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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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HomeHome
Gentle Art Of Music 2015
Audio CD$9.91
$2.27 (used)
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Sylvan Winds Lifchitz; Dick; Folio: Startling Stories CD USD $7.20 Buy It Now 5h 23m
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Home - Sylvan (CD Used Very Good) USD $12.01 Buy It Now 2 days
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Carole Sylvan "Think" Disco Funk 45 Sound Of New York EX Listen USD $7.99 [1 bids]
3 days
The Sylvan and Oceanic Delights of Posilipo Pickett- Decca 1990 - CD - USD $5.00 Buy It Now 3 days
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RIKKI SYLVAN What's That Sound 7" B/w No Man's Land Pic Sleeve UK Kaleidoscope USD $5.58 Buy It Now 4 days
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RIKKI SYLVAN Silent Hours LP 10 Track UK Krl 1981 USD $7.65 Buy It Now 4 days
LOTUS EATERS Set Me Apart 12" PICTURE DISC EX+ UK 1984 Sylvan Records vinyl reco USD $10.71 Buy It Now 4 days
Sylvan - Leaving Backstage: Live At Kampnagel CD USD $20.69 Buy It Now 4 days
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Steve Flanagan / Sylvan ?- I've Arrived / We Don't Belong Spoke Records 7" 45 USD $10.73 Buy It Now 5 days
Sylvan Esso [LP] by Sylvan Esso (Vinyl, May-2014, PTKF) USD $13.97 Buy It Now 5 days
Home by Sylvan (CD, Feb-2015, Soulfood) USD $15.24 Buy It Now 5 days
Glass Hammer - J. Martin (CD Used Very Good) Sylvan (BAR)/Breitman (PNO) USD $9.72 Buy It Now 5 days
Sylvan Esso 5051083079495 (CD Used Very Good) USD $12.18 Buy It Now 5 days
David Sylvan Secrets Of The Beehive (Remastered) CD - Like New USD $8.96 Buy It Now 6 days
Home by Sylvan (CD, Feb-2015, Soulfood) USD $14.95 Buy It Now 6 days
Recurring Dream * by Sylvan Grey (CD, Oct-1991, Fortuna) USD $14.95 Buy It Now 6 days
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Silvertone Record Club #7 Sylvan Levin and his Orchestra Clair De Lune 78rpm USD $19.99 Buy It Now 6 days
Silvertone Record Club #11 Claramae Turner & Sylvan Levin 78rpm USD $19.99 Buy It Now 6 days
Sylvan Esso - Sylvan Esso NEW CD USD $11.54 Buy It Now 7 days
RIKKI SYLVAN Whats That Sound 7" 1981 Kaleidoscope UK new wave KBD w/sleeve USD $4.99 Buy It Now 7 days
BARRY MASON AND SYLVAN - WHEN YOU DO WHAT YOU'RE DOING - 7" VINYL 1970 MCA RARE USD $30.64 Buy It Now 7 days
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Summertime Bireli Lagrene & Sylvan Luc Audio CD USD $24.29 Buy It Now 7 days
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SYLVAN - ENCOUNTERS German neo progressive ANGULAR original USD $49.00 [0 bids]
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NEW Sylvan Esso [digipak] by Sylvan Esso CD (CD) Free P&H USD $21.48 Buy It Now 9 days
Sylvan Esso - H.s.k.t. NEW 12" USD $15.91 Buy It Now 9 days
The Sylvan Path: A Journey Through America's Forests USD $7.94 Buy It Now 9 days
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CAROLE SYLVAN think 12" VG+ SNY 4004 Disco New York Vinyl 1982 Record USD $12.00 Buy It Now 9 days
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Home, 0884860124522, Sylvan USD $22.27 Buy It Now 9 days
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Soul In Sparks Lotus Eaters UK 7" vinyl single record FS5 SYLVAN 1985 USD $15.23 Buy It Now 10 days
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Carole Sylvan Think Sound of New York 1982 SEALED 12" Record USD $7.99 Buy It Now 10 days
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Lifchitz Sylvan Winds - Startling Stories CD USD $17.19 Buy It Now 11 days
Spiral Dance - Through A Sylvan Doorway CD USD $54.59 Buy It Now 11 days
(EV883) Sylvan Esso, Coffee - 2014 DJ CD USD $3.75 Buy It Now 11 days
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SPIRAL DANCE - THROUGH A SYLVAN DOORWAY NEW CD USD $53.82 Buy It Now 11 days


