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SYLVAN

Neo-Prog • Germany


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Sylvan biography
SYLVAN is a German neo prog band with an emphasis on the vocals and a powerful sound driven by keys and guitar. This is prog that seems comfortable in both the neo and metal genres. With their debut album "Deliverance", the German band from Hamburg open the door to this hidden world for all of us. The music takes you onto a journey full of miracles, dreams, love, passion and fortune.

The dominant style of SYLVAN is a mix of Symphonic Progressive Rock, neo Progressive and Classical Rock including touchs of the Progressive Metal, blended together in a new and interesting way, decorated with lot of intricate keyboards and guitars sounds and grandiose musical passages in all songs. Frequently compared to group like MARILLION or IQ, SYLVAN successfully adds a new facet to Nineties neo Progressive.

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SYLVAN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SYLVAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.30 | 65 ratings
Deliverance
1999
3.18 | 63 ratings
Encounters
2000
3.85 | 149 ratings
Artificial Paradise
2002
3.61 | 100 ratings
X-Rayed
2004
4.15 | 343 ratings
Posthumous Silence
2006
3.50 | 112 ratings
Presets
2007
3.56 | 128 ratings
Force Of Gravity
2009
3.97 | 322 ratings
Sceneries
2012

SYLVAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.23 | 42 ratings
Leaving Backstage
2008

SYLVAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.57 | 48 ratings
Posthumous Silence-The Show
2008

SYLVAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SYLVAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

SYLVAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Posthumous Silence  by SYLVAN album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.15 | 343 ratings

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Posthumous Silence
Sylvan Neo-Prog

Review by MellotronGhost

4 stars Hmmm it's all been said: This is a beautiful masterpiece of an album. However, just like that other masterpiece: "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" which has one song - The Waiting Room - that you just can't listen to. This album's equivalent track is Forgotten Virtue which is just too noisy and shouty for me. If I wanted shouting I'd watch Eastenders and listen to Whitney Houston. Anyway, putting that aside, the rest of the album is truly beautiful. The album starts with dreamy synths which build to a peak that gets so loud that it disturbs the dog! It then returns to sampled news broadcasts and a classical choir. Absolutely magic. Then straight into Bequest of Tears comprising beautiful piano. I've mentioned the noisy track and out of the 15 tracks there is one other which is called In Chains and is next. It's a bit whiny but you kind of get used to it and the majority of the song is pleasant enough. There's a nice keyboard solo in the middle - brief but very pleasant. Next is Bitter Symphony, lovely guitar and keyboard chords. The next song is Pane of Truth. It's 9 minutes of melancholic piano, cello (cello always sounds sad). The voice emotion is actually more uplifting than the music - but remember - sad songs are always the most beautiful.

Next is the 2 minute No Earthly Reason: gentle tinkly piano with synth chords. Lovely. Next is Forgotten Virtue which I've already discussed. Next is The Colors Changed. Nice piano start, cello and emotional voice so it makes your hairs stand up. A Sad Sympathy follows. This starts with atmospheric synth chords - quite dreamy and then piano and vocals start. Another lovely track. The next track is Questions which is so accessible that it seems radio friendly like Kayleigh by Marillion. Next is Answer To Life which is more about guitar and drums but it is perfectly melodic - you don't always need keys for melody. Message From The Past is back to the mounful piano and synth chords. Beautiful and yet desperately sad sounding - especially when the cello solo plays. The Last Embrace follows. Strange whispering vocals and it does get a bit shouty to be honest. The album then drifts into A Kind Of Eden which starts with birdsong and some out-of-body vocals (if you can imagine that). The album ends with the title track Posthumous Silence. This comprises mournful piano and synth chords and lovely it is too.

What I haven't mentioned is that peppered throughout the album are samples of an adult male and female arguing bitterly. We know that the album story is about a father who picks up the diary of his deceased daughter who we understand has killed herself, to try and make some sense of his loss.

Hopefully someone can explain this to me: The arguments are clearly between two adults and yet there is a news broadcast that describes how a little girl is found dead in a dumpster. So what is the relationship between the girl and the arguing adults????

