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Sylvan One to Zero album cover
4.06 | 164 ratings | 8 reviews | 37% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2021

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Bit by Bit (6:16)
2. Encoded at Heart (6:42)
3. Start of Your Life (3:14)
4. Unleashed Power (7:31)
5. Trust in Yourself (5:33)
6. On My Odyssee (6:26)
7. Part of Me (9:16)
8. Worlds Apart (3:58)
9. Go Viral (6:41)
10. Not a Goodbye (10:14)

Total Time 65:51

Line-up / Musicians

- Marco Glühmann / vocals
- Volker Söhl / keyboards & grand piano
- Sebastian Harnack / bass
- Matthias Harder / drums

- Jonathan 'Jonny' Beck / guitars
- Katja Flintsch / violin & viola (5,6,7)
- Bine Heller / backing vocals (2,5,8)
- Kalle Wallner / additional acoustic guitars
- Yogi Lang / additional keyboards

Releases information

Label: Gentle Art of Music (GAOM070)
Format: Vinyl, CD
May 28, 2021

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Cristi for the last updates
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SYLVAN One to Zero ratings distribution

(164 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

SYLVAN One to Zero reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lazland
4 stars One To Zero is German outfit Sylvan's 10th studio album, and there has been a gap of six years since the last opus, Home.

On this, we return to the world of concept albums, and the concept in this intelligent work is that of a story dealing with the birth, life, movement to self-realisation, and ultimate demise of an artificial intelligence, although the demise is somewhat open to question, as I shall relate.

A grand concept, then, and Sylvan do here what they do best, that is translating such a concept into a work which is at turns thoughtful, grandiose, theatrical, and never, ever, dull. This album, as with most works by the band, does require a bit of patient listening over a period of time in order to finally "get it" and appreciate it fully, but that is time extremely well spent.

The band have always been magnificent in creating moods, and changing these at the drop of a note in order to push the story across to the listener, and this is no exception. Within the core story of the AI entity there is just as much a commentary on the one species responsible for the potential ruin of our lovely world, namely one Homo Sapiens.

At its heart, a lot of the music and delivery here is very much on the melodic spectrum of progressive rock, but the band do then create numerous crescendos and symphonic roars that simply take your breath away. Following the overture of the opener, Bit By Bit, we have the birth sequence of Encoded At Heart which has a melancholic start, but slowly, but surely, builds into a choral magnificence, and then features an achingly beautiful guitar solo by the marvellous guest Jonathan Beck, who shines throughout.

The infant stage, Start of Your Life is an extremely catchy ditty. Unleashed Power is simply a wonderful melodic tour de force, with some lovely Gluhmann vocals set over guitar and chorus. There are some orchestral strings setting the tone on Trust in Yourself, before similar moods on the exceptional journey of discovery which is On My Odyssey build into a wonderful vocal chorus underpinned by strings, guitar, and piano, one which simply takes one's breath away.

World's Apart is an extremely intelligent and knowing piece of music in which the dream of coexistence is blown away by the realisation that creators and created simply do not share the same worldview. This segues into Go Viral, a far heavier piece of music, although featuring again the most lovely guitar solo, which very aptly provides us with the final break of the AI with its human surrounded world, and the mood is very aptly set for the closer, Not A Goodbye, which is the death scene, self-inflicted, although the final couple of seconds of the track which follow a long silence as the main piece fades suggests that this is, indeed, not a goodbye. This closes the album perfectly, with a cornucopia of moods and instrumentals backing the emotive vocalist.

This album is Sylvan at their very best, an emotional journey which tells an intelligent story in a manner which takes you with them. As ever with this band, once you invest your time and energy with theirs, you are left very much satisfied at the outcome of said investment.

An excellent album, which is very highly recommended for those who simply love being carried away with the mood.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars These guys are just so professional!

I don't think they've released a single song much less album since peaking with their 2006 masterpiece, Posthumous Silence that has felt underwhelming or "phoned in." Marco and Company always give 100%--to composition, engineering, production, and, of course, to performance. And there is no one in Prog World that I can think of who has performed at a higher, more sincere level for the past 15 years as singer Marco Glühmann. So, why should we expect anything to change with this 2021 release? IT DOESN'T!

1. "Bit by Bit" (6:16) hard driving surprise. Something different! (8.5/10)

2. "Encoded at Heart" (6:42) a more-typical Sylvan tension-filled ballad-like opening over which Marco applies his plaintive tones like no one else can. Very engaging melodies and chorus. (8.75/10)

3. "Start of Your Life" (3:14) sloggy rocker. (Are the boys finally tiring?) (8/10)

4. "Unleashed Power" (7:31) a nice minute piano and picked electric guitar for the intro. Marco joins in, singing in a deep-voiced whisper up front and personal. Really nice/intriguing chord shifts after the first verse. Bass and drums join in for the chorus as piano becomes dominant accompaniment to Marco's singing. Cool thick, deep, fretless bass play over the next section. Then it gets heavy. And dark. Brooding. Until Marco goes angelic for the next "voice in my head" chorus. Beautiful! What a contrast to the bass and drumming beneath! This is what masters of their craft can do! Doesn't quite reach the heights and crescendos as promised (or as previous Sylvan works would have done) but a very satisfying, mature and masterful song--and definitely a top three song. (13.5/15)

5. "Trust in Yourself" (5:33) one of Marco's multiple personality expressions--delicate and heavy, hopeful and depressing. I just love the confidence with which he sings/performs--as if no one or nothing can disturb his groove, his craft. However, the first half of this song seems merely a setup/display vehicle precisely for Marco's talent. The instrumental C section has a nice viola solo and then an interesting searing guitar solo follows before Marco & b vox close it out. (8.5/10)

