The musically rich and fertile country of Sweden has led another challenger to the table, in the form of up and comers Violent Silence, to take their shot at prog rock supremacy. The quintet was formed back in 1999 and their debut CD was eventually issued in 2003 via the Record Haven label. Fast forward to 2005, the band makes the move to Progress Records who now releases their sophomore effort Kinetic, suddenly the time could be right for the band to receive some much deserved attention. What stands out upon listening to this disc is just how well they fill up their sound without any guitars, that's right no guitars. Violent Silence aren't the first to try their hand at this, it's been done before, but I think it's more of a challenge to create a sonic landscape within this field of music minus a six stringer. There is always the possibility of straying off course and veering into other genres at the risk of being labeled or lumped into another category, such as ambient or electronica for example. However isn't that what prog was originally supposed to be all about, to push the boundaries of conventional rock, to blur the lines a bit and to take the music to another level? If anything it raises the bar a bit more for a band like Violent Silence, a challenge these guys seem eager to tackle.
The disc opens with the dreamy almost ambient sounding, "Morning Star" which features gentle keyboard textures perfectly matching the hushed vocal delivery of Bruno Edling. This sets up the title track which begins with an almost techno style intro before you become aquianted with the frantic and busy drum work of Johan Hedman. I must say Hedman does a fantastic job all over this disc, he is one of the busiest drummers around and the band along with co-producer Carl Vikman managed to get a nice warm, brown sound on his drums. It might have been a more logical choice for the band had they decided to pursue a more synthetic sound, percussion wise to match the duo keyboard attack of Hannes Ljunghall and Bjorn Westen, but it probably would have left the music sounding cold, so in essence Hedman's acoustic drums and busy playing creates a perfect synergy. In fact for a band to employ 2 keyboardists, the sound throughout Kinetic has a surprisingly analogue feel. I was expecting the sound to be a lot colder as I mentioned, but both Westen and Ljunghall opt for a warmer feel, keeping solo's on the relative backburner, instead focusing more on creating their rich soundscapes and aural tapestries, as if to emphasize pure emotion over technicality, not to say any of these musicians are anything less than extremely skilled. I was impressed at the different textures they were able to generate such as the marimba styled intro on "Torrential Rains", actually these sounds pop up in a few other songs as well. Hedman's drums along with Phillip Bastin's thick bass lines, drive the rhythm along underneath a short Tony Banks like solo halfway through.
The fourth track "Nightlights" is a short instrumental leading the way into my personal favorite off Kinetic, the absolutely gorgeous "Sky Burial", which lyrically seems to deal with a son's finally coming to terms with the death of his Father. The song is beautifully executed on all fronts, from Edling's passionate vocal delivery to once again some fantastic, emotionally moving keyboard passages. Kinetic basically closes with an epic 18 minute track called "Quiet Stalker", a song which finds the band pulling out all the stops musically and features a few long, tasty keyboard solos which not only highlights Westin and Ljunghall's stunning technique, but also proves just how cohesive the whole band actually is.
I would definitely recommend this disc to SOT listeners and if Kinetic doesn't yield the band some major attention and give them a major push to the forefront of progressive music, then I would be very surprised, not to mention disappointed.
1) Morning Star
3) Torrential Rains
4) Night Lights
5) Sky Burial
7) Quiet Stalker
8 ) Homesick