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SYLVAN shows & tickets


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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)

3.31 | 75 ratings
Deliverance
1999
3.20 | 72 ratings
Encounters
2000
3.86 | 163 ratings
Artificial Paradise
2002
3.56 | 114 ratings
X-Rayed
2004
4.15 | 381 ratings
Posthumous Silence
2006
3.51 | 131 ratings
Presets
2007
3.55 | 145 ratings
Force Of Gravity
2009
3.96 | 341 ratings
Sceneries
2012
3.75 | 115 ratings
Home
2015

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

4.30 | 40 ratings
Leaving Backstage
2008

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

4.71 | 44 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
 Home by SYLVAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 115 ratings

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Home
Sylvan Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars German band SYLVAN has been around for just about a quarter of a century at the time of writing, and for the last decade or so they have been among the more popular progressive rock bands coming out of Germany, with their 2006 album "Posthumous Silence" often cited as their finest moment. "Home" is their ninth studio album, released through the German label Gentle Art of Music in 2015.

A thought that frequently struck in my mind when listening to this CD is that this specific album would be the perfect one to pull out for your wife or girlfriend if they just don't understand your fascination with progressive rock. Play it to them on a long car trip, and I suspect that those who so far have been mystified by this type of music would start comprehending it, and perhaps even start to like it themselves. Because this is an album that speaks with and to emotions as I experience it, music that speaks to the heart and the soul, with haunting emotional-laden moods aplenty. Those who find such a description alluring should give this CD a spin, especially if you tend to enjoy emotional lead vocals and music with a strong emphasis on melody in general.

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 Home by SYLVAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 115 ratings

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Home
Sylvan Neo-Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars German band Sylvan has finally stamped its name on the prog scene, having defined a particular sound that is instantaneously recognizable, in a style that finds comfort in an emotional urgency that is perhaps closer to mid-period Marillion, though lead vocalist Marco Gluhmann has a resonance and mostly a delivery that is even more unique than that of Steve Hoggarth or Queensryche's Geoff Tate. Marco wails with incredible sustain and energy, hitting all the high notes in typical German precision, though I am quite sure he has a few detractors. Sylvan also is the possessor of a classic album in the person of 2006's 'Posthumous Behavior' which has installed itself into the pantheon of prog jewels. Since that colossal release, the band has replaced its guitarist on two occasions which seems not to have affected the otherwise stable line-up. The amazing double album 'Sceneries' went somewhat unnoticed which is a sad state of affairs as it was another masterpiece in my eyes. The refined style on 'Home' is perhaps a lot mellower than Posthumous, perhaps encouraged by that controversial 'Presets' recording which I still consider to represent their ultimate opus (raked in the mud by some because it followed the big opus). With newcomer Jonathan Beck wielding his marvelous guitar in a way that doesn't challenge predecessors Jan Petersen and Kay Sohl, building endless axe fortifications that give the already emotionally charged music even more depth and volume. They have opted for a heady mix of these assets, sweeping melodies and tight delivery, as well owners of a seasoned and professional rhythm duo, both Mathias Harder and Sebastian Harnack provide great musculature to the arrangements. The spotlight does remain on the exquisite Marco Gluhmann, surely one of prog's rare quality microphone wielders. Keyboardist Volker Sohl is more of an orchestral sound sculptor, relying on walls of synthesized squalls and massive doses of elegant piano, as best exemplified by the self-titled finale.

