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Sylvan Encounters album cover
3.26 | 103 ratings | 5 reviews | 8% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. No Way Out (5:40)
2. Essence of Life (8:05)
- Encounters (40:02) :
3. I - Overture (3:27)
4. II - About to Leave (4:16)
5. III - Your Source (3:19)
6. IV - Tremendously Different (2:11)
7. V - Long Ago (2:16)
8. VI - All of It (4:27)
9. VII - Presentiments (3:20)
10. VIII - Would You Feel Better (6:09)
11. IX - In Vain (7:49)
12. X - Encounters (2:50)

Total Time 53:49

Line-up / Musicians

- Marco Glühmann / vocals
- Kay Söhl / guitars
- Volker Söhl / keyboards
- Matthias Harder / drums

- Lars Koster / bass
- Soren Grimme / saxophone

Releases information

CD Angular Records ‎- SKAN 8225.AR (2000, Germany)

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and to projeKct for the last updates
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SYLVAN Encounters ratings distribution

(103 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(8%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (34%)
Collectors/fans only (9%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

SYLVAN Encounters reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Prognut
2 stars Overrated!!..In my opinion 2 and half stars.

MUSEA has this, as their "Masterpiece"..?Maybe because was produced by Angular Records, who knows... Nevertheless, by no means a Masterpiece in my book. They will start getting their act together, heavier that future stuff. Their epic here (40 minutes) is compound by 10 songs, which probable can be reduced to 20 minutes of good music!!..To my ears there are no definitive direction in the overall taste of the album...for moments, too heavy, too Neo or even too Metal; moreover, sometimes to mellow?! I just, do not get this album, at all!!!!, is not cohesive. ; And will go back to my shelves, without being replaced in the future!! If you want to get something from this Band, go to the next album. Nothing else to add.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I first knew the band from my neo prog colleague, Bowo, who introduced me with this album in 2000. At that time we were engaged in a progressive rock program in one of local FM radio station. The album was then featured in that program. The album comprises two tracks at the opening and one epic "Encounters" that is broken down into 10 parts / tracks. Their music is a blend of symphonic, neo prog and progressive metal with some influences of MARILLION, GENESIS, CITIZEN CAIN, IQ, and DREAM THEATER. I find this album is interesting as it has a powerful and clear voice of the band's singer Marco Glühmann, moderately complex compositions with frequent tempo changes, various mixtures of genres (including straight jazz!!) and excellent musicianship. The music is accessible by most rock listener, be it a progressive rock lovers or not. Their line-up of this album is: Marco Glühmann (vocals ), Matthias Harder (drums ), Kay Sohl (guitar) and Volker Sohl (keyboards). Guest appearance: Lars Koster (bass) and Soren Grimme (sax).

First track "No way out" is a straight rock music with some flavors of prog. This track is uplifting; it has a powerful beat and great melody. It's the kind of song that you would like to play first time in the morning. It starts with an excellent guitar work followed by upbeat music with dazzling bass line and good drumming - and powerful vocal. What I guess that you would be interested is the interlude part of this track - simple beat with exploration of guitar work and keyboard. It's really rocking!

It flows smoothly to second track "Essence of life" with theatrical vocal line backed up with piano sound. It reminds me the music of MARILLION with Hogarth voice especially on early albums after FISH was departing ("Seasons End", "Holidays in Eden") as well as CITIZEN CAIN "Somewhere But Yesterday" album. But the band also has some influence of prog met as I can smell it through the heavy use of guitar riffs. I also enjoy the symphonic music exploration in this track. It's an interesting and excellent track to enjoy. The ending part of this track is truly a neo progressive rock music especially if I observe the guitar and keyboard works combined with the singing style. I believe for those of you who love neo prog music would enjoy this track.

