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Sylvan: Home

For those of you unfamiliar with this popular German band, Sylvan have been around for over twenty-five years and have remained a stalwart in the symphonic progressive/art rock genre. They have over nine studio albums to their credit with their latest Home set for release in February, 2015.

Through the years their line-up has been remarkably consistent although they have changed guitarists a couple of times. In 2013 Jan Patersen left the band and in his place we have guest guitarist Jonathan Beck. The rest of the band are Marco Glühmann (vocals), Matthias Harder (drums), Sebastian Harnack (bass) and Volker Söhl (keyboards).

Like some of their previous efforts, most notably the magnificent Posthumous Silence, this is a concept album. The story follows a woman who is searching for meaning in her life and whether in today's modern society there exists the safe place we call home.

As with most Sylvan albums the focus is on atmosphere and emotion rather than instrumental virtuosity. Please don't get me wrong, these are all excellent musicians but the emphasis is on grand builds of instrumentation and the associated atmospheres the music conveys. The songs flow together beautifully as the best concept albums do and if any band can be regarded as majestic it is Sylvan.

Beginning with the beautifully orchestrated "Not Far From The Sky", the sound is typically a little sad. Plaintive piano and Glühmann's distinctively melodic vocals lead the way into a keyboard drenched soundscape. For melancholic art rock check out the gorgeous "Shaped Out Of Clouds" with its soaring keys and guitar before the music turns heavier with darker accents. "In Between" is the longest track at over ten minutes and is a real beauty. Muted background guitar chords, subtle electronic effects and some fine keyboard/guitar interaction is a treat for the ears. The music expertly flows from delicate piano motifs to heavier guitar dominated prog. The softer side of Sylvan is displayed in the lovely ballad "With The Eyes Of A Child" and the gently sweeping "Black And White" with its wonderful keyboard arrangement. The darker tinged "Sleep Tight" begins and ends gently with jazz tinged piano and fragile vocals before heavier guitar riffs take center stage. "The Sound Of Her World" is a majestic piece switching from lighter pastoral sections to grand symphonic prog. For melodic prog you can't beat the irresistibly catchy "Shine" and the orchestral lushness of "All These Years" with its head sticking chorus, pastoral piano lines and dramatic symphonic crescendo.

Sylvan has always produced music of the utmost quality and Home is no exception. I have a feeling this will remain in my CD player for some time to come. Released on the Gentle Art Of Music label.

Track Listing:
1. Not Far From The Sky (6:30)
2. Shaped Out Of Clouds (6:02)
3. In Between (10:50)
4. With The Eyes Of A Child (4:19)
5. Black And White (7:14)
6. The Sound Of Her World (9:23)
7. Sleep Tight (5:31)
8. Off Her Hands (3:42)
9. Shine (6:18)
10. Point Of No Return (5:25)
11. All These Years (5:40)
12. Home (6:05)

Added: February 12th 2015
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2785
Language: english

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