Monday, August 04, 2014

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Review: Sylvium - The Gift Of Anxiety (2013)


Information:
Artist: Sylvium
Album: The Gift Of Anxiety
Release date: September 13, 2013
Label: Freia Music

Tracklist:

1. Disposable - 6'31
2. Surround - 6'58
3. Falling - 6'34
4. Ominous - 7'10
5. Heaven - 6'30
6. Weathering - 7'54
Running time: 41:37

Production details: No info/promo copy

Packaging details: No info/promo copy

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Review by Diego Camargo       Rating: 

Thoughts: Sylvium is a band that hails from the Netherlands with a sound proposal that makes it very hard to categorize. Progressive Rock? Yes! But with a feet in each sub-genre within Prog, though they are somewhat categorized as Heavy Prog.

The band was formed in 2010 by Ben Van Gastel (guitars and keyboards) but Sylvium only saw its formation complete in 2013 when Gijs Koopman (bass), Greg Geustsen (drums) and Richard De Geest (vocals and guitars) were added to the band.

The Gift Of Anxiety (2013) was released almost a year ago, last September, by Freia Music and it is the first proper album of the band (they also have an EP called Purified that was released in 2012). The album was a hard listening for me, Sylvium’s musical roots are far away from my favorites…

The opening track is an instrumental (as it is 75% of the album) called ‘Disposable’ and despite the great bass lines from Gijs (moreover, he’s the spotlight of the album) it is a track that doesn’t really go anywhere. It's an instrumental track that seems to have been written with vocal melodies in mind but the vocals were never recorded.
The second track ‘Surround’ despite being way more interesting than the first one and with good vocals by Richard is too much Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson, which for me doesn’t work and doesn’t mean anything.

The next track ‘Falling’ is heavier and more cadenced. In the next songs the album goes down in an instrumental path which is not that interesting. ‘Ominous’ is climatic in an Ambient line and ‘Heaven’ is full of space and gaps.
The last track ‘Weathering’ is basically the continuation of ‘Heaven’ and it’s here that we see how much Sylvium’s music would benefit from more vocals.
But in the end these three last tracks seem to have giant holes in them, which in my opinion are the missing vocals because they give me this impression that they were written with the aim of incorporating vocals ended up without any. And because of that this instrumental tracks sound hollow and lifeless.

The Gift Of Anxiety (2013) certainly has numerous interesting moments and the ones that like their Prog Rock calm will enjoy it for sure. For me the band betting on instrumental themes most of the time didn’t work, the album in general feels as if they’re missing something.
Now, one thing should be mentioned here, the bass player Gijs Koopman shines throughout the album playing interesting lines and with a great sound, he’s a musician to pay attention to.

I hope that Sylvium will work out for the next album with more vocals and try to get a kind of unity for their music.
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Listen to Sylvium on our Podcast #31 HERE.

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