The album starts off with some sweeping strings, almost outright classical in scope and feel, which perhaps leave a sour note in the mouths of the heavier prog aficionados who are pining for another heavy release, even though it's quite evident that the group has moved on. I prefer this more cinematic approach anyway, even if it seems to conjure images of 'plasticene porters and marmalade skies' and a more psychedelic style. Some have claimed an affiliation with Coldplay which I do not see, hear or get (lots of piano now means an infatuation with Coldplay? Really? I would have opted for Mozart, Liszt or Chopin, or even Juergen Fritz, but whatever). In fact, the devout lads have never deviated from the path taken on 'Presets' and that seems to still chagrin a few out there. It's all good, the artists are in charge of their own destiny and not the fans, come hell or high water.

Sure, mini-epics like the serene 'Shaped out of Clouds', with its uber-melancholia will grate on the metal maulers but its undeniably passionate music. Ja, grandiose, magniloquent, affected music, loaded up with 'sturm und drang' that is closer to the romantics than to the head bangers altar of worship. The ending has this odd mix of James Bond-You only Live Twice and sweeping Mike Oldfield orchestration that I happen to really enjoy. The epic 10 minute 'In Between' is straight out of the Presets catalog, closely using modernisms found on a tune like the whopping 'When the Leaves Fall Down', combining monotone verse and tiki-taki drum fills that are perhaps closer to urban rap but sandwiched between harder edges than veer closely to heavy metal, showing Marco's incredible lungs and concentration at Mach One speed. The Ronald Reagan 'Open this gate' sample is followed by some crazed rifferama which clearly goes against all the marshmallow criticism levied by the inattentive. Neither plodding nor facile, this track rocks! Ja, it has its softer moments, including some brilliant bass underpinnings, slick guitar curls and delicate piano rivulets but the angst is skin deep and ardently charged. Beck shuttles along, spitting out hot little solos that spit fire, swirling synth acrobatics in tow, escorting that devilish piano. My fascination for the grand piano has matured to the nth degree, as I really 'feel' the passion exuded by the ornate ivories.

Clearly influenced by Hoggarth-led Marillion, a series of sweet and fragile songs like 'With the Eyes of a Child', 'Black & White', 'The Sound of Her World' and 'Sleep Tight' will again repulse the hard core fans of edgier prog and I cannot blame them, as it's not exactly steamroller material. All packaged together as if some kind of mini-suite, the music is lush, luxuriant and dense, the orchestrations are undeniably huge, but I like them immensely. This is resonating music, irrefutably feminine and will enchant the fairer sexed fans (of which we need desperately more of). The scorching 'Black and White' ballad in particular is gut wrenching, explosive and I daresay, armed with a rather orgasmic guitar rant. The following track has some choir crescendos and a swift pastoral turn that is effortlessly bold and charming, featuring Marco's divine wail. My new lady friend looked at me with melancholy eyes that almost made me blush, I was almost at a loss to admit such overt sentimentality, instantly erased by a celestial osculation (kiss, for you simpletons) that made me tremble with inner delight. 'The Sound of Her World' will please her and then she will please you. The cavernous and volatile 'Sleep Tight' seeks to ratchet up the tension to boiling point and get the body tremors going, Beck's guitar raunchily pushing forward like some panzer spearhead smashing through paltry defenses. The ending is pure 'mashed potato schmaltz' as early Bryan Ferry would state for the record.

Things get highly romantic with a two-pronged assault on febrile feelings with first the brief and volcanic 'Off her Hands' showing a crushing tendency to delicacy, a near lullaby, something a gentler IQ could come up with to woo the softer hearts, a delightful little rant that sets the table for a breathtaking segue. A colossal song like the melodramatic 'Shine' is quite illustrative of this collision of emotionally charged bellowing with cracking rock foundations and it finds itself cherried by an awesome axe solo to instill a coup de grace of whopping proportions. An easy progressive rock mega-hit, on par with the immense 'Chains' or even early urgent U2 when Bono was actually and credibly stunning , this is a thoroughly enjoyable high point to a rich and exalting album of really, really good songs.

