Vly started as a project with musicians from different parts of the world. Most of the collaborating musicians never met each other during the making of the album (they did meet each other when the album was finished), so it was 'a total shot in the dark'. The musicians who play on this album are Keith Gladysz (Diet Kong, Typical Reptiles) on vocals, Karl Demata (ex-Crippled Black Phoenix) on guitars, synths and programming, Elisa Montaldo (Il Tempio Delle Clessidre) on keyboards, Chris Heilmann (ex-Crippled Black Phoenix, Shark Island) on bass and Mattias Olsson (Necromonkey, White Willow, ex-Änglagård) on drums and keyboards. This album called I / [Time] is their debut album.
This album needed to grow on me, it is a good example that you can't judge music just by listening to it 2 or 3 times. Sometimes it takes 20 to 30 times (ok, maybe not that many, but you know what I mean). It is very accessible progressive rock, with the focus on rock. It's sweet and lovely music, not to be confused with 'romantic'. The album is one hour long, which is quite a musical journey, but a very interesting one. I'm not really convinced on how the album sounds in its totality, the drums are too compressed and sometimes far in the background for example. Sometimes the piano/keyboards are too far in the background as well. It doesn't mean that the whole album is badly produced, mixed and mastered, but it could have been better.
The album starts with the track Circles, which is a real power ballad. It contains a lot of emotion and strength, just like Keith's voice. I just love the instrumental bit around 5 minutes in the track Time. You automatically sing along with the chorus of this song. Time Elapsed is a short transition between the previous track Time and upcoming track Headache. It is very spooky. I really like the bass sound during Headache. It's a slow song, but it really opens up and gets more energy after 2,5 minutes. Out Of The Maze is haunting in the beginning and turns into a 70s like rock track during the chorus. You tap your feet along with it. Sixth track Hypnotic is slower than Out Of The Maze. I love the Mellotron in the background and the orchestral outro is beautiful, it makes you swoon. You also sing along with the chorus. Time Remembered is another short instrumental transition. It only contains a very sweet piano piece and some sound effects. Silver Beaches is a quite romantic song. You sway along with the rhythm during the track. Ninth track Message In Water is more up tempo but similar to Silver Beaches. Dark Days has a vivacious rhythm. The country-like intro from the track is quite cool, but I really love the special drums during the outro, which are quite a surprise in this song. The outro is very sweet and tender, but suddenly gets interrupted by haunting drum-like sounds. Perfect Place is the longest track of the album. The song has a real Pink Floyd ambiance. It also has a long instrumental piece. Last track Time Forgotten is just like Time Elapsed and Time Remembered a short instrumental track. It also gives you the feeling that there's more to come after this. Maybe a second album?
As I said earlier, this is an album that really needs to grow on you, but when it grows it becomes better and better. This is an album you can listen to while you're busy doing other things. However, don't be surprised when you catch yourself playing air-guitar (or air-drums/keys etc.) while you thought you didn't pay attention to the music!
****+ Iris Hidding (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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