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Sylvan - Encounters CD (album) cover





3.24 | 90 ratings

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4 stars I first knew the band from my neo prog colleague, Bowo, who introduced me with this album in 2000. At that time we were engaged in a progressive rock program in one of local FM radio station. The album was then featured in that program. The album comprises two tracks at the opening and one epic "Encounters" that is broken down into 10 parts / tracks. Their music is a blend of symphonic, neo prog and progressive metal with some influences of MARILLION, GENESIS, CITIZEN CAIN, IQ, and DREAM THEATER. I find this album is interesting as it has a powerful and clear voice of the band's singer Marco Glühmann, moderately complex compositions with frequent tempo changes, various mixtures of genres (including straight jazz!!) and excellent musicianship. The music is accessible by most rock listener, be it a progressive rock lovers or not. Their line-up of this album is: Marco Glühmann (vocals ), Matthias Harder (drums ), Kay Sohl (guitar) and Volker Sohl (keyboards). Guest appearance: Lars Koster (bass) and Soren Grimme (sax).

First track "No way out" is a straight rock music with some flavors of prog. This track is uplifting; it has a powerful beat and great melody. It's the kind of song that you would like to play first time in the morning. It starts with an excellent guitar work followed by upbeat music with dazzling bass line and good drumming - and powerful vocal. What I guess that you would be interested is the interlude part of this track - simple beat with exploration of guitar work and keyboard. It's really rocking!

It flows smoothly to second track "Essence of life" with theatrical vocal line backed up with piano sound. It reminds me the music of MARILLION with Hogarth voice especially on early albums after FISH was departing ("Seasons End", "Holidays in Eden") as well as CITIZEN CAIN "Somewhere But Yesterday" album. But the band also has some influence of prog met as I can smell it through the heavy use of guitar riffs. I also enjoy the symphonic music exploration in this track. It's an interesting and excellent track to enjoy. The ending part of this track is truly a neo progressive rock music especially if I observe the guitar and keyboard works combined with the singing style. I believe for those of you who love neo prog music would enjoy this track.

The epic track: "Encounters" (40:02):

It starts with third track "Overture", a very interesting neo prog overture with great and memorable keyboard sounds that create tasty melodies. I can definitely conclude that this is a neo prog music especially when the keyboard plays the solo part accompanied with neo prog rhythm in the middle of the track. The track ends up with a spacey music to continue with the next track. "About to leave" is opened with a spacey sound and soft keyboard followed by a piece of music that reminds me to MARILLION Hogarth early albums. The music flows naturally with some keyboard sounds playing orchestral music to support the voice line. The fifth track "Your source" is a moderate tempo with saxophone and some lead guitar work.

"Tremendously different" is a short instrumental part in a faster tempo with heavy guitar riffs as rhythm and stunning keyboard solo followed by electric guitar. The tempo suddenly changes to a slower one with the kind of neo prog music. It ends up with a nice piano solo and then followed by a great vocal as an intro of next track "Long ago". This track seems to be positioned by the band as an interlude of an overall story of the album. It is heavily dominated by piano at the beginning. What interesting is the addition of progressive metal guitar riffs at the end of this short track.

The 8th track "All of it" is a very uplifting track with powerful vocal line and relatively complex music; frequent tempo changes. I can see the influence of PETER GABRIEL solo work especially when the vocal line shouts in the middle of the track. I can smell also the heavy influence of IQ especially on the Martin Offord keyboard style at the end of the track. "Presentiments" opens with MARILLION-like musical piece, changing tempo from moderate to mellow at the middle of the track with a sort of Rothery guitar work.

"Would you feel better" opens with a simple guitar fills and keyboard followed with a powerful vocal in moderate tempo. There is a nice musical composition where the vocal and piano (at back ground sound) seem to go in different direction but they produce nice sound harmony. The track then moves to a faster tempo for a little bit .

"In vain" starts with simple acoustic guitar work to accompany vocal line. The singing style is superb, it reminds me to CYRUS of CITIZEN CAIN even though it's not Gabrielish at all. When the tone moves with the music and shouting vocal there is suddenly a surprise insertion of jazz music (started with the saxophone work). It's an innovative insertion because the transition is smoothly done by the band. What another surprise when at the end of jazz insertion the music suddenly moves to the higher tone of neo prog music. I think this track is the most unique one as it blends varieties of musical styles and genres composed in an excellent way that the transitions were created smoothly.

"Encounters" concludes the album with vocal and piano at intro part and followed by a neo progressive music led by electric guitar and keyboard. This track plays a role as an encore to the album.

Overall this album is enjoyable. It explores various genres: neo progressive (mostly), progressive metal (guitar riffs) and jazz (even though it happens in "In vain" track only, especially). It has nice melody and good songwriting. I recommend you to have this album. Rating 4/5. Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Gatot | 4/5 |


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