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Sylvan - Presets CD (album) cover





3.52 | 168 ratings

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5 stars I consider myself a devoted fan and never considered the negativity and the pompousness of ever claiming to be a critic, hence I rarely blast an album because I try to choose and to purchase judiciously. I have also noticed that most critics do not appreciate a favorite band who records a vastly "different" sounding follow up, as if experimentation is sacrilege. That is what makes it truly progressive, for crying out loud! We are asked the privilege of being open minded and accept the creativity for what it is and not for what it should be. Case in point is this remarkable new offering from Sylvan who released a well-received and highly successful album "Posthumous Silence" last year that catered to the heavier metal-tinged prog crowd. Yeah! "In Chains" is great track and the disc is chock full of moody histrionics that crunch, growl, whisper and tease. No doubt a great chapter in their career, yet speedily in prog terms, a year went by and they dropped "Presets". Expecting a sequel, wot ? Sorry, meine Herren, we have a surprise! I approached this wearily , fearing an even more metallic second chapter but the exact opposite overcame my anxiety, what an amazing record , smooth as silk, very atmospheric (right down my alley) and unabashedly melodic to the extreme of being almost Poppy-Prog (a dreamy-commercial form of Prog) with overtly anthemic hooks , hummable choruses and catchy arrangements. Yes, vocalist Marco Gluhmann shows his ability to belt out Bono style rave ups on the brilliant opener "One Step Beyond" as well as on "For One Day", "Former Life" and "Signed Away" (which is how U2 would sound in a proggier environment), even daring to delve into his best Midge Ure imitation when leading Ultravox on their wonderful "Rage in Eden" album. (Both U2 and Ultravox were the most progressive units from the New Wave era). With" When the Leaves Fall Down", Sylvan highlights the growing (Al Gore inspired-marketed?) concern for our beleaguered planet and the dreadful pounding that it must endure, by plaintively expressing the pain. The final epic 12 minute track could have been included on IQ's stellar "Dark Matter", arguably one of recent Prog's shiniest monuments, with Marco's finest Peter Nicholls rendition. No, "Presets" is not original or earth shattering but it definitely is a daring and bold move on the part of a highly confident unit that is slowly aiming for the stars. I have been humming absent mindedly at least 5 melodies from this record on a daily basis and I can't shake it off, even by listening to Isotope's "Illusion" or the new Seven Reizh opus "Samsara", trying to stop howling publicly! Mission Impossible, love this record and so will you, as long as you don't fall into the senseless comparison monolithic mind trap. 5 umbrellas
tszirmay | 5/5 |


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