Un disco doble que no deben dejar de conocer, lleno de fuerza pero sobre todo de excelentes melodías. Un trabajo 5 estrellas de estos alemanes que hemos presentado ayer, como para que sigan conociendo todas las maravillas que se cocinan hoy en día y no llegan a tus oídos.
Lista de Temas:
1. Chapter 1: 'The Fountain of Glow'
2. Chapter 2: 'Share the World with Me'
3. Chapter 3: 'The Words You Hide'
4. Chapter 4: 'The Waters I Traveled'
5. Chapter 5: 'Farewell to Old Friends'
1. Chapter 1: 'The Fountain of Glow'
2. Chapter 2: 'Share the World with Me'
3. Chapter 3: 'The Words You Hide'
4. Chapter 4: 'The Waters I Traveled'
5. Chapter 5: 'Farewell to Old Friends'
- Marco Glühmann / Voz
- Matthias Harder / Batería
- Sebastian Harnack / Bajo
- Jan Petersen / Guitarras
- Volker Söhl / Teclados, piano
- Marco Glühmann / Voz
- Matthias Harder / Batería
- Sebastian Harnack / Bajo
- Jan Petersen / Guitarras
- Volker Söhl / Teclados, piano
"Sceneries" es un disco doble que no cansa, y ello se debe a su calidad. Es una obra conceptual dividida en cinco movimientos que funcionan como capítulos de una novela.
Antes que nada, les dejo una pequeña reseña, como para que se vayan preparando los oídos:
"... Son considerados una de esas bandas inteligentes de la nueva camada progresiva, la categoría y solvencia de su música se puede apreciar en estos dos discos que forman parte de “Sceneries”. Un disco conceptual, pero no el típico como muchas obras maestras del género progresivo, llamesé “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” de Genesis o “The Wall” de Pink Floyd, este disco doble lleva un concepto de fondo, divido en cinco partes, tratando temas como los altibajos de la vida o la búsqueda de la felicidad en cinco episodios que no tienen un hilo conductor, basados en experiencias de los propios miembros del grupo; como verán estamos ante el disco más personal y reflexivo del grupo. Musicalmente para aquellos que no estén al tanto de esta gran banda, los germanos se sitúan entre Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, Marillion (con Hogarth) y tintes del rock neo sinfónico, que en los comienzos era mucho más notorio.Diego del blog rock-and-prog
El atractivo más interesante que tiene el grupo recae en su frontman, el vocalista Marco Glühmann, que de los últimos tiempos debe ser de los más originales y personales. La participación del resto del grupo es efectiva y directa.
Por todas estas cualidades Sylvan sigue sorprendiendo, llegando al oyente con sus pegadizas y poperas melodías, pasajes calmos e íntimos u otros en donde la distorsión de las guitarras se hacen presentes haciendo de este disco doble un viaje para sumergirse una y otra vez.!"
El disco son 90 minutos de melodía altamente emocional ininterrumpidamente intensa, de esa que hace estremecer. Claro que no será el disco que pongas cuando estarás deprimido, pero ello no quita el nivel artístico alcanzado en la interpretación de cada una de estas conco secciones. Como dice el siguiente comentario que paso a copiar: estamos en presencia de un disco majestuoso, mágico y estratosférico.
Cuando uno quiere darse cuenta ha pasado tanto tiempo que cuando quiere considerar joven a una banda como Sylvan, advierte de repente que su debut discográfico fue ya en el lejano año 1999, por lo que tienen 13 años de vida. Increíble. Pero a esta absurda reflexión sobre el paso del tiempo le debe seguir otra reflexión más: ¿quién nos iba a decir que disfrutaríamos tanto de bandas alemanas como ésta o RPWL tan alejadas del modelo krautrock setentero? Pocos lo habrían firmado.Pablo M. Beleña
Ahora echo atrás la mirada y cuando conocí a Sylvan, creo que con el álbum 'X-Rayed' de 2004, la sensación de orgasmo del alma no se me fue. Porque pronto escuché el genial 'Posthumous Silence' (2006) y la fiesta continuó con 'Presets' (2007) y 'Force Of Gravity' (2009). Ya con este último de sus discos hasta la fecha se pudo ver cómo apostaban por sonidos más comerciales, no exentos por ello, de calidad. Pero esa línea se ha roto con un excepcional, majestuoso, mágico y estratosférico 'Sceneries', para el que no tengo palabras más que, como se ha podido leer, de elogio.
