Acclaimed vocalist Nad Sylvan continues to keep busy, as he juggles regular studio & live work with Steve Hackett in addition to a burgeoning solo career. The Bride Said No is his latest solo effort for Inside Out Music, and follows 2015's very strong Courting the Widow release. Again handling the bulk of the instrumentation, Sylvan as always likes to include a selection of top notch guest stars, and here we see appearances by such luminaries as Steve Hackett, Guthrie Govan, Roine Stolt, Tony Levin, Jonas Reingold, Nick D'Virgilio, Doane Perry, Sheona Urquhart, and Anders Wollbeck, among others. Sylvan's rich 'Phil Collins-meets-Peter Gabriel' styled vocals permeate the album, the songs themselves a mix of vintage '70s inspired symphonic progressive rock and whimsical, dreamy pop.
Fans of Genesis or The Flower Kings will instantly gravitate towards tracks such as "The Quartermaster and "The White Crown", two upbeat prog songs littered with vintage sounding keyboards, intricate rhythms, and Sylvan's majestic flair. On some of the more lush, pop flavored material, such as "What Have You Done" and "When the Music Dies", Nad shares vocals with Tania Doko, Jade Ell, and Sheona Urquhart, and the results are quite enchanting, driven to even great heights thanks to some stunning guest guitar solos, Govan especially mesmerizing on the emotional "What Have You Done". The darker, more dramatic "Crime of Passion" features huge orchestral swells and heavy riffs, while the hear 20-minute title track slowly builds in intensity, as prog & funk collide (just listen to Levin's bombastic bass grooves cook!) before eventually morphing into full on symphonic prog glory. As we've seen many times in recent years, there is a few minutes of silence about three quarters of the way through this epic, and then in comes the catchy pop ditty "Black Sheep" to close out the song and the album.
Once again Nad Sylvan and his all-star friends have delivered a fine set of prog & pop with The Bride Said No, an easy album to recommend and one that's sure to become a favorite to many here in 2017. Well done.
2) The Quartermaster
3) When the Music Dies
4) The White Crown
5) What Have You Done
6) Crime of Passion
7) A French Kiss in an Italian Cafe
8) The Bride Said No