Silverlane - My inner demon 3.5/5

Reviewed: 12-18-09





Tracklist:

1. Wings of eternity
2. Miracle
3. The flight of Icarus
4. The taste of sin
5. My inner demon
6. Tears of pain
7. In the desert
8. Kingdom of sand
9. Full moon
10. Serenade of wind
11. The dark storm
12. Slowly


Silverlane have been plugging away for quite some time now in one form or another, this being the 3rd in a sporadic series of self-released CDs, including one under the name The Rising Force. The irregular nature of their releases maybe explains the slightly haphazard nature of their writing, with the different variations on the melodic power metal style being delved into on ‘My inner demon’ suggesting the songs have been accumulated over a gradual period of time.

Things don’t stray too far from expected formulas though, and the influences that have rubbed off on Silverlane’s writing are quite easy to pick out. The opener, “Wings of eternity” is the expected pell-mell barnstormer, the relentless double bass, tinkling keys and mandatory soaring chorus ticking the usual Stratovarius and Freedom Call boxes, but it doesn’t exactly set the tone for the rest of the CD.

The following 2 songs each have a different style that gives a clearer picture of the band’s overall direction - the pace immediately drops for “Miracle”, which has a more rock-based simplicity about it and some insistent melodic hooks, while “The flight of Icarus” (and really, no metal band has any business using that song title) gives first breath to a more experimental style used here and there. Along with the lengthy title track, it veers away from the more melodic style most evidence to a stuttering, modern sound not too dissimilar to patches of Kamelot’s ‘Ghost opera’ CD.

The results on the title track in particular are a little mixed and leave me at least a little unsure of what to make of them, and leans back towards the old conundrum of “is this progressive or just down-tuned crap?” The ‘spooky’ keyboard tones occasionally used on this sort of song are a little cringeworthy, which is a bit of a shame as Dorotheé Schmitt’s overall performance is one of the band’s best attributes. On the slower and less progressive songs, her symphonic arrangements are very tasteful and not overblown, and give the CD an extra touch of class.

The rest of the performances are just as technically proficient but a bit more standardised and less colourful. Vocalist Ecki Singer is very much the typical German power metal frontman - his voice is strong and clear, with just a slight gravely edge, and tends to stay in the mid-range. Just like the rest of the band, he performs with expert professionalism, but just lacks that little individual spark that defines the line between top and 2nd tier.

As the CD crosses into its 2nd half, the influence from more than one era of Kamelot really comes to the fore and – perhaps not by coincidence – the quality of the songs perks up a little, making for a strong and rousing finish. The intro-and-song combination of “In the desert” and “Kingdom of sand” doesn’t really sound much like “Desert reign” and “Nights of Arabia” than on a more than a basic, Middle Eastern-influenced level, but at least some sort of unconscious persuasion would seem to be involved for such a coincidence to occur.

It is after “Full moon” (the most straightforward, riff-based effort on the CD) and another atmospheric interlude, that it’s really back to Khan/Youngblood territory with 2 of the strongest songs on the ‘My inner demon’ as it peaks right at the conclusion. “The dark storm” bears the same majestic, sweeping romanticism of the Florida maestros’ middle-era, while the beautiful closer “Slowly” is a sombre, keyboard-only symphonic ballad.

The varied styles on ‘My inner demon’ mean that it doesn’t get boring and holds the attention with no difficulty, but by its very nature the CD is a bit a patchwork of influences and doesn’t really find a voice of its own. A fine effort to be sure, but not exactly one for the ages.



CREAG




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