The epic track: "Encounters" (40:02):

It starts with third track "Overture", a very interesting neo prog overture with great and memorable keyboard sounds that create tasty melodies. I can definitely conclude that this is a neo prog music especially when the keyboard plays the solo part accompanied with neo prog rhythm in the middle of the track. The track ends up with a spacey music to continue with the next track. "About to leave" is opened with a spacey sound and soft keyboard followed by a piece of music that reminds me to MARILLION Hogarth early albums. The music flows naturally with some keyboard sounds playing orchestral music to support the voice line. The fifth track "Your source" is a moderate tempo with saxophone and some lead guitar work.

"Tremendously different" is a short instrumental part in a faster tempo with heavy guitar riffs as rhythm and stunning keyboard solo followed by electric guitar. The tempo suddenly changes to a slower one with the kind of neo prog music. It ends up with a nice piano solo and then followed by a great vocal as an intro of next track "Long ago". This track seems to be positioned by the band as an interlude of an overall story of the album. It is heavily dominated by piano at the beginning. What interesting is the addition of progressive metal guitar riffs at the end of this short track.

The 8th track "All of it" is a very uplifting track with powerful vocal line and relatively complex music; frequent tempo changes. I can see the influence of PETER GABRIEL solo work especially when the vocal line shouts in the middle of the track. I can smell also the heavy influence of IQ especially on the Martin Offord keyboard style at the end of the track. "Presentiments" opens with MARILLION-like musical piece, changing tempo from moderate to mellow at the middle of the track with a sort of Rothery guitar work.

"Would you feel better" opens with a simple guitar fills and keyboard followed with a powerful vocal in moderate tempo. There is a nice musical composition where the vocal and piano (at back ground sound) seem to go in different direction but they produce nice sound harmony. The track then moves to a faster tempo for a little bit .

"In vain" starts with simple acoustic guitar work to accompany vocal line. The singing style is superb, it reminds me to CYRUS of CITIZEN CAIN even though it's not Gabrielish at all. When the tone moves with the music and shouting vocal there is suddenly a surprise insertion of jazz music (started with the saxophone work). It's an innovative insertion because the transition is smoothly done by the band. What another surprise when at the end of jazz insertion the music suddenly moves to the higher tone of neo prog music. I think this track is the most unique one as it blends varieties of musical styles and genres composed in an excellent way that the transitions were created smoothly.

"Encounters" concludes the album with vocal and piano at intro part and followed by a neo progressive music led by electric guitar and keyboard. This track plays a role as an encore to the album.

Overall this album is enjoyable. It explores various genres: neo progressive (mostly), progressive metal (guitar riffs) and jazz (even though it happens in "In vain" track only, especially). It has nice melody and good songwriting. I recommend you to have this album. Rating 4/5. Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is where SYLVAN start to meet their potential.This is an album about relationships. The pictures in the liner notes, and on the covers are very thought provoking.

Things get started with "No Way Out", opening with heavy guitar, followed by aggressive vocals.The chorus is both catchy and intense. Pulsating riffs are followed by piano and a beautiful guitar melody. We get some keys until the song ends with guitar. "Essence Of Life" is another fantastic tune. It opens with piano and vocals. Heavy riffs 3 1/2 minutes in are joined by Marco's amazing vocals, this is so catchy ! Things get quiet as synths become all that is heard until the vocals come in and build in intensity. The song ends with a guitar melody. The next nine songs are really nine parts of the "Encounters" section. It starts with "Overture" with a melancholy intro including reserved vocals.Things pick up with keys and then guitar as the beat gets heavy.

"About To Leave" is an excellent song, opening with ominous noises, eventually synths come in leading to a beautiful keyboard melody as the vocals make an appearance. "Your Source" is amazing, I can't say enough about Marco's vocals, he's truly one of my favourite vocalists.This is a gentle song with a nice sax melody. This is one of the best songs on this record. "Tremendously Different" features bombastic drums and keys. "Long Ago" features theatrical and emotional vocals with piano until the soundscape changes with heavy riffs and synths dominating. "All Of It" is all about the vocals. "Presentiments" has the same melody as "Your Source". "Would You Feel Better" has the same cool guitar melody come and go throughout. "In Vain" has a lot of mood and tempo changes. Marco shows his stuff with light drums backing him up. This song is all over the place. The record closes with "Encounters" with relaxed vocals and piano giving way to some splendid guitar and drums.