This burgeoning heavier side is followed up by two harder-tinged rants that sort of bleed into each other, the quixotic and mercilessly tough 'Point of No Return' is first in line, a nasty undercurrent straight from the very onset leads to a binary guitar thrash, pummeled by some bulldozer drumming and howling vocals, all ensconced in a glorious melody and a thrilling variety of cinematographic sceneries that add power and punch, recalling the great epic moments of their huge classic album. 'All These Years' shows quirky tendencies, profound insanity and aggressive despondency, as the shrieking chainsaw guitar screeches in the foreground, Marco wailing like some bunkered madman, delirious and suicidal. The massed orchestrations are almost Wagnerian in intensity, as the singer now showcasing a high pitched lament, violin sweetness/bitterness crawling alongside, forlorn piano stating a sad 'auf wiedersehen'.

The title track serves to encompass all the previous emotions, closing the parenthesis that began with the first two tracks, infusing a return of the entrancing 'Shine' chorus and that 'You Only Live Twice' 'like melody that enhances the entire audition to unreachable heights of enjoyment.

Sensual, sexy and sensory are traits not necessarily associated with Teutonic efficiency but let me tell you, this is HOT music, almost carnal and utterly exhausting. I may choose to agree that nearly 80 minutes is perhaps too long but what woman would not want an hour and 20 minutes of good, dedicated and unselfish love making? Hmm, you may have a point, Don Juan Romeo Casanova! If you want to enjoy the manly, macho and angry Sylvan, 'Posthumous Silence' is always going to be there for you to relish and 'boys will be boys will be boy-oy-oys'. But when the lovely ladies enter the playground to see what all the fuss is about, all stitched up and hungry for love, this will get their passionate juices flowing (figure of speech of course!).

5 Love nests

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 Home by SYLVAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 115 ratings

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Home
Sylvan Neo-Prog

Review by javajeff

5 stars I am glad that I put this in the car and have been listening to it in a heavy rotation, because it is a stunning album. My first listen was lukewarm, but now it could very well be my favorite. Only time will tell if I like it more than Posthumous Silence, but I will say it has become my second favorite from this band. If you are a Sylvan fan, this is a must buy. You may have to give this one a chance with some extended listens, but it will be worth it. If you have never heard any album from this band, then this is a great place to start. Between the new Beardfish, Steven Wilson, and this album coming out in 2015, this has become an excellent year so early on.

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 Home by SYLVAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 115 ratings

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Home
Sylvan Neo-Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

3 stars Sylvan are back with another concept album about the search for something we call "Home". This is the 8th studio album by a band that has been described Neo Prog, but don't let that tag fool you. The cd starts with quiet songs where the music is supporting the vocals. The band still got their love for classical arrangements and melancholic moments that has been well represented in the album "Posthumous Silence". Once again, we can find plenty of vocals/piano parts with some more upbeat and heavier parts where the guitar take a more dominant role. Many songs starts slowly and are build up into a crescendo at some point. The band spice up their delicate symphonic style with some heavy sections close to metal, but it's never too long that they get back to their main style. The album contains many highlights songs such as "In Between", "Shine" and "The Sound of her World", and my favorite was "Black and White" for the emotion level and the short original ending which looks like we're hearing the sound of a xylophone. If you like atmospheric prog rock with emphasis on good melodies and sweeping vocals, you'll have a good time listening to this one. I enjoyed the album like every Sylvan's releases, but i got a bit exhausted of listening to this 80 minutes album that put me in a mood where i am not sure i want to be.

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 Home by SYLVAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 115 ratings

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Home
Sylvan Neo-Prog

Review by numbnuts

4 stars I am sitting at home (sorry I couldn't resist it!) listening to this album for the third time in succession. In my opinion this is right up there with all the other albums of this great band. Beautiful harmonies and melodies and instantly recognisable as Sylvan characterised by Marco's superb and haunting voice. I can't see the point of pigeon holing bands into prog sub genres so I won't try. If you are a genuine Sylvan fan I will be amazed if you don't like this album. Yes there are some repetitive bits but so what - I can sing along to them! Better give it a rest now as my wife is getting a bit fed up of me blasting the house! Great band, great album and has uplifted my day.

