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Silver Lining - The Inner Dragon  CD (album) cover


Silver Lining

Symphonic Prog

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4 stars Very nice!! For the first album of band the product is great,you cant find little classical aspect.The mix of the violin and guitar is very brillant..For most of time the vocalist is absent this band is more instrumental ,melodic,felling nice arangement,original. I recomand for any prog fan""....
Report this review (#34315)
Posted Saturday, February 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Silver Lining is an unknown progressive rock band from France that has a fantastic violinist who plays the violin beautifully! I have grown up on classical music, and that violinist certainly does it for me! The rest of the band plays well! The instrumentation is great, and so is the production. This album is mostly instrumental, however , it does have some songs that offer singing. In addition, I'd like to say that there are some voices between the songs that bother me. In addition, I'd like to say that this is NOT a clone of Yes. It sounds totally different than Yes in my opinion. Therefore, I suggest you ignore the "Prog fans who like SILVER LINING The Inner Dragon also like these other bands' albums in the same genre" recommendations. In a nutshell, RECOMMENDED!
Report this review (#35385)
Posted Monday, June 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Good sound and good arrangements. Pleasant melodies. They are singing in english and fortunately, Sportouche hasn't a (too) bad english accent when he's performing. Using of violin as main solo instrument "against" orchestration brings a touch of freshness and a kind of gracefulness. One can feel a progressive line inside the SILVER LINING's music but that is more obvious when they perform live than in the studio. SILVER LINING is a song title from U2 in the 80's. Some distant infuences can be found amongst Marillion, Camel or possibly Clepsydra.
Report this review (#57133)
Posted Sunday, November 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars At once I wish to put 5 stars to this album. I do not doubt at all of the estimation. In me always caused delight use by musicians of such tools as a violin and a flute. And here it is a lot of violin. Masterly work Annie Morel at once sends the listener to creativity Eddie Jobson in U.K. The coordinated play of all musicians is magnificent. To music here there are no claims. The vocal discords, but from an album it does not spoil a general impression. A qualitative album, more likely I would carry it to neo-progressive, than to sympho-progressive. But the style direction of an essence does not change - 5 stars and a lot of pleasure.
Report this review (#83792)
Posted Saturday, July 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars A lush, symphonic work, "The Inner Dragon" reminds me a bit of "Strinkadenn Ys" by Breton band "Seven Reizh". They differ in that Silver Lining uses a lot of spoken word, they speak/sing in English, their story is a complete fabrication as opposed to the telling of a legend, and they use violin, played with ease and flair by Annie Morel, as a primary interest. But here as there, passages are dominated by keyboards and sometimes heavy yet melodic guitars, and a Celtic wave is always crashing around us.

Thierry Sportouche came up with the concept and wrote the lyrics and sang. His voice is great for singing but a bit heavily accented during the spoken sections, which tend to drag a bit and are a bit too much of a direct throwback to the 1970s when voice overs were de rigueur. They can't always be easily programmed out, but the music that often follows helps lend credence to the story. For instance, "Opaline" proceeds rather slowly for minutes, and I lost a bit of patience, praying that it would reach some sort of denouement and cut loose a bit. And boy does it, with stellar lead guitars and violin backed by heavy rhythm guitars carrying on for the latter half and showing what the band is capable of. "The Morning Dew" follows on from this logically, with particularly succinct and intertwined violin and guitar lines. "Castaways" again requires us to listen to some narration before one of the more powerful vocal segments appears, along with a sparkling violin theme.

"Desert Gates" is a relatively short track but is one of the true highlights, as the nearly ambient guitars float atop world rhythms. "A powerful wand" is also compact but much more energetic, and the violin and bass guitars really flourish. My favourite is probably "Lovestalgia", thanks to a lovely nostalgic melody which initially features Sportouche in mellow mode singing a romantic ode, and then picks up as the violin is re-instated. In general I would say that if you dislike violin in rock you might want to stay away from this album, and even if you like it, it may only suit certain moods, such as when you don't mind a certain sameness that creeps in here and there.

There are many silver linings to this dragon if you get to know its inner self. For a debut it is very strong, and, in spite of some of the aforementioned weaknesses or "acquired tastes", I am rounding up.

