I was really looking forward to hearing Waiting For The Noise from the Dutch prog rockers Sylvium most of all because I liked their second release The Gift Of Anxiety (2013, see review) very much. Their music then was a blend of prog metal, jazz rock, symphonic rock and ambient. Their new album is again a beauty; a so called “un-Dutch” musical masterpiece and a must have for lovers of progressive, contemporary music. Sylvium has become a better and tighter band and “newcomers” Fred den Hartog (drums) and Antal Nusselder (keyboards) definitely have given the band an extra musical dimension. The new album sounds more mature and I think that Sylvium can be very proud of this effort, as it is able to compete with other great progressive rock releases without a shadow of a doubt.
Waiting For The Noise is a concept album and the seven brand new tracks are about a dying, terminal ill man and his judgement afterwards; a topic that kind of reminds me of the Genesis classic album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974). The album kicks off with the instrumental Quietus, which is a rather dark song filled with keys, drums, loops, guitar melodies, shredded guitar solos and a talking voice in the background. This song sets the tone for the rest of the album, as it gives me a feeling of industrial progressive rock with characteristics of bands like Riverside and Satellite. Follow up track Signal To Noise is probably the best song of the album, starting with piano and fragile vocals, before it erupts into a heavier track filled with guitar layers and keyboards. The guitar solo in the middle of the song is amazing and really gives me goose bumps every time I listen to it. Sometimes this song has the fell of Riverside, but also of “old” Porcupine Tree material. Fade In/Out is a complex song, divided into three parts and it is a really melodic song and utterly reminds me of songs from the last two albums of the German prog rockers RPWL; even the voice of Richard de Geest has similarities with the voice of Yogi Lang! Two minutes before the end of the song, a heavy riff changes the key and the melody of this great song completely, before Fade In/Out ends rather eloquently. I am sad to say that the only song I really cannot appreciate is the rather mellow, ballad-like Fragile as it is, in my humble opinion, too laid back and actually kind of boring. The saxophone solo on Fragile is also not really my cup of tea. Headlong is another instrumental song and again this one is dark and rather heavy, due to the drums, bass guitar riffs and the edgy guitar riff. The album ends with the shortest track, Coda, a rather mysterious song that could easily be used for a thrilling science fiction movie.
All in all I have to say that this album really is a musical gem, Sylvium did not disappoint me. I was already impressed by their earlier release, but this follow up album is much better. You have to play this album very loud to enjoy it even more, or listen to it on headphones. Waiting For The Noise is probably already one of the most memorable prog rock albums of 2015; if the rather “poor” track Fragile could be omitted I would mark this album with a perfect 5 stars.
****+ Martien Koolen (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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