It is no secret that Sweden is playing a more and more important role in progressive rock and aor music. The Flower Kings, Anekdoten, Carptree, A.C.T. and Opeth for example are all bands who rose above the average in the last years. Interesting about these bands is that the move in the scope from very melodic to very dark. Especially the melodic ones got my attention. Everyone has his own taste, I think.
Violent Silence is a Swedish progressive rock band who easily can be categorized in the melodic part of the scene. Twilight Furies is the fourth album of this interesting band around Johan Hedman, the epic center of Violent Silence. Johan Hedman is a multi- instrumentalist who is responsible for most of the tracks.
Before going deeper into the tracks, I have to mention the artwork of this album. The artwork is really fantastic. Big water columns rise from ominous icy water, darks skies with clouds of faces, I really like it. Violent Silence paid great attention to the artwork, it is outstanding and you can't get around it quickly.
The current line-up of Violent Silence is as follows: Johan Hedman (keyboards, drums and background vocals), Erik Forsberg (vocals), Simon M. Svensson (bass guitar), and Hannes Ljunghall (keyboards).
It's remarkable that the band has two keyboard players and no guitarist. So if you only love drawn out guitar solos, I think you can skip this band. But when you love a 70s approach of progressive rock and love layers of keyboards, this could be an album for you.
Twilight Furies is an album which contains 8 tracks. In fact there are 5 tracks, because three of them are intermezzos. Their duration varies from one 3 minute track up to four 9 minute plus tracks.
All tracks are atmospheric and have a great way of tension. The tracks have a complex- and cinematic character and there is a lot of attention to musical ornamentation. Especially the keyboard parts are virtuoso. None of the tracks can be stamped as mainstream. The all have a certain complexity and some sort of layering. As said, the album is completely keyboard orientated. The rhythm section of Violent Silence is steady, but not really spectacular.
Although the songs are rather complex, they always have a very melodic atmosphere. This keeps the attention of the listener. In their biography the state “swirling musical waterfall” and that is exactly what it is. I wrote this review with headphones on. This was a sensational experience. The album is recorded rather transparently and you are able to hear all the detail in the mix.
So the recording is awesome, musicianship of the keyboard players is great, the rhythm section plays well and the tracks are incredible well written. When you pay attention you miss the remarks on the vocals.
This brings me to the achilles heel of this album. In my opinion this is the character of the vocals. Unfortunately the vocals don't really fit on this album. Erik Forsberg has a very husky voice. Personally I think that a clean and powerful voice would give more justice to this record. The rough voice, for me, disturbs this album. I know that this all is a matter of taste. But I think the album could reach a higher level with a different type of vocalist. Maybe also a guitarist would give some extra impulse to the music. It certainly will give more diversity to the total concept.
Twilight Furies is a nice record. Violent Silence develops itself musically to a higher level, I think. All tracks are connected within a nice atmosphere. For me only the vocals don't touch me that much. Therefor I rate this album with 3 out of 5. When you love keyboard orientated progressive rock with a blink to the 70s, please give it a try.
*** Aad Bannink (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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