.

Best songs (despite horrible drum sound): the near flawless epic, 11. "Vapour Trail" (14:30) (10/10); Marco's gorgeous vocal duet with Miriam Schell, 7. "Midnight Sun" (5:10) (9/10); 6. "From the Silence" (5:42) (8/10); 9. "Episode 609" (6:00) (8/10), and; 10. "God of Rubbish" (4:00) (8/10).

Report this review (#377704)
Posted Monday, January 10, 2011 | Review Permalink

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