Silverlane - Above the others 3/5

Reviewed: 5-1-11





Tracklist:

1. Above the others
2. 1789
3. Last day on earth
4. Fallen angels
5. The game
6. The dark side in you
7. Ready to rock
8. The white lady part 1 - A ghost appears
9. The white lady part 2 - Golden needle
10. The white lady part 3 - Between the trees
11. The white lady part 4 - Days of sorrow
12. Anything
13. In the end


The first Silverlane CD I heard was ĎMy inner demoní, the one that at the time of writing this sits as their middle child between the debut and this new 3rd full-length under their current name. When I reviewed that a while back I made comment that it had quite an unusual amount of variety and no defined sound, pinballing back and forth between upbeat, soaring power metal and chugging, proggy tracks with the odd bit of commercial-edged fare here and there.

Itís easier to see in hindsight that this lack of overall direction was down to it being a transition CD, between the overly European power metal style of the debut and the increasingly slowed-down progressive approach that has surfaced as their main style on ĎAbove the othersí. Where its predecessor toyed with these elements, ĎAbove the othersí thoroughly embraces them and it is a very different CD to what has come before it.

Kamelot were a band they took a lot of cues from on ĎMy inner demoní, and while there are less songs here that sound overtly like their main influence, the overall swing in style runs along a similar, though more hurried, path to Youngblood and coís over the 2nd half of the last decade, with a the guitar playing being simplified and the symphonic and operatic passages being ramped up considerably.

More surprising is that vocalist Ekki Singer has changed almost as much as the music, and in fact when I gave the CD its first listen I had to double check that the band hadnít hired a new frontman in the interim period. There was always a rough edge to his voice in the past, but he has suddenly reached almost Chris Boltendahl levels of gruffness, and itís a change that hasnít been for the best. Just like the gradual stripping away of the upbeat power metal side of their sound, it contributes to a draining of colour from the music that the dreary grey cover art unhappily suits a little too well.

Where previously the band were known for faster songs broken up with slowed-down progressive sections, the inverse really proves to be true here, as while there are still bursts of speed here and there, a great many of the songs unfailingly drop the pace after an initial flurry and the guitarists resort to chugging away in uninspired fashion while the keyboards and orchestration take centre stage. The tasteful use of keyboards on ĎMy inner demoní was one of the CDís strong points, but here the band have leant too heavily in this direction and the arrangements are often stifling rather than stimulating.

This has actually managed to turn into one of those reviews that seems like nothing short of a condemnation, but I hasten to add that ĎAbove the othersí is not without its charms. For all my complaining, there are a few out-and-out speedsters here that (even allowing for the more Ďmoderní guitar tone) succeed in getting the blood pumping, and certainly there are songs where the symphonic and progressive elements are balanced just right. The thing is though, Silverlane are, on all evidence so far anyway, just better writing power metal than they are prog, and the repetitive nature of the songs on this CD make it a difficult CD to go back to with any great frequency.

They have definitely gone some way to carving out an identity of their own, but have in the process lost some of their character - in the end it always comes down to the songs, and in that regard they have taken a step back.



CREAG




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