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 Artificial Paradise by SYLVAN album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.85 | 149 ratings

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Artificial Paradise
Sylvan Neo-Prog

Review by Roland113
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars . . . In my not so humble opinion. . .

Artificial Paradise is the third release by German neo-proggers, Sylvan. While the album sounds great, and there are some great parts to it, there are parts in between the greatness that doesn't quite grab you the way a masterpiece should.

The opening soundscape always brings a thrill to my ears, the sounds of a casino paint a perfect metaphor for the album, the search for perfect love in a world of imperfections. Lead vocalist, Marco Gluhmann's distinctive voice carries this album from the very beginning as he intones, "Desperately depressed or even deeply hopeless, this was rather simple for you." Clear and soulful, almost pleadingly he winds his way through the questioning, "Deep Inside" as he implores his muse to remember who they once were. This is the first real highlight of the album, with a strong melody and emotional, well written lyrics this song gets a full five stars.

Unfortunately, the quality of the songs kind of drop off for the next thirty-nine minutes or so. "That's Why it Hurts" and "Human Apologies" have some good moments and "Around the World" has a nice jazzy feel at times.

Yes, I just totally glossed over the middle of the album.

The good news is that the title track makes for a killer closer. We start with some of the same ambience that we heard at the beginning of the CD in a lush soundscape that builds into the song, proper. The music begins with a series of conflicting rhythms growing into an almost chaotic cacophony of noise before it suddenly resolves to a dark yet wistful avenue for Marco to once again paint the landscape of emotions. We first hear the catchy chorus here, "Different faces on the other side, in our artificial paradise, in a world full of fates and illusions, do we see them?" The song continues from there through a series of moods, growing in intensity until they reach a peak almost reminiscent of Mike Patton's ranting. Just as we get to the angry climax, the angry base drops out and we slide back into the culminating chorus, a repeat of the beginning one though full of lush keys, a female choir and a sweeping guitar solo. The effects on the choir gives it the tinge of synthesized, dovetailing beautifully with the artificial theme of the album. This song gets five stars as well.

As with all of Sylvan's work, this in an emotional album with crystal clear production and well blended music. Everyone on this album sounds good, though, no one really stands out except for Gluhmann. There aren't any individual efforts that make the album. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, just a very well balanced band. Artificial Paradise is not a perfect album, but it's a really good one with some great songs on it. The bookends, especially the title track bumps this from a mid three star rating to a four star one.

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 X-Rayed  by SYLVAN album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.61 | 100 ratings

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X-Rayed
Sylvan Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars This is the fourth album from Sylvan, but is the first that I have heard - if the others are anything like this one then I have most definitely been missing out. Here we have a band that while sitting within the progressive rock genre are one of those rare beasts, namely a band that is trying to be progressive. Each song can be a journey through different styles within itself, let alone when comparing one to another. Radiohead are an obvious influence, but there is something more melodic about Sylvan although they have the space down to a tee. It is exciting music that also is very laid back, it is music that you have to go to, music that you have to investigate and search through but the rewards are there to be heard.

The more I played this album the more excited I became about it ? there is just so much in here. Think Porcupine Tree, think IQ, even think Japan but most definitely think music that at times is quite different to anything else around. Listen to "Fearless" and one could imagine that this was the Chilli Peppers trying something different! The production is spot on, with each instrument clearly defined yet also part of an encompassing blanket of sound. When they want to rock, they can do so, but for the most part the guitars are held back. The result is one of the freshest and invigorating albums I have heard within the prog scene for some time. Progheads need to discover this.

Originally appeared in Feedback #79, June 2004

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 Artificial Paradise by SYLVAN album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.85 | 149 ratings

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Artificial Paradise
Sylvan Neo-Prog

Review by sinslice

4 stars "Different faces on the other side"

Deservedly, a while ago that Sylvan is recognized within the harsh environment of progressive rock. And so, mainly from the phenomenal Posthumous Silence. However, his first really important is this. Not as recognized as it should be, in my humble opinion.

