Sylvium are a Dutch heavy prog band and their first effort was an instrumental EP called Purified (2012). The Gift Of Anxiety is their second release, a concept album that deals with fear. To be exactly: six tracks with six different sorts of anxiety of which only two songs contain vocals. On Surround and Weathering you can hear the voice of newcomer Richard de Geest and mainly due to his singing these songs have become more accessible for most listeners.
Right from the start I got into the music of Sylvium. Their music sounds rather cool and could be described best as a mixture of prog metal, jazz-rock, symphonic rock and ambient, containing lots of tempo changes, nice keyboard layers and fine guitar melodies. The album starts with the instrumental piece Disposable and I'm quite addicted to this one. Falling opens with strong and heavy bass lines by Gijs Koopman (ex-Knight Area) and features lots of rather heavy riffs and melodies. This is another instrumental highlight on The Gift Of Anxiety. Ominous is dominated by the keyboard sounds of the second newcomer in the band, being Antal Nusselder.
As far as I'm concerned the highlight on this CD is Weathering, the final and also the longest track. It begins with melodious piano playing and great emotional singing of De Geest. Later on you can enjoy a breathtaking guitar solo of Ben van Gastel before the song fades away. This piece is a perfect ending to an almost perfect album. I could hardly believe that Sylvium are a Dutch collective, and just to avoid misunderstandings: this is meant to be a compliment! The Gift of Anxiety is a wonderful album which should appeal to all lovers of melodious progressive music. Buy or die! I hope to hear more from these musicians in the near future.
**** Martien Koolen (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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