The Swedish act Violent Silence was formed back in 1999 in Uppsala. Their eponymous debut was released in 2003 followed by Kinetic two years later. On both albums you could hear strong progressive rock music which was very much dominated by keyboards. It seemed that no guitars were allowed to intrude into their music. Although their compositions featured many keyboards, you couldn't say that they made music related to acts such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Rick Wakeman, Gerard, Trace or The Nice. The way they touched the black and white keys was very different compared to those acts. This time the keyboards were played as if they were percussion instruments. Also the sound of the synthesizers was very much related to instruments such as glockenspiel, xylophone or marimba. However after both albums were released, a third album was never actually made...until now.
Already in the review of the spin-off band Hidden Lands and their debut album In Our Nature (2012, see review) I mentioned that a possible third Violent Silence was to be expected very soon. Well this was very much true because A Broken Truce can now be welcomed after an absence of eight years. During those eight years, a lot has probably happened because the line-up that recorded A Broken Truce differs from their earlier released albums. The only person from Violent Silence who hadn't played on Hidden Lands first effort was drummer Johan Hedman. Well he is now together with new vocalist Martin Ahlquist one of the two key members and can be heard on the drums and keyboards. Strangely enough, a couple of people who worked on the two older albums can be heard as well on the third Violent Silence album, namely the two keyboard players Björn Westén and Hannes Ljunghall. Furthermore, Anders Lindskog plays the bass parts and Andreas Hellkvist plays an extended keyboard solo on the title track.
After hearing the entire album several times I must say that the style of music provided on their back catalogue didn't change that much on this new release. The four long tracks are once again dominated by the keyboards and most of the time the percussive way of playing has remained except for the opening piece Prism Path, where a more common keyboard sound can be heard used by other keyboard acts, including the fine synthesizer solo. The level of the compositions has also remained the same and therefore are once again very enjoyable.
I can only conclude that after an eight year break, Violent Silence can still release very entertaining albums. Most of all, those who are into keyboard-oriented progressive rock music will cherish A Broken Truce!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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