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Sylvan

 

Neo-Prog

3.79 | 174 ratings

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aapatsos
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
2 stars In their ninth release, Sylvan tackle the concept of "Home", in the context of an ever-changing, fast-paced world with few anchorpoints. According to their own words, it is a story about the search for "Home" through personal memories, experiences, fears, doubts etc.

Musically, there is a lot of similarity to what I know Sylvan represent: melodic, often low-tempo, easy listening progressive rock with strong references to late Marillion. Whatever connection there is to Neo-prog is not very easy to discern (at least nowadays), since their sound is polished and tuned more to radio-friendly rock music. It can be even argued that their new release can be almost in its entirety streamed in commercial radio programmes.

What does it sound like? Well, a bit of a mixed bag. There are almost 80 minutes of music, strongly focused on the above concept and overwhelming, excessive balladry. That on its own is not per se a bad thing if the melodies are strong enough to warrant 80 minutes of music; but they aren't. The trademark strong melodies of Sylvan can be found in the opening "Not Far from the Sky", "Off her Hands" and "Shine" (the album's single and perhaps best song), but the rest appears to float among simple, indifferent tunes. Volker Soehl's keyboards are the basis of most compositions and Marco Gluehmann's vocals sound a bit weaker to my ears since 10 years ago, but still generally delivering the goods. It is the duration of, and repetition in, songs like "In Between" and "The Sound of Her World" that make me skip them. The Porcupine Tree- or Riverside-like heavy passages of songs like "Sleep Tight", "Shine" and "Point of No Return" provide a glimpse of hope towards the latter part of the album but they are not enough to save it from mediocrity.

Those keen on Anathema's post-2000 turn (see e.g. "All These Years") and melodic crossover prog will probably fing much to enjoy in this release. Strong is also the more commercial, Coldplay-type feeling, which, combined with strong emotional aspects may satisfy Sylvan fans. I can see good intentions in this release, but unfortunately not much "depth", resulting in what I see as a common proposition. It is unlikely this will play on my decks apart from a few tracks; 2.5 stars.

Thanks to Freeman Promotions for the promo.

aapatsos | 2/5 |

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