Not very often a tribute band dares to come up with an album of songs written by themselves. One of the few tribute bands that managed to release such an album are Silver Key from Milan in Italy. They were formatted in 1992 and made a name as an official cover band of Marillion and Fish.
The name of their debut is In The Land Of Dreams and is very related to the name of the band. The name "Silver Key" comes from a tale written by the American writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft, famous for his fantasy stories focused on the so-called "Cthulhu Myths." According to Lovecraft, the Key Silver is the magical object that provides access to the Kingdom of Dreams, the Dreamlands where everything is possible.
On this basis, Yuri Abietta (vocals, acoustic guitar, samples), Carlo Monti (guitars), Davide Manara (keyboards, samples), Alberto Grassi (bass) and Viviano Crimella (drums, percussion) have created a concept album that moves music wise very much into the direction of the early albums made by Marillion. Mainly the vocal and keyboard parts are responsible for this comparison. Compared to the guitar parts done by Steve Rothery in Marillion, the guitarist in Silver Key has a more aggressive way of playing. I guess he is less afraid to make a little bit more noise. I have to confess that I liked this more aggressive approach on most of the compositions. It just suits the band very well and gives them an identity of their own.
That the band has learned a lot playing the music of Marillion over and over again can certainly be heard throughout the album. The same kind of compositions do sound very strong and most of all very tasteful. The first four songs on In The Land Of Dreams can be seen as an introduction to the final suite which lasts almost one half hour. All together the five tracks have a total time of one whole hour of music. This one whole hour has enough variety and therefore never a single moment that gets boring.
Silver Key is most of all a group that wants to impose themselves in the young Italian prog scene. I guess they succeeded very well with this goal and made an album that is an absolutely must-have for those who enjoyed the early albums released by Marillion. But also for those who enjoy other neo progressive rock acts such as Pendragon, IQ and Pallas.
**** Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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