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SYLVIUM

Heavy Prog • Netherlands


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Sylvium biography
SYLVIUM is a Dutch progressive rock band which was started by guitarist/composer Ben van GASTEL, and whose roots can be traced back to the year 2000, when he wrote the basis for an EP entitled Teardrop From A Leaf made up of instrumental music with alternating rock, jazz and ambient passages. However, Ben decided that he needed to develop himself as a musician and refine the music further, so the band SYLVIUM itself wasn't formed until ten years later in 2010, when Ben teamed up with bass, keyboard and drum player Fred BOKS. His passion is to create music of uncompromising character, but which is still accessible to a broader audience. On every SYLVIUM album Ben van GASTEL intends to work with different musicians, and to explore a variety of music genres.

The band's first self-produced album, ''Purified'' is an instrumental concept album containing three tracks that provide over 21 minutes of fine progressive ambient-orientated music. Ben prefers not to be limited by the labels that many people try to attach to the various styles of music, aiming instead for versatility, and in this debut EP you can indeed hear snatches of just about everything - ranging from progressive metal with ambient passages, through psychedelic and symphonic prog, to classical and even jazz.

The album's 'concept' is an attempt to answer, without words, the question of how far a man can go in his belief, and how the world responds - and the music itself combines the inventive and versatile character of Steven WILSON with the heavy guitar-oriented sound of OSI, and the sensitive and compelling tone of ANATHEMA.

Sylvium were actually the first band to volunteer in early April 2012 for the DUTCH EXPOSURE PROJECT, an initiative by independent progressive rock label FREIA MUSIC, the purpose of which was to give a new impulse to progressive rock in the Netherlands. The Dutch Exposure Project was a band battle for relatively unknown but talented progressive rock bands who had no record deal, and which was eventually won by PROFUNA OCEAN.

Sylvium's follow up, and first full length album, is to be called ''The Gift Of Anxiety'', and will be released on 13th September 2013 on the FREIA Music label.

Founding member Ben van GASTEL (guitars/ keyboards) has teamed up for this album with Gijs KOOPMAN (ULYSSES, ex- KNIGHT AREA, CLIFFHANGER) on bass guitar, Greg GUERTSEN on drums, and Jan Roel KOPPEN on piano, a line-up which will also be used for live performance...
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The Gift Of AnxientyThe Gift Of Anxienty
Import
Freia Music
Audio CD$16.56

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SYLVIUM discography


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

3.42 | 14 ratings
The Gift Of Anxiety
2013

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

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

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

3.22 | 4 ratings
Purified
2012

SYLVIUM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Gift Of Anxiety by SYLVIUM album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.42 | 14 ratings

BUY
The Gift Of Anxiety
Sylvium Heavy Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

3 stars Sylvium is a band that hails from the Netherlands with a sound proposal that makes it very hard to categorize. Progressive Rock? Yes! But with a feet in each sub-genre within Prog, though they are somewhat categorized as Heavy Prog.

The band was formed in 2010 by Ben Van Gastel (guitars and keyboards) but Sylvium only saw its formation complete in 2013 when Gijs Koopman (bass), Greg Geustsen (drums) and Richard De Geest (vocals and guitars) were added to the band.

The Gift Of Anxiety (2013) was released almost a year ago, last September, by Freia Music and it is the first proper album of the band (they also have an EP called Purified that was released in 2012). The album was a hard listening for me, Sylvium's musical roots are far away from my favorites?

The opening track is an instrumental (as it is 75% of the album) called 'Disposable' and despite the great bass lines from Gijs (moreover, he's the spotlight of the album) it is a track that doesn't really go anywhere. It's an instrumental track that seems to have been written with vocal melodies in mind but the vocals were never recorded. The second track 'Surround' despite being way more interesting than the first one and with good vocals by Richard is too much Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson, which for me doesn't work and doesn't mean anything.

The next track 'Falling' is heavier and more cadenced. In the next songs the album goes down in an instrumental path which is not that interesting. 'Ominous' is climatic in an Ambient line and 'Heaven' is full of space and gaps. The last track 'Weathering' is basically the continuation of 'Heaven' and it's here that we see how much Sylvium's music would benefit from more vocals. But in the end these three last tracks seem to have giant holes in them, which in my opinion are the missing vocals because they give me this impression that they were written with the aim of incorporating vocals ended up without any. And because of that this instrumental tracks sound hollow and lifeless.

The Gift Of Anxiety (2013) certainly has numerous interesting moments and the ones that like their Prog Rock calm will enjoy it for sure. For me the band betting on instrumental themes most of the time didn't work, the album in general feels as if they're missing something. Now, one thing should be mentioned here, the bass player Gijs Koopman shines throughout the album playing interesting lines and with a great sound, he's a musician to pay attention to.

I hope that Sylvium will work out for the next album with more vocals and try to get a kind of unity for their music.

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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 Purified by SYLVIUM album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
3.22 | 4 ratings

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Purified
Sylvium Heavy Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Dutch guitarist Ben van Gastel is the main figure behind this project, started in 2010 in Bussum.Under his leadership and with the help of his first bandmate Fred Boks, who played bass, drums and keyboards, he composed and recorded a 3-track EP, entitled ''Purified'' to give the public a first taste of Sylvium's sound.This short CD was self-published in early 2012.

Pretty close to compatriots CASUAL SILENCE and with a vibe from Americans VISUAL CLIFF, the duo played an emphatic and modern-sounding Heavy Prog with some great guitar work and a few symphonic ambiances placed between the more powerful moments.The music is all instrumental, only a few sporadic spoken parts appear actually during the second track, with excellent, atmospheric grooves and angular lead guitars, accompanied by spacey, orchestral keyboards and a solid rhythm section.Echoes of contemporary Prog with the use of some sound effects and loops are also in the menu, while the more synth-drenched parts have a discreet Neo Prog vibe.Melody is not absent either, especially during the dreamy closing moments of the last and longest track, and a good balance has been kept throughout a fresh Heavy Prog album with some very nice guitar parts.

''Purified'' is far from essential, mainly because of its short length time, but anyone willing to get in touch with Sylvium's early inspiration will be delighted to face some well-crafted and basically guitar-driven Heavy Prog with strong atmospheric doses.Recommended.

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