Cuando una banda parece que no te puede sorprender más, llegan ellos y lo hacen. Se han marcado la sinfonía de 2012 con una calidad impresionante. Alejados, como se sabe, de estilos enrevesados, del virtuosismo que suele echar para atrás a muchos públicos receptores del rock y metal progresivo, Sylvan apuestan siempre más por la melodía, las atmósferas, la dulzura de su voz y sus guitarras, y el sinfonismo ambiental. Pues en 'Sceneries' echan eso al fuego pero por doquier. Se trata de un doble disco con 5 movimientos que ellos llaman 'capítulos', al estilo de obra ambiciosa que busca crear una mella en nuestros corazones. Lo han conseguido.
Debo reconocer, todo sea dicho, que cuando supe que preparaban un disco conceptual de tanta duración me dio algo de pereza. No sé por qué. Quizás no me encajaba en el perfil de esta banda, sobre todo tras escuchar 'Force Of Gravity', que iba por la vía fácil y directa, pero me equivoqué. Desde los primeros segundos te atrapa con un sinfonismo basado en un metal progresivo muy suave y con guitarras no afiladas, pero con aires 'dreamtheaterianos' en su cariz más melódico y sensible. Pronto la voz de Marco Glühmann te ha ha enganchado tanto que no sueltas el disco hasta poner fin a su hora y media de duración.
La obra comienza con una primera parte titulada 'La fuente de la eterna juventud', correspondiente a un contexto de álbum que quiere ofrecer el paso de la vida humana en distintos estados vitales. Si afirmo que los 5 movimientos en realidad se parecen mucho, pareciera una crítica negativa hacia su poca evolución o originalidad. No. Para nada. Simplemente es que todo el disco gira en torno a un sonido bastante estable y semejante: guitarras ambientales y muy melódicas, voces muy suaves y dulces, bajo y batería de leyenda y unos teclados-pianos de magia. De ambientación clásica evidente, el disco intenta combinar el sonido metalero con un sinfonismo y clacisismo deliciosos, representados estos últimos sonidos por un piano exquisito de Volker Söhl.
La mencionada 'La fuente de la eterna juventud' dura 15 minutos y se pasan como 5. Con eso ya está casi todo comentado. Aperitivo que acaba con una tercera pieza épica de impresionante efecto en el corazón. El final, pura sensibilidad llegada del alma, da paso a 'Comparte el mundo conmigo', el encuentro con el amor y la amistad por el ser humano. También dura 15 minutos, sólo que en 4 piezas en lugar de 3, como el anterior capítulo. Ya el estribillo con el que arranca es tan pegadizo que no puedes pensar en otra cosa durante semanas. Lo digo porque conocí el disco a finales de enero y me ha acompañado todo este tiempo como fiel amigo de final de invierno. Y pese al peligro de parecer repetitivo y perder credibilidad, el final de 'Comparte el mundo conmigo' ofrece de nuevo un final épico con unas partes cantadas de Glühmann, una batería de Matthias Harder y unas guitarras de Jan Petersen que sencilla y llanamente te trasladan a otro planeta. Majestuosos.
No hemos llegado ni al ecuador del disco y ya bastaría con esta media hora de leyenda. Pero arranca un tercer capítulo, 'Las palabras que no pronuncias', que ya inicia con una melodía de piano atronadoramente sentimental y dulce. Glühmann enamora y te podría llevar al mismo infierno como si del flautista de Hamelín se tratase. Sin embargo el tema progresa a sonidos más tétricos y oscuros, por primera vez oscuras. En realidad es una bella metáfora de ese paso por la vida del ser humano, que tras conocer todo lo bello de la infancia y la juventud (generalmente es así, pero, claro, no siempre, por desgracia...), empieza a toparse con las desgracias de la vida, de las compañías menos agradables o del duro desamor. La técnica expresionista de Sylvan en este tema de 20 minutos, dividido en 4 partes, es de efectividad intachable. Su música transmite, mensaje y estado de ánimo, y eso es lo más bello del arte, sin duda. Sin embargo, la segunda parte de este 'Las palabras que no pronuncias' nos seduce con una guitarra acústica dulce y alegre, que transmite justo todo lo contrario a lo anterior: optimismo y vitalidad. Parece la música de un anuncio de compresas. Es esa segunda parte de este tercer capítulo, para mí, el mejor tema, con una melodía inmejorable en años. Ojito. Algo comecial, no obstante, pero es que la alergia que a veces se tiene a ese concepto es terrible. La tercera parte vuelve a atravesar mares de penar humano, con tristes melodías que expresan más que lágrimas en directo. La estructura se vuelve a repetir para acabar este capítulo, con otro final épico y a lo grande, aunque más calmado y con la fuerza del piano como elemento transmisor.