6. "On My Odyssee" (6:26) interesting synth strings play opens sounding very much like a chamber ensemble as Marco enters with his vocal. Latin-like rhythm section joins in with acoustic guitar and piano filling between the drums and bass. The classically-imitative "strings" are still present--and embellished by viola and electric guitar soli in the third and fourth minutes. Guitarist Jonny Beck is different from previous Sylvan guitarists--more classic rock instead of Hackett/Rothery-like. I think I like him! The second half of the song really blends well--especially the strummed acoustic guitar and vocal performance--but the multiple layers of soloing guitars is also very cool. (8.5/10)

7. "Part of Me" (9:16) melancholy solo piano opens this one--45 seconds before Marco enters. Another remarkably controlled, mature performance from the first note. Very cool section after the first verse in which multiple voices present harmonized lyrics. Viola joins in for the second verse to nice counter effect. At 4:30 an instrumental passage is suddenly joined by full bank of orchestra strings--this is great--but then pulsing electric guitar power chords enter to try to build tension beneath Marco's treated voice. The problem here is that the volume levels on Marco's voice are way too low--making it sound like he's singing from the next room over. In the seventh minute, we return to more of the form and motifs of the first two verses--though the drums and bass are more insistent, more driving. In the eight minute Marco pleads over the orchestra strings before giving way to an awesome Sylvan- esque electric guitar solo. Despite the remarkably slow pace of this song, it never feels boring or draggy--always remains interesting and engaging. A top three song for me--probably my favorite. (18/20)

8. "Worlds Apart" (3:58) hard hits of electric piano chords with eerie synth and guitar riffs support Marco's sensitive vocal until the one minute mark when Marco's brief chorus breaks into a contrasting abrasive aggression. A second round follows before Marco and female background vocals weave in a kind of rondo chorus. Nice! (8.5/10)

9. "Go Viral" (6:41) computer sequences provide techno-pop instrumental fabric and rhythm tracks until the band jumps heavily into the fold at 0:50. Cool! One of Marco's masterful semi-rap vocals ensues before the heavy chorus section over which he delivers his trademark power vocals. A powerful and inventive heavy metal instrumental passage fills the middle of the song, but the choruses continue to fill me with a slightly disappointing "I've heard this before" feeling. (8.75/10)

10. "Not a Goodbye" (10:14) Great lead guitar work in the fifth minute. Another flawless and emotional vocal performance over some perhaps less-than-sensational music. I mean: take away Marco's vocals from any and all of these songs and you have what amounts to very standard, almost ordinary heavy Neo Prog soundscapes. Add Herr Glühmann's magical instrument and you have the very real possibility of achieving something extraordinary--he's that important--and that good. My other top three song. (17.5/20)

Total Time 65:51

While I cannot say that I am displeased or disappointed with the songs collected on this album--they all follow the formulae that have made Sylvan such a dependable success over the past 20 years--I have to admit that I was hoping for more "new" and adventurous forms, sounds, and structures. What I can't complain about--something I will NEVER complain about--is the experience of being in the presence of the magical gifts of one of the best vocalists progressive rock music has ever seen; Marco Glühmann is on a whole other cloud of mastery and professionalism!

B/four stars; an excellent addition of melodic, masterful and heavy Neo Prog to any prog lover's music collection. As familiar and perhaps formulaic as it is, it's hard to dislike such well-crafted, well-engineered, and well-performed music.

Latest members reviews

4 stars A lot of anxious fans were waiting for this album in 2021. I was waiting for a few other ones by other artists and found myself quite disappointed. Definitely was familiar with Sylvan but had not collected their albums or paid a whole lot of attention to them in the past. This album was getting ... (read more)

Report this review (#2880335) | Posted by altered_beast | Saturday, February 4, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "One To Zero", an album to listen to in peace and quiet, in moments of reflection and self-care, paradoxically dealing with a story from which you would not expect such deep topics but which are treated with such a human approach that it becomes something unexpected and fundamental. So let's see ... (read more)

Report this review (#2657556) | Posted by setortos12 | Saturday, January 1, 2022 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One to Zero' is their new album which becomes the tenth of their career. It is a concept album that tells the first person story of an Artificial Intelligence. Sylvan's new album opens with 'Bit By Bit'. An up-tempo intro that evokes ambient music, but seasoned with sounds reminiscent of robots ... (read more)

Report this review (#2657549) | Posted by Maurus9 | Saturday, January 1, 2022 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Firstly I'd not listened to Sylvan before trying this album. I'd not even heard a song. I had just seen the name mentioned across the usually prog rock forums and websites and thought I should give it a go. I have to admit I often struggle with modern progressive rock and tend to lean more towa ... (read more)

Report this review (#2570826) | Posted by FredStock | Monday, June 14, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars An enigma for meI really struggled with this one. Honestly, if it wasn't sitting atop the 2021 board since its release, I probably wouldn't have given it as many listens to let it grow. Why didn't it click initially? Because there are too many little parts (see second track) that turned me off a ... (read more)

Report this review (#2570655) | Posted by Michael919 | Sunday, June 13, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars SYLVAN is releasing its 10th album 'One to Zero' on a lifelong concept of artificial intelligence in an attempt to save the world from humans. Sylvan is the Teutonic metal prog with a voice, melodies, rhythms, epic, sensitivity and a birth since 1998, neo prog between Arena and RPWL, further a l ... (read more)

Report this review (#2543652) | Posted by alainPP | Monday, May 17, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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