Sensory [Release date 27.01.14]
An interesting new band. In The Silence, hailing from Sacremento, California, have released their first full-length album of dark, doom, prog crossover material. ‘A Dream Gone Mad’ is an album of two halves in many ways. Not in the Side 1 and Side 2 sense of a platter of shiny black vinyl, as in the good old days. More a case of ‘in the red corner’ and ‘in the blue corner’.
Lining up on one side is an armoury of chunky, dirty riffage, thunderous metallic rhythms and power-fuelled drums. Whilst opposite we have proggy, John Wetton-influenced vocals, laced with soaring melodies, synth strings, acoustic guitar and all the quiet moments needed to provide space and counterpoint.
The resultant musical meld in the middle of the ring more or less works. The overall sound seems to be pitched somewhere near Paradise Lost’s mighty benchmark, ‘Draconian Times’. Though this collection cannot approach those lofty heights, there is enough here to suggest promise and potential.
Album opener, ‘Ever Closer’, is typical of most of the tracks here in the way it blends hard and heavy with soft and tender. ‘17 Shades’ follows a similar trajectory of carefully layered and deliberate vocals building over acoustic guitar to that gives way to powerchord passages and often distinctly metal influenced solos.
By the time ‘Serenity’ limbers up, there is a pattern emerging: measured delivery and (maybe a little too telegraphed) dramatic interludes between some properly wonderful passages. There is a slap of spitting guitar chug that would be more at home on an Anthrax collection and thrilling solo, very heavy on the wah wah pedal.
There is a serious effort to sound epic, ominous and brooding. Particularly in Josh Burke’s vocal delivery. But the band don’t always get this right. It’s a fine balance and ‘Beneath These Falling Leaves’ and ‘All The Pieces’ have the life very nearly squeezed out of them by vocals that are too monotone, slow paced and ponderous. But when Josh gets it right, as on the album closer, ‘Your reward’ the miserable introspection doesn’t drag but uplifts. Now there’s a contradiction!
In The Silence are obviously technical competent and the album has a clean, polished sound too. A bit more sophistication and variation in the song writing department and this lot can do well.
Review by Dave Atkinson
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