Comenzamos el final, con los dos últimos capítulos. ¿Sabéis ya, verdad, lo que diré sobre la siguiente escena, titulada 'Las aguas que surqué'? Pues sí: que de nuevo su inicio te atrapa y te machaca, con una magia que nunca cansa de repetir en este texto. 20 minutos justos distribuidos en 4 partes que presenta alguna novedad, con músicas más alternativas, de sonidos más modernos y menos clásicos, efectos de mesa de mezclas y algún guiño electrónico. También tiene algún pasaje de guitarras total y claramente influidas por John Petrucci de Dream Theater, comentario que empleo para elogiar a Sylvan, y para nada con intención de insinuar falta de originalidad. La parte 3 repite ese rollito 'petrucciano' para acabar con otra melodía insuperable para el final, con efectos demasiados artificiales, cuya representación en directo, cuando hagan gira, dejará carencias. Y es que por ejemplo en este final del cuarto capítulo tiran demasiado del recurso de que Glühmann repita varias veces el estribillo y al mismo tiempo se le escuche su voz en los coros. Tampoco es una crítica negativa, sino una observación. Porque más bien me cuesta sacar pegas a este álbum insuperable. Todo un peligro de cara a las comparaciones de cara al futuro de Sylvan. Todo grupo bueno ha tenido un disco así y ha sido su cruz, como el 'Scenes From a Memory' de Dream Theater.
Así llegamos al último capítulo, 'Adiós a los viejos amigos', una clara alusión al final de la vida y la despedida de este mundo, donde dejamos amistades, amores y, en general, seres queridos. Lo hace Sylvan sin dramatismo, con una bella canción de inicio con guitarras acústicas y alegre melodía vocal de Glühmann. Pronto el capítulo progresa a complejas capas sonoras más elaboradas y guitarreras, con aires muy 'dreamtheaterianos', entre otros, pero sin perder su esencia propia. Las dos últimas partes de las 4 que tiene son, de nuevo, insuperables. El mejor final para un disco imposible de presentar a un neófito, pero que sólo un oído duro o una mente cerrada rechazaría si ya se ama y se aprecian músicas más complejas como es nuestro querido rock progresivo y sinfónico.
Lo dicho: Sylvan, y ahora, en lo sucesivo... ¿qué? Esperemos que al menos, la mitad de bueno. Con eso ya nos harán felices. Gracias infinitas por este disco inolvidable.
Un disco que es una combinación de gracia, sensibilidad y el poder, a la vez que es muy parejo y no tiene subes y bajas. Y si luego de tanto comentario se quedan con las dudas si se llevan el disco o no, les traemos algunos comentarios en inglés y los consabidos videos para que vayan escuchando.
I can only say that I enjoy this album. Each part can be enjoyed as a seperate song as I have found on my ipod on shuffle. Each song can be enjoyed as a whole without getting boring. There are no throw away sections which is rare for any album. I wonder if my taste in music has become a little stagnant and emotional lyrics have become my mainstay. All I can say is that this has become an easy and at times an epic listen depending on my mood. I hope that the new marillion album can achieve this standard in terms of layers and vocal performance.Stephen Haunch
This is surely where Sylvan should concentrate their creative flair. I did not enjoy artificial paradise or force of gravity but gained some insight into their potential with posthomous silence and moments of presets. I hope there will be more of this in the future.
With a back catalogue including amazing albums such as Posthumous Silence and Artificial Paradise Sylvan is a band for whom I have significant respect. I was therefore slightly disappointed with their last release "Force of Gravity". Thus, I thought it unlikely they would return to the glorious heights of Posthumous Silence. I shouldn't have worried, Sceneries is a masterpiece.Skyperion
Whilst Sceneries might not be the most immediately assessable of their albums, after a short while it has grown on me and grown significantly!
