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Silver Key: In The Land Of Dreams

Beginning life as a Marillion and Fish tribute act, Italy's Silver Key have a sound reminiscent of well, actually, a whole host of 80s neo-prog acts, with everyone from Pallas, Twelfth Night, Galahad, Arena and of course Fish era Marillion coming to the fore. It has actually taken the quintet of Yuri Abietti (vocals), Carlo Monti (guitar), Davide Manara (keys/synths/samples), Viviano Crimella (drums) and Alberto Grassi (bass) a full decade to go from band inception to this debut effort In The Land Of Dreams. However it has been well worth the wait, with this first foray being an intricate, far reaching concept piece that works well both lyrically and musically. The band's name actually comes from the works of HP Lovecraft and it would appear that the songs themselves also lean heavily in that direction for their inspiration.

Keyboards are the main focus of the music, with Manara ruling the roost in a most expansive manner. Pompous and uncompromising one moment, plaintive and beautiful the next. It really makes for a keyboard lovers delight. That's not to suggest that Monti doesn't provide some punchy riffs and searing solos, or that vocalist Abietti doesn't have a captivating attack, which is almost accent free. They both do. However latch onto the sublime melodies of "Learn To Let Go", bombastic themes of "In The Land Of Dreams", or the piano led "More Than I Can", which introduce the album, and it the keys, synths and samples that set the tone. However after the first four tracks we are led on a long journey through a continuous epic 30 minutes of music, split across nine tracks, with the guitars being cranked, the bass booming and the drums becoming more dynamic. All that is tied to spoken word samples and a more poised approach, yet still the glorious key work never eases, leaving you totally beguiled and convinced by the sumptuous full sound. The themes continue to range from galloping romps to sedate meanders, but the music never loses its purpose, neither does anything here feel surplus to requirements. Abietti's slightly quirky vocals are hugely effective, preferring a more Stuart Nicholson (Galahad) "storytelling" style than the usual am-dram neo attempts - although actual comparisons are refreshingly difficult to make - his voice ably driving the story forward, while keeping you transfixed with his spirited attack. "The Gaunt Man" comes over all Arena-like, while "Through The Gates Of The Silver Key" has an undoubted Peter Gabriel vibe. However the real power comes from soaking up the whole album in one sitting, with the huge array of sounds and ideas cascading over you, a bright, full production clearing the way.

As debut efforts go, In The Land Of Dreams really is rather special. Yes it is neo-prog as you've come to expect it and yes you could, if you were being uncharitable, suggest there's little new here. However Silver Key deliver from the heart and take you wilfully on their musical journey as they do so. In itself a feat worth celebrating.

Track Listing
01. In the land of Dream
02. More Than I Can
03. Learn To Let Go
04. Millennium
05. The Loss Of The Silver Key
06. The Guant Man
07. The Running Kid
08. The Guardian Of The Seventh Seal
09. Through The Gates Of The Silver Key
10. Dim Carcosa
11. The Silver Key
12. The King Of Light
13. Welcome

Added: December 17th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Silver Key Online
Hits: 4001
Language: english

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