Report this review (#142566)
Posted Sunday, October 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Silver Lining has been a silent favorite ever since I got my grubby hands upon its release. While I am no fan of spoken parts in between symphonic interludes (unless there is comedy, like operetta), I can only waive such maligned thoughts when realizing that this is a project led by a prog magazine music critic/editor Thierry Sportouche of Acid Dragon. The original progressive movement was targeted towards eventual annihilation by frustrated non-musicians, led by the late Lester Bangs in 1977, introducing instead the lovingly Wagnerian "the Sex Pistols", the obvious "the Vibrators" and the fittingly named "the Damned". Mellotrons replaced by bags of vomit! What injustice! But guess what? We are baaaaack! So our admittedly modest prog editor decided to reverse 33 years of injustice by putting together this unusual concept album, daring the impossible by handing the lead to the violin, knowing full well that only a handful have ever been successful: Ponty, Goodman, Lockwood, Jobson, Tsuboy & Cross, among others. Annie Morel (yes, a female virtuoso!) is a splendid player, full of verve and élan, soaring over the usual prog stalwarts on keys (the delicate Pascal Indelicato) and electric guitars (the clever Nicolas Mourashko). "Opaline" has enough proggy rudiments to crawl up there with the "Spectral Mornings" of the Prog World, a sultry instrumental excursion into sheer bliss, with Morel fiddling uncontrollably while dueling with a lofty guitar flight that would make Hackett proud. All the tracks sort of blend into another, interspaced with the accented narrative which can and often does detract from the overall quality but when the mikes are turned off and the band kicks into a groove, this is some of the finest symphonic prog you will hear anywhere, with massive swaths of melancholia, melodic hooks that immediately grab your senses and a resounding violin that adds so many emotions to the mix. "Castaways"," The Morning Dew", "The Inner Dragon", "Lovestalgia" all the main tracks offer up some fresh excursions on a fairy tale-like ride that evokes the child in all of us. I just hope their next offering will concentrate on the music and less on the narrative. This is another winner from France, who have been dishing out some fine prog lately. I am looking forward to finding the DVD ,for seeing is believing. 4 puffs of fire
Report this review (#157459)
Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars SILVER LINING "The Inner Dragon"

Running water, countryside sounds, rippling piano arpeggios characterise 'Fall', an evocative overture to a stunning concept album by Lyon's Silver Lining. Anne Morel's accomplished violin playing is a distinctive feature of the music but all band members play their parts in some top class 'orchestral' prog with occasional crunching guitar chords to keep even metal heads interested! The rhythm section is also very accomplished and all comes together exquisitely on 'Opaline'. Narrator/ singer Thierry Sportouche (also editor of Acid Dragon) is conscious of his English pronunciation but he shouldn't worry because his contributions provide a distinctive charm that glues the concept together. Indeed I wouldn't have minded narration all the way through but, although Thierry's singing voice is not the strongest (I know the feeling!), he just gets away with it on the Marillion like 'Castaways' and the song 'Lovestalgia' that I thought had a folk rock quality about it. Anyway, the album is mostly instrumental and a voice is necessary to relate the story which culminates in a long 'Finale' where the 'inner dragon' is 'sleeping within you'. (The country sounds referred to earlier actually bookend the recording providing the feeling of having gone on a journey suggesting the album needs to be listened to as a whole). Other reviewers have said the 'Inner Dragon' concept is very Tolkeinesque but I don't really know exactly what Thierry (who is also the lyricist for French prog band Anoxie) had in mind when he wrote the words. In the mixture of narration and singing and even in some of the music I was very much reminded of Eloy. Ange is another obvious reference point and I know that Thierry much admires this group (whom Silver Lining has also supported). The hour of music passes very quickly, is fluid and seamless with Nicolas Mourachko's soaring electric guitar and Annie Morel's violin providing perfect foils for each other and main composer Pascal Indelicato's piano and synth also very influential in the Silver Lining sound. (The guitarist also has a hand in 4 of the tracks). All musicians play their parts though and there is also some excellent bass playing by Muchel Mourachko at points and drummer Alain Descombe also impresses in music that the band has obviously worked very hard to produce. I recommend any prog promoters out there to give Silver Lining a chance. I believe they put on quite a show with Thierry's theatrical Peter Gabriel stage costumes- or is that just a rumour? More importantly invest some money in this album and help the band develop their obvious talents.

(Phil Jackson)

Report this review (#253826)
Posted Tuesday, December 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have been waiting for this album for a long time but here it is, I have got Silver Lining's CD! The mini CD released 2 years ago and 2 concerts including a memorable one in Lyon, in June 2002, had shown the creative potential and the originality of this Lyon combo. I had discovered an original universe and a lyrical music and I waited for this moment as soon as I had learned that they planned to record a complete CD.

The cover is nice and is far from the common drawings this musical genre popularized. The booklet is great too, it features all the lyrics of the "songs" (I don't like this word when speaking of progressive rock) written in English. The combo includes a singer-narrator who writes all the texts, of a keyboards player who practically composed all the music of the album, a bass player, a drummer, a guitar player and a violinist, a traditional progressive line up then except an extra (and what an extra!) the violin, which is not so common in this style, except famous references such as King Crimson, Caravan, Hawkwind, Kansas).

I put the record in my player and I am not disappointed. Very quickly the atmosphere emerges and you find the environment developed during the concerts: a guitar sometimes calm and cordial, sometimes aggressive, played in arpeggios or rhythm, a circling and majestic violin, a piano and synths in solo or accompaniment of the soloists, the whole rhythmed by a duet bass / drums accompanying perfectly all the nuances of this music.