In fact, the title track is the most daring of the group and their best suite to date. A deliberate attack on the ephemeral human society, their false hopes and egocentricity, great lyrics and excellent music composition, with reflective and other powerful sections.

Registration Glühmann voice is energetic and well used in its different facets. I also note rhythmic and imaginative guitar bass executed by Harnack. Not to mention the Söhl guitar runs, with great solos and riffs successful. Keyboards and drums accompany fine.

Deep Inside, That's Why it Hurts and Timeless Traces also stand above the rest. Although, strictly speaking, the whole album is homogeneous and has almost no waste.

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 Sceneries by SYLVAN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.97 | 322 ratings

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Sceneries
Sylvan Neo-Prog

Review by demolition man

4 stars A fabulous Neo Prog band from Germany who really do not have a weak album in their entire catalogue; a catalogue which is now becoming pretty impressive.

With Sceneries the focus, as usual, is on the vocals and Marco does not disappoint. His voice is certainly unique but I find it very appealing (despite having to read the liner notes from time to time) and it's very well suited to the overall sound that the band produce.

The guitar work is really impressive on Sceneries as is the keyboards too. The songs are finely written and the album seems to flow very nicely. This album did take several listens to fully absorb, which was something slightly different from some of the previous albums; notably Posthumous Silence and Artificial Paradise, (both absolute gems), which were instantly appealing for me. The band have obviously worked very hard to produce a piece of music that progresses their catalogue but without over-complication and without dipping their toes into a more popular direction (Presets)

I am really pleased that Sylvan have moved on from Posthumous Silence with continuing authority and greatness. Marginally I prefer Posthumous Silence but that was always going to be hard to top.

I eagerly await the next chapter from one of my favourite bands in the Neo Prog genre.

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 Sceneries by SYLVAN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.97 | 322 ratings

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Sceneries
Sylvan Neo-Prog

Review by sussexbowler

3 stars Having got Sylvan's 'Leaving backstage' (Their live album), I could hear perhaps how limited their sound and style probably were.

The band ultimately have a 'heavy' guitar sound, interspersed and led by a keyboardist! it all comes together nicely in 'Posthumous silence', but can they offer anything else?

What strikes me about 'Sceneries' is the lack of creativity. They know the formula that their fans like, but have then bled it to death on the first disc.

Imagine the climax of 'Heart of Lothian' by Marillion, and then keep repeating it, because these 'climaxes' are obviously what they're best at. It all gets a bit tiresome, to be honest.

Surprisingly, the 'creative' part comes on disc 2. Quite where the heavy 'Part three' of 'Farewell to old friends', comes from, gould only knows! It's a high point nonetheless.

There's little or no 'atmosphere' music here, and the style overall is probably closer to the band's heart if the truth be told.

There are similarities to 'Misplaced child' (again, by Marillion), although Sylvan's sound is not the same. They're both kind of 'romantic' in feel.

I'd say that it's a solid Sylvan album, but the emphasis is more on those romantic climaxes than it is on Prog.

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 Sceneries by SYLVAN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.97 | 322 ratings

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Sceneries
Sylvan Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Long disc, long review.

I have given this 2Cd release a very wide berth, as befits all long-winded albums that, too often have glittering prizes entangled with parasitic dross. At first spin strangely, I was not overtly impressed, perhaps overwhelmed by so much compact and dense material, as if one huge epic, reminiscent of Tales From Topographic Oceans' bombastic and much debated overkill. But with repeated sonic orbits, the scenery (pun!) became clearer and somehow more coalescing towards sheer, unadulterated enjoyment. Less metallic than the glorified "Posthumous Silence" due to Volker Sohl's piano and Marco Gluhmann's massive voice now being the major architects, Sceneries is without question or any hesitation on my part, Sylvan's ultimate prog masterpiece.

Firstly, the album must be listened to in one fall swoop, absorbed and understood as the platform that will consecrate Marco as modern music's most striking voice. He has grown immensely as a vocalist by incorporating a wider variety of tone and accent, sounding analogous to such legendary singers as Bono, Peter Murphy and Steve Hoggarth while still remaining the quixotic and passionate howler that he always was. I will of course refer to these aspects later in the analysis but the music now serves a foil for some intense singing of the highest order, arguably one of prog's most evident weakness and rarity . (When Greg Lake keeps winning prog vocalist polls in 2012, you know there is a problem behind the mike!)

