The name that most people will recognize involved in this album is that of
the man of many projects Tony Mills. Probably best known as the current TNT
vocalist or long time singer in Shy, Mr. Mills has also turned his hand to Siam,
and more recently China Blue. However it's not Tony Mills' name on the front of
the disc, it is in fact that of guitarist Lasse Dale on this, his debut album.
Being fortunate enough to meet Mills at an end of tour party for the band
Winterstrain (Tony sang back up on Winterstrain's excellent album Shifting
Sands) and plucking up the courage to ask him to listen to his music, Lasse
turned a chance meeting into an excellent working relationship.
Don't be fooled by the lack of a band name here though, this is not an over
indulgent solo album from Dale. He did compose all the music on Screaming For
Silence and over saw production of the disc too, however beyond his
considerable skills on the fret-board it would appear one of his biggest talents
is for writing sharp, focused progressive and in places power metal that
showcases the prowess of his entire band. Throughout the album keyboardist Karl
Birkley, of the afore mentioned Winterstrain along with Kristoffer Oyen on drums
and bassist Tommy Granli of The Maudlin Hounds are given the space and
opportunity to shine. Birkley's keys especially help shape the overall sound of
the album, using subtle colors along with more extrovert flourishes to raise the
album well above run of the mill prog metal fare.
It would be wrong to suggest however that the stars of the show aren't Dale
and Mills. For a guitarist making his recording debut it would be fair to label
Lasse Dale as an undiscovered genius. Tight riffing, and blazing solos are in
abundance but its Dale's impassioned, emotional playing on tracks such as the
fantastic "The Silent Guns Of Love" that illustrate his versatility and the
restraint that is so often lacking in this style of music. The song itself is a
highlight of the album, Dale's beautiful acoustic guitar complimented by an
atmospheric swirling keyboard and a simply stunning vocal performance from
Mills. I love hearing a vocalist who is capable of pushing himself while
sounding in supreme control of his voice and this vocal is the epitome of that.
More astounding is that Tony only goes and tops that performance on album closer
"The End Of All Days", which is a song about coping with loss of a loved one,
giving one of his best performances of any project he has been involved with. He
sounds emotionally drained by the time the song is done.
Lyrically "The End Of All Days" is not the only interesting composition,
"Macheavellian Perspective" is a well informed comment on the past and future of
Israel which also uses a spoken intro very effectively, whereas "Faith On Fire"
is a scathing comment on organized religion in general. Unusual subject matter
for a progressive metal album, but very effective when backed by dark brooding
"The Judgment" allows all the musicians to flex their muscles and show their
chops, excellent keyboard flurries feature through out, Dale's solo is
captivating, Granli lays down the law with a rock solid bass line which enables
Kristoffer Oyen to let loose behind the drums. I'm not sure about Oyen, however
his kit will have needed a breather after the break-neck workout he subjects it
to, all while keeping the whole thing steaming along nicely.
The constant blight of albums recorded on a tight budget is the production,
and unfortunately Screaming For Silence is afflicted by this in places as
well. It's by no means a poor sounding disc, however surprisingly Lasse's
guitars would benefit from being more prominent in places, but that's a minor
complaint in the face of the quality writing and playing on show.
If you are looking for an intelligent, emotional, involving and hugely
entertaining progressive metal album that continues to improve with repeated
listens then Screaming For Silence deserves your attention.
01. A Conflict Of Interest
02. The Judgment
04. My Horizon
05. The Silent Guns Of Love
06. A Shadow Of Doubt
07. 1968 Disease
08. The Macheavellian Perspective
09. Faith On Fire
10. The End Of All Days