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Silent Lapse - Birthright CD (album) cover


Silent Lapse


Progressive Metal

3.04 | 8 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I think I first heard of this band from one of the "Free legal prog releases" thread. I downloaded their album, listened to it once, and pretty much dismissed it as the kind of bland, generic progressive metal that uninteresting, generic Dream Theater clones would churn out.

Honestly, I don't know what I was thinking.

After listening to the album a few more times, buying the CD and listening a few more times, I have to conclude that my initial evaluation of this band was entirely incorrect. It's true, I don't think this music will reach out and grab you from the first listen, but if you give it time this album will reveal itself to be one of the more sophisticated independent releases I've heard in a while. What we have here is a very riff-heavy sort of progressive metal, but I really want to emphasize that that doesn't mean it's repetitive. There's a lot of dynamism here; a lot of soft-heavy switching, and in general it works pretty darn well.

"A New Melody" kicks off the CD. It begins with an unaccompanied synth chord, before some drums are added and almost immediately the song hits its first riff hard and fast. However, this is merely a bit of misdirection, as the song drops down to a much quieter register as the vocals are introduced. This is a good song, and it gives a good indication of what the album is going to be like, however, it's far from the best of the album.

"Beyond the Gardens" begins with an acoustic section that reminds me of some of Opeth's softer moments, but develops a lot more towards the end, with very heavy section and some nice orchestration.

"Reach" is where I think the album really hits its stride. Despite being a mere three and a half minutes long, it has an incredible amount of depth to it and makes itself seem longer in the best possible way. There's a lot of varying of the motifs, but the song has very good flow, which is critical on such a short track to avoid sounding disjointed. Additionally, the main guitar line of the song that is used multiple times is one of the best melodies on the album, in my opinion.

"Final Error" is another great song, and another track where I can hear shades of Opeth, especially in the chorus and the way the riffs are composed. Some really excellent guitar work on this track, but I think there was a slight misstep in choosing to put a spoken word section in the middle of the song. I understand that the band is trying to get at a concept here, but it sounds a tad contrived and quite honestly I'm just a big fan of the technique. There's also a finale section to the song that just feels a little bit tacked on, and overall I think this is one of the weaker songs on the album from a songwriting standpoint.

However, its successor "The Wake" more than makes up for it. "The Wake" is hands down the proggiest track on the album up until this point, and I think "tour de force" is an extremely appropriate descriptor of this song. It's also the first song on the album that I think the vocals really mesh with (more on that later). Stellar, and one of if not the best song on the album.

"Solitude" pulls back a bit, but from an album pacing perspective that's perfect. After the craziness of "The Wake," "Solitude" begins with a classical-guitar style intro, and stays as a mostly acoustic track until about halfway through, when the distorted guitars kick in. However, in what I would consider a stroke of compositional genius, the same theme is repeated. It's a brilliant transformation that gives the slower acoustic section in the beginning of the song an almost power-metal makeover. Despite being about the same length as "The Wake," "Solitude" is a much simpler song, but the songwriting here is just as good.

"Deliberation" isn't much more than a short orchestral interlude before the crashing opening chords of "Seed of Hope" let us know that the epic of the album is starting. The longest track on the album certainly does not disappoint, as it's about on par with "The Wake," which is a pretty good place to be. It's also hands down the best vocal performance of the album.

The album concludes with the title track, which starts off slow but soon delivers a really excellent guitar solo. Certain elements of the track remind me of the ending of Dream Theater's "Scenes from a Memory," but it certainly doesn't feel plagiarized like a lot of modern prog-metal can tend to.

A brief word in general about the vocals. Despite my comparisons to Opeth, there are no harsh or "growled" vocals here. The vocalist on this album tends to sing in a much lower register than a lot of metal singers, and in my opinion his tone is kind of flat, not pitch-wise but in terms of how he actually delivers the vocals. One some tracks I feel this works very well. On "The Wake," and "Seed of Hope," for example, this style really gives the music a kind of gravitas that it would not otherwise have. On other tracks, however, especially on "A New Melody," this kind of flat delivery doesn't quite work for me. So the vocals here are a mixed bag.

On the whole, "Birthright" is a good album that shows a lot of promise. While it doesn't have the melodic hooks to pull the listener in on the first spin, it has a lot of depth to it and I would highly recommend anyone reading to check it out. It's a bit inconsistent at times, but I sincerely hope this band keeps recording because this album shows a ton of potential.

3.5/5, rounded up.

VanVanVan | 4/5 |


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