Secondly, the piano has most evidently become the lead magical wand, serviced by Jan Petersen's more textured axe playing, as opposed to the previous dominance by Kay Sohl and the keys becoming the coloratura. After numerous comprehensive spins that suddenly make the sounds familiar, the music becomes pristine, delicate and yet powerfully expressive, loaded with a kaleidoscope of mosaic resonance that titillates with exquisite restraint. The tight rhythm section has never been questioned though the bass is not as upfront as before. Sylvan has decided to play as a Mannschaft (team) and the results are simply astounding. But the real shocker is the voice, a confident and self-assured instrument of captivating emotion that reveals a true star at work and at play. I am still bowled over.

Only multiple auditions can bloom this forest of flowers into a paradise. The more you listen to it, the more addictive it gets. Piano and voice is how they gustily forge this monster album forward, Marco trembling passionately in bluesy kind of way, highly confident yet relaxed, a sign of incredible musical maturity, similar to love-making (fear of censors, Thomas?), you learn to relax and enjoy as you mature! The instrumental breaks are fast, at times funky and soberly furious. Like the legendary Christian Décamps of Ange, Marco can actually sing and in a multitude of textures and tones to boot! Theatrical? You bet your Shakespeare or Molière! He really can yelp, plead, caress and serenade at will, a sensitive amalgam of many brilliant voices, all ensconced in a massive torrent of sound that they have mastered, cognizant technique, musical team spirit cresting at 100% and a clear vision, which for an epic album that can only be appreciated in a complete listen must label itself as a colossal rarity! Sylvan pull it off in a myriad of spades, throw in a few shovels and some toolboxes while you are at it! Bombastic, romantic and relentlessly unhurried, with multiple bombshell twists and sublime excursions that negate categorization as just "Neo-prog". At times, symphonic, folky, jazzy and then suddenly bombastic, with splashes of alternative and modern paint This is a sizzling voyage of utter prog determination, solid and unpredictable, evocative, honest and sincere. But Marco Glühmann steals the show with a vocal tour de force performance, the elegant piano the obvious "fil conducteur" , appearing as the pied-piper of musical dreams, luxuriantly bathing in a kaleidoscope of sounds, while guitarist Jan Petersen flashes some ripping dazzle when needed and even he takes his time in exploding. Strength and restraint are the words to describe the equipoise of this Hamburg-based band of brothers (even though Kay Sohl is now gone!)

This is a humongous success with absolutely no dead weight filler and mostly colossally perfect symphonic prog, with unending innovation in exploring new vistas and expressing them accordingly. That folks (volk in German) is called genius. The atmosphere goes from the utter nadir, screaming up to up to highest Everest and they do so with gusto and panache. There are numerous winks at Marbles, Marillion's epic work but Sylvan simply blows Hoggarth and crew out of the water and I am in no way referring to the rather unglorious "Sink the Bismarck" episode in early WW2 with its massive horror casualties. Sylvan doesn't get as heavy as in the past, but when they do, hold on to your sauerkraut, the guys go on a monumental tear as they elevate their craft to a completely new level. There is even a segment where Marco sounds at times like the lascivious Peter Murphy (ex-Bauhaus), it's almost scary like a Dracula-infested Halloween party! But it works brilliantly as Marco then veers the band into new, almost Floydian territory demonstrating that controlled restraint and assuredness. The symphonic orchestrations release a new steamroller riff, doomsday explosions of despair and pain with the voice pleadingly surfing on the musical crest, going under and then over once again, reigning supreme. The psychedelics kick in and the mood gets creamier, with more Pink references and a leisurely pace only serves to further engulf the listener. By the end of the second CD, the lusty rhythms have raged furiously in whirlwind splendor, raising the bar even higher by diving and soaring according to the need and want. Petersen's axe unleashes its power liberally, weaving slippery leads almost at will, enriching the angst to the nth degree. Ebb and flow, cadence and cascade, power and glory.

