Inside Out [Release date 26.05.17]
‘Bride Said No’ is the second part of Nad Sylvan’s ‘vampirate’ trilogy and a follow-up to 2015′s ‘Courting The Widow’. Nad Sylvan is best known for fronting Steve Hackett’s band, who guests on this album, along with a whole host of top draw prog musicians including Roine Stolt, Guthrie Govan (Asia/Steve Wilson), Tony Levin, Jonas Reingold, Nick D’Virgilio and former Jethro Tull drummer Doane Perry. An impressive list and they all do their part to create an album what lovers of 70′s flavoured progressive rock will love.
After a short intro piece ‘The Quartermaster’ starts the album off and this has already been released on YouTube and streaming services as the lead track (a single as it would have been back in the day).
Nad Sylvan answers a few Q’s about his music and touring with Steve Hackett…
Have you been pleased with the reaction from fans and reviewers to the ‘Courting the Widow’ album?
Oh yes! I have noticed the massively positive response over at Amazon.com, quite overwhelming really. The fans seem to have taken it to their hearts and in general reviewers have too.
‘The Bride Said No’ has many wonderful music moments including ‘When the Music Dies’, which really highlight your vocal range. Do you like songs that test/push your singing and how do you keep your voice in such good shape?
Thank you. Funnily enough, that song isn´t hard for me to sing at all. Falsetto has always been one of my fortes. It´s more challenging to use your head voice and sing really high, which in this case I am not.
My voice is of course my main instrument, and so when I became a full time professional artist – it was time for me to take a look at what could possibly improve my singing.
I stopped smoking cigarettes in June 2013 (although I was a very light smoker, perhaps 3-4 per day) but then I started vaping instead, which maybe wasn´t the most clever thing to do, so I gave that up completely in March last year. Being on the road for months actually has been very beneficial for my voice, it gets stronger that way.
So I guess I must be doing something right.
On the ‘Bride Said No’ you have an A-Z of prog rock greats guesting including Tony Levin, Roine Stolt, Guthrie Govan, Steve Hackett et al. Do you approach them first with the song/music you have in mind for them to play?
When I hear where the song is going during the writing/arrangement/recording process, I tend to hear in my mind who could play what. I guess I´m just lucky in that sense.
The vampirate is a trilogy and when you started to write these songs did you have the story and its ending mapped out? Or is the this album and its storyline still to be written/finalised?
No I didn´t. I´m still writing that story.
The music and lyrical ideas lend themselves to a theatrical production. Would this be something you would maybe consider a one-off show to put the music on stage?
I don´t see the point in doing a “one off show” with something as lush as I might be able to present. I´d rather go on tour with it when time and money permits.
How has the recent Steve Hackett tour been? What was it like playing at some landmark venues like the London Palladium?
It has been the most successful tour for all of us. Sold out shows basically everywhere and the band has never happier, at least with my inclusion in it.
The London Palladium was a perfect venue to end this very long tour that we started in February (with the short breaks in between the US, Europe and the UK). We were so into it, just like the audience and it just struck me how privileged I am to be a pasrt of it all. It was a fabulous night.
Message for your fans…
Remember, I’m never “awesome” – I’m “demogorgon”.
This song sums up the whole sound and feel of the album, with its musical backing drawing heavily on 70′s prog rock from the likes of Genesis, Yes, Camel et al. Also there is a modern feel in the sound, particularly the drumming which is much heavier than you’d expect on a typical 70′s prog rock album, and Nad Sylvan’s vocals which remind you a little of Peter Gabriel, but he has his own style and very memorable vocal that brings the songs to life.
‘What Have We Done’ continues the theatrical feel featuring a lovely piano underpinning Nad Sylvan’s vocal, with a surge in the tempo and pomp at the chorus, wonderful to listen to. Oh and listen out for the stunning guitar solo midway through the song which takes the song through to its epic conclusion.
There is a touch of the theatre about the concept of the vampire seeking his bride and in the music, take for example ‘The White Crown’, which you can imagine being performed on stage. The song also reminded me of Jethro Tull in the folksy chorus.
‘When The Music Dies’ will surely become a live favourite as the chorus and melody is one the strongest he has done to date. Even if you are not normally a fan of progressive music this one is worth listening to.
Overall a more accessible and enjoyable album than ‘Courting The Widow’, which itself was an enjoyable listen. Nad Sylvan’s stock is rising rapidly amongst the prog rock community and beyond, and rightly so based on his latest album. Impressive and highly recommended. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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