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Sylvan - Encounters CD (album) cover





3.24 | 90 ratings

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2 stars When I discovered the band in the late 2004, I was really charmed. I had of course to fill a huge gap in my prog addiction. I have to admit that the more I listen to these early recordings, the more I have difficulties in justifying some brilliantness and most of all, originality.

"No Way Out" and "Essence Of Life" are almost hard-rock numbers. Of course, the latter will feature some nice prog moments but basically it sounds heavy and tasteless. Only the last three minutes are of interest. Good off-beat instrumentals (somewhat reminiscent of "Watcher" - once more).

Then, we enter within what's supposed to be an epic track (divided into several short- pieces, like it is the case most of the time). The "Overture" does not really kicks me out. You might have expected passion, harmony or truely bombastic opening. But I'm afraid that we won't get anything like that. Just basic music. Like in the next number "About To Leave" : a rather flat song.

This album is typically the one that might sound catchy at first sight. But the more you listen to it, the more bored you get. Some songs aren't that bad, but it seriously lacks in good ones. I know that concept albums try to be a work for itself but still, if we compare to the greatest of the genre (to which this album does not belong) this one is waaaaay too short of. The worst being achieved inthe instrumental "Tremendously Different". This is not really a good title for this very poor instrumental number. When you choose such a title for a song, you'd better produce a great one. It wiull only be saved by a great guitar break in the finale (about thirty seconds).

Time will flow slowly when you listen to this album. "Lond Ago" will not convert me in an addict of this work (on the contrary). Completely out of structure, and far too heavy. I have the impression at times to listen to sub-par Sabbath !

The more I listen to this album, the less I can feel any prog flavour to it. No harmony, no feeling, no flamboyant passages. Just repetitive and dull music. "Presentiments" will try to revert to the (neo) prog genre. A bit bombastic, I must admit.

If only Sylvan could have hold the same quality all the way through this album, I might have been more indulgent towards this album. Fortunately, their lead singer (Marco Glühmann) is rather good in his vocal parts. He saves this work from being really miserable. "Would You Feel Better" might be the more pleasant track : it features a good guitar solo and Marco sounds a bit more concerned with his vocal role.

It seems that when the end is nearer, Sylvan becomes more poetic and finally a bit more creative. It might sound a bit strange that the jazzy mood of "In Vain" could have appealed to me. There is a very nice guitar solo, and most of the song is very powerful. It is also one of the few (the only one ?) to have a complex architecture with lots of theme variations. I guess, this is finally a great prog song. But it is the last song before the finale.

This album is really short of interesting moments. Emotion and passion are next door. With the execption of some very brief instants (but really scarse), it does not fulfill my expectations at all. If you try and listen to "Encounters" frequently (which I do not recommend) you might feel like I do. Meaning, rather disappointed.

Two stars because there are almost no blunder but where the hell can I find a true great song here (except "In Vain" which might highlight a great sense of humour by the band, but I doubt they did it on purpose). The closing number is a very nice and harmonious number as well. At last !

ZowieZiggy | 2/5 |


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