The first two short tracks in which the piano, the narration (this is the story of Florrow (it is a concept album)), a guitar with a throbbing rhythm and a celestial violin come simultaneously, are the prelude to the first gem, a masterpiece, no less! I mean "Opaline".

What can I say about this song? Compared to the mini CD version, it has been polished and it now has got amplitude. It is, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful epics I ever heard since I listen to music. The words are sad and deep and so is the music which accompanies them but it slowly raises towards other horizons. The guitar solos, with their Camel touch, are full of delicacy, the gorgeous violin that accompanies them, which enlace them, flies to the stratosphere. The other instruments are not silent either and the whole lot gives softness to the music, madness too (the changes of rhythms) orchestrated by irreproachable musicians for whom virtuosity is not an end in itself.

The following tracks (linked together) are at the same level, a great one. The sometimes rhythmic guitar with its throbbing sound (is this metal?), often plays melodic and brilliant solos, the violin flies away and illuminates the universe, the piano and synths are omnipresent too to blend the whole. You can select (but it's hard since all is good here) some outstanding songs: "The Inner Dragon" (almost as exceptional as "Opaline") where the piano is the master of the play, "Desert Gates" with its world music inspiration (the percussions, the Oriental vocals and the guitar parts as luminous as the sun in the desert), "Lovestagia" which makes think of a part of Camel's Moonmadness by the piano and the vocals sounding like a nursery rhyme and "Finale" which by its folk, jazzy and even funky touches, ends Florrow's quest.

At the end of the disc, the feeling of having heard something exceptional, reminds the same feelings I had had when listening to Ange's Au delà du délire and Yes' Relayer and more recently IQ's Subterannea and Arena's The Visitor.

In conclusion, this is a gorgeous, a brilliant disc. Among such records we would like to hear more often, showing great influences (is it necessary to quote some?): Hawkwind (for the violin solos and the texts recited (when Mr. Moorcock collaborated to the band)), Camel (for the guitar). But all that is quite difficult to analyze since the band found their own sound, according Christian Décamps' (Ange) own words. Astonishing for a first disc, even if it's not the members' first attempt.

Let's hope that the child will not remain single, that he will have a little brother. Let's hope those new silver lined angels will return one day on earth to display their divine music. We want more!

Report this review (#265588)
Posted Thursday, February 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars The debut album and so far the only album from this French project/band.

French symphonic prog normally means a theatrical Ange like music. This is not the case when it comes to Silver Lining. They have bypassed the French scene altogther and gone for a British feel. Camel and Yes is good references. Another good reference is David Minassian.

The music is straight forward symphonic prog with a twist. The twist is the frequent use of violin. And I mean violin as in gypsy music. There are also some chugging metal like guitars here. The keyboards is not as dominant here as per usual in this scene. The music is therefore a bit more than symphonic prog. A bit more AOR perhaps. And yes, the likes of Ange has not been completely overlooked. There are a lot of Ange connotations here, but not sound wise. The closing song Finale is very Ange like.

The quality of the music is great though. A song like Inner Dragon is superb. But the opening three songs Fall, Overture and the epic Opaline sets the standard and mood here. From there on and to the end; this album impresses me. My only gripe is the lack of a killer track or two. But besides of that, this is a really great album. Untraditional because violin, guitars and piano is the main instruments and keyboards is nowhere to be found. But still a great album which proves that great symphonic prog does not have to include cascades of keyboards.

I hope we will hear more from Thierry Sportouche and Silver Lining because they are really onto something here.

4 stars

Report this review (#524568)
Posted Friday, September 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars To sumarise this album in one word: captivating

Silver Lining is the project of Thierry Sportouche ex Anoxie, the editor and critic of magazin Acid Dragon, formed in 1998. The release so far a single album in 2004 through Musea records and is a winner in every aspect. Symphonic prog is the main musical style to be found here, but aswell combined with some spare passages of folk and even celtic momements. I have this album for a couple of years now and every time I"m siting down and heare it is a total delightful journey. For me two piece stands as simply killer, Opaline with some magnificent violin parts and guitar aswell, realy fantstic piece, I reraly like the epic fell of the piece, and The Morning Dew again tot notch, the rest are in same manner, elegant full of intristing arrangements. Instrumental passages are sheer briliancy, the violin has a very proeminent role here, for that reason insome places remind me of Kansas, only vague but similarities are. Pieces like Inner dragon or Opaline makes to feel proud that bands with such talent exists and keeps the flag high in prog world. The album as far as I understand is a concept developed by Thierry Sportouche himself with spoken words section and all the ingredients an album must have in this case. So, a highly recommended album with captivating moments that makes a real enjoyble album from start to finish, The inner dragon makes proud the prog rock genre and must be praised as much as possible because desearve it. 4 stars easy, one of the most pleasent albums I've heared in lat years.

Report this review (#543760)
Posted Thursday, October 6, 2011 | Review Permalink

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