If you liked "Artificial Paradise" and "Posthumous Silence" you owe it to yourself to check out "Encounters".

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars When I discovered the band in the late 2004, I was really charmed. I had of course to fill a huge gap in my prog addiction. I have to admit that the more I listen to these early recordings, the more I have difficulties in justifying some brilliantness and most of all, originality.

"No Way Out" and "Essence Of Life" are almost hard-rock numbers. Of course, the latter will feature some nice prog moments but basically it sounds heavy and tasteless. Only the last three minutes are of interest. Good off-beat instrumentals (somewhat reminiscent of "Watcher" - once more).

Then, we enter within what's supposed to be an epic track (divided into several short- pieces, like it is the case most of the time). The "Overture" does not really kicks me out. You might have expected passion, harmony or truely bombastic opening. But I'm afraid that we won't get anything like that. Just basic music. Like in the next number "About To Leave" : a rather flat song.

This album is typically the one that might sound catchy at first sight. But the more you listen to it, the more bored you get. Some songs aren't that bad, but it seriously lacks in good ones. I know that concept albums try to be a work for itself but still, if we compare to the greatest of the genre (to which this album does not belong) this one is waaaaay too short of. The worst being achieved inthe instrumental "Tremendously Different". This is not really a good title for this very poor instrumental number. When you choose such a title for a song, you'd better produce a great one. It wiull only be saved by a great guitar break in the finale (about thirty seconds).

Time will flow slowly when you listen to this album. "Lond Ago" will not convert me in an addict of this work (on the contrary). Completely out of structure, and far too heavy. I have the impression at times to listen to sub-par Sabbath !

The more I listen to this album, the less I can feel any prog flavour to it. No harmony, no feeling, no flamboyant passages. Just repetitive and dull music. "Presentiments" will try to revert to the (neo) prog genre. A bit bombastic, I must admit.

If only Sylvan could have hold the same quality all the way through this album, I might have been more indulgent towards this album. Fortunately, their lead singer (Marco Glühmann) is rather good in his vocal parts. He saves this work from being really miserable. "Would You Feel Better" might be the more pleasant track : it features a good guitar solo and Marco sounds a bit more concerned with his vocal role.

It seems that when the end is nearer, Sylvan becomes more poetic and finally a bit more creative. It might sound a bit strange that the jazzy mood of "In Vain" could have appealed to me. There is a very nice guitar solo, and most of the song is very powerful. It is also one of the few (the only one ?) to have a complex architecture with lots of theme variations. I guess, this is finally a great prog song. But it is the last song before the finale.

This album is really short of interesting moments. Emotion and passion are next door. With the execption of some very brief instants (but really scarse), it does not fulfill my expectations at all. If you try and listen to "Encounters" frequently (which I do not recommend) you might feel like I do. Meaning, rather disappointed.

Two stars because there are almost no blunder but where the hell can I find a true great song here (except "In Vain" which might highlight a great sense of humour by the band, but I doubt they did it on purpose). The closing number is a very nice and harmonious number as well. At last !

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The magnificent ''Deliverance'' brought high expectations for all SYLVAN fans and the band moved on to record a brand new album immediately.However bassist Patrick Münster left the band and the band had to function with several session musicians before finally offering the job to Sebastian Harnack.''Encounters'' though was recorded with Lars Koster.The CD was released on Angular Records.

The band didn't dissapoint anyone.This is another great SYLVAN work,though a little different than the previous one.Gone are some long spacey atmospheres,which I loved, and now they focus on a more melodic neo/symphonic approach in the lines of IQ,ARENA and COLLAGE,using a shorter track form,while traces of metal riffing start to become a major element.However the quality of the compositions remains high,all songs have emotional moments,good breaks,a symphonic grandeur and I find Marco Gluhmann to be an excellent vocalist with an immediate recognizable style.''Encounters'' is an album of different emotions,presenting moments of anger,sorrow,salvation and passion and could be loved by every progressive rock fan,despite a few dead points throughout.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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