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 Home by SYLVAN album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.75 | 115 ratings

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Home
Sylvan Neo-Prog

Review by aapatsos
Special Collaborator Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams

2 stars In their ninth release, Sylvan tackle the concept of "Home", in the context of an ever-changing, fast-paced world with few anchorpoints. According to their own words, it is a story about the search for "Home" through personal memories, experiences, fears, doubts etc.

Musically, there is a lot of similarity to what I know Sylvan represent: melodic, often low-tempo, easy listening progressive rock with strong references to late Marillion. Whatever connection there is to Neo-prog is not very easy to discern (at least nowadays), since their sound is polished and tuned more to radio-friendly rock music. It can be even argued that their new release can be almost in its entirety streamed in commercial radio programmes.

What does it sound like? Well, a bit of a mixed bag. There are almost 80 minutes of music, strongly focused on the above concept and overwhelming, excessive balladry. That on its own is not per se a bad thing if the melodies are strong enough to warrant 80 minutes of music; but they aren't. The trademark strong melodies of Sylvan can be found in the opening "Not Far from the Sky", "Off her Hands" and "Shine" (the album's single and perhaps best song), but the rest appears to float among simple, indifferent tunes. Volker Soehl's keyboards are the basis of most compositions and Marco Gluehmann's vocals sound a bit weaker to my ears since 10 years ago, but still generally delivering the goods. It is the duration of, and repetition in, songs like "In Between" and "The Sound of Her World" that make me skip them. The Porcupine Tree- or Riverside-like heavy passages of songs like "Sleep Tight", "Shine" and "Point of No Return" provide a glimpse of hope towards the latter part of the album but they are not enough to save it from mediocrity.

Those keen on Anathema's post-2000 turn (see e.g. "All These Years") and melodic crossover prog will probably fing much to enjoy in this release. Strong is also the more commercial, Coldplay-type feeling, which, combined with strong emotional aspects may satisfy Sylvan fans. I can see good intentions in this release, but unfortunately not much "depth", resulting in what I see as a common proposition. It is unlikely this will play on my decks apart from a few tracks; 2.5 stars.

Thanks to Freeman Promotions for the promo.

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 X-Rayed  by SYLVAN album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.56 | 114 ratings

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X-Rayed
Sylvan Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars In 2004 Sylvan return with their fourth studio release, ''X-Rayed'', released again on the Point label.This was some sort of a semi-concept album, not actually a story unfolding with each track, but rather a collection of songs with a central theme, refering to the inner world of different human beings, as these are revealed via ''x-rays''.

Different individuals means sound and mood changes throughout the darker of all Sylvan releases thus far, the atmospheric depth of the album seems like it demanded a turn towards of more PINK FLOYD-ian musical background with more downtempo songs and occasional bombastic moments popping up throughout the album, but all these echoes have passed through the Sylvan prisma, modern production, addition of contemporary elements like sound effects, distortions and slight electronic touches and a a rougher edge in the guitar riffs.The basis of the music still remains an artistic Neo Prog, now showered by the sporadic metallic edges, and they even seem to flirt with the PORCUPINE TREE stylings of Heavy Prog, Ambient and raw Rock blends.But then again you will find this unmistakable, cathartic electric solos akin to standard Neo Prog, while the keyboards' role remains somewhere between providing orchestral vibes and delivering either angular or melodic echoes depending on the piece.Gluehmann definitely belongs among the best singers of the genre, this display of changing moods was the best test for him to come up as a real standout among prog vocalists.

Again a Sylvan album, which can only be compared to the works of Satellite.While not belonging among the ultimate classics of the genre, it manages to keep a surprising consistency throughout, while passing through a wide range of feelings and moods.Strongly recommended, this is very fine modern Neo Prog, that doesn't say goodbye to Prog Rock's roots...3.5 stars.

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 Posthumous Silence  by SYLVAN album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.15 | 381 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
3.86 | 163 ratings

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Artificial Paradise
Sylvan Neo-Prog

Review by Roland113
Special Collaborator Neo-Prog and Crossover Teams

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
3.56 | 114 ratings

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X-Rayed
Sylvan Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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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