As so poignantly stated by lazland, if there is one 2012 album that you need to incorporate in your collection, Sceneries is the one! Rarely have I witnessed such a cavalcade of stirring melodies on one release, panacea for the soul and ear candy for the mind. An exhilarating ride! A masterpiece has arrived.

5 polyvalent panoramas

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 Artificial Paradise by SYLVAN album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.85 | 149 ratings

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Artificial Paradise
Sylvan Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Apart from the ''Encounters'' album Sylvan took part in 2000 in the Pink Floyd tribute album ''Signs of Life - A Tribute to Pink Floyd'', covering the ''High Hopes'' track from the ''Division bell'' album.With their career on a rise Sylvan moved on to the recordings of a third studio album now with a stable line-up featuring Sebastian Harnack on bass.The new work of the band was named ''Artificial Paradise'', released in 2002 on ProgRock Records and distributed in Germany by Point Music.

''Artificial Paradise'' shows another sound development by Sylvan, which are listed among the most inventive bands, whether one likes this or not.One element of their music remains solid from the very first album and these are the deep and emotional atmospheres.But their strong COLLAGE/80's MARILLION/PINK FLOYD influences are now mixed with more artistic and polished arrangements in the vein of SATELLITE, MILLENIUM or Hogarth-era MARILLION.This mix of old and new inspirations shows a strong emphasis towards elaborate arrangements, often with an orchestral touch, highly lyrical moments, atmospheric grooves, long and emotional solos and grandiose keyboard work.But there is also a very careful use of vocal distortions along with sound effects and narrations, which make Sylvan a band walking constantly and more deeply into the new Prog age.The demanding instrumental passages and solos are nicely combined with catchy grooves and metal riffing at moments to make the style of the band - if not unique - at least highly challenging.Of course, as with ''Encounters'', there are a couple of weaker songs or a few sterile parts in the longer ones but overall the material on this album is well-executed and arranged.

''Artificial Paradise'' will leave much to be desired for any fan of Classic Prog/Neo Prog.But if you are not stuck in these years, this album has plenty to offer.Grandiose musicianship, nice atmospheres and a great singer.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Sceneries by SYLVAN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.97 | 322 ratings

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Sceneries
Sylvan Neo-Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Very nice crossover prog ...

Well, if you followed the band since its inception you would find that this band has its roots on neo-progressive subgenre. But later the band changed its direction into more on crossover prog in the vein of something similar like Marillion 'Brave' eventhough this one sounds more energetic. And I think the band has tried to produce a very nice album where it consists epics with relatively long duration. I personally enjoy this album from start to end. It's strong in terms of melody as most of the vocal line that represents the melody are quite catchy and memorable. In terms of harmonies it has excellent harmonies that blends nicely all instruments in ambient mode making excellent support to vocal. There are stunning guitar and piano works throughout the epics. There is basically little complexity with moderate changes of styles and modes. As there are moderates changes in styles and modes, therefore the whole albums sounds cohesive and having good structural integrity. For me personally, this album is very nice even though not challenging in terms of complexities and dynamics. Sometimes I feel like the song has been prolonged unnecessarily. But it's OK. Keep on proggin' ...!!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Sceneries by SYLVAN album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.97 | 322 ratings

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Sceneries
Sylvan Neo-Prog

Review by steve h

5 stars I can only say that I enjoy this album. Each part can be enjoyed as a seperate song as I have found on my ipod on shuffle. Each song can be enjoyed as a whole without getting boring. There are no throw away sections which is rare for any album. I wonder if my taste in music has become a little stagnant and emotional lyrics have become my mainstay. All I can say is that this has become an easy and at times an epic listen depending on my mood. I hope that the new marillion album can achieve this standard in terms of layers and vocal performance.

This is surely where Sylvan should concentrate their creative flair. I did not enjoy artificial paradise or force of gravity but gained some insight into their potential with posthomous silence and moments of presets. I hope there will be more of this in the future.

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