This is an album drenched in emotion. Split into five chapters, each has a distinct flavour and key elements running through them. Starting off with a very strong track, The fountain of Glow has some glorious guitar work, which ends far too soon. After Fountain the three chapters that follow grow in strength and intensity. The final track of Share the World brings Chapter 2 to a stunning conclusion. However Chapter 3 "Words You Hide" and Chapter 4 "Waters I Travelled" are my particular favourites with some lovely melodies and stunning vocals. If I had one criticism it would be that the final Chapter feels a little out of place and although it has strong songs, they don't reach the same height as those before.
Throughout this album the vocals are stunning and supported by excellent guitars, keyboards and drums. Lyrically Sylvan have never been stronger. I also love some of the string arrangement's which perfectly compliment the emotions running through the album.
The big question is whether this album surpasses PS and for me the jury is still out on that. However, for any Sylvan fan this purchase is an easy choice and I would heartily recommend the album to most prog fans.
Whilst it is still early in the year, it will take something exceptional to beat Sylvan's latest masterpiece. 5/5 stars.
There are some bands for whom the phrase "the best album since" usually represents something of a kiss of death. The need of some critics and fans to relive a classic moment means that the later releases somehow never really hit the mark, simply because they are lost in comparison. The best example I can think of is AC/DC, who have been cursed with the "best since Back In Black" for every album over the last twenty years, or so.Steve
This is the danger inherent for Sylvan, the hugely talented German outfit, for Posthumous Silence from 2006 is such a titan of an album, such a work of genius that, quite honestly, it really is impossible to think that they could ever scale such heights again. Thus, Presets & Force Of Gravity, both excellent albums in their own right, suffered a tad in comparison with that marvellous album.
And so to 2012, and Sylvan bring us a massive 90 minute slab of music in Sceneries. Unlike its famous predecessor, this is not a concept album, per se, but, rather, five individual pieces of music and musings each individually inspired by the five band members personal experiences or thoughts. At this point, I would point out that the lyrics are available as a free download on the band's website, and well worth it it is too.
I don't like it a great deal when a band spells out for me exactly what the lyrics mean. I like to place my own interpretation on what the lyrics might mean, and, more importantly, what they mean to me as an individual and as someone who has always tried to relate his most important music to personal experiences in life. Thankfully, in the interviews I have seen, the band have left it to the individual, to the extent that I still do not know which band member inspired which movement. Thus, what follows is my personal take on these lyrics.
The Fountain of Glow is, to me, an expression of love conquering all of the nasty, selfish, and greedy tendencies that abound in the world, and that love will, eventually conquer all. Sentiments that would lie well, I think, with Jon Anderson fans, and whilst the lyrics do not contain his "other world" expressions (some would regard that as a good thing), they are, to me, suitably poetical.
The second movement is Share The World With Me, a beautiful paeon to a lost friend (a very close friend) whilst exploring the incredible power and beauty that the planet has to offer, as experienced during a particularly intense walk.
The Words You Hide tells me of a story that is timeless in rock music, that of anger at the words spoken at a loved one, whilst then endlessly regretting the words never spoken, the latter, of course, being the ones you truly wished to speak.
Chapter Four is The Waters I Travelled, a rather nightmarish dreamscape portraying the power of the ocean, and its power to consume.
Lastly, we have Farewell To Old Friends, which, to me, are quite the most inspirational lyrics as a dedication to war, and the feelings it can bring, I have seen since Roger Waters at his peak. This is the story of how an old war veteran could inspire and bring hope to a younger man, in spite of all the horrors witnessed, and how, as a race, the light and a better way are there for us, if only we could take the chance. It is, in essence, a celebration of life itself.
There we go. Those are the musings of this particular reviewer. At this stage, most readers are probably thinking, "all very well, pal, but what about the bloody music?". Words, really, almost fail me. I cannot think of an album since Oldfield's Tubular Bells I & II where a piano, the simple piano, has been at the heart of all around it. And from such delicate keys, this band have woven a work which is just about as powerful and emotional as it is possible for an album to get.
Fans of Marco Gluhmann's ability to soar and drip the entire room with layers of emotion, in both his delicate, quiet, moments and his powerful cries (which put Ronnie James Dio at his loudest to shame) will not certainly not be disappointed. This is just about the most emotional and incredible vocal performance I have heard since, well.....Posthumous Silence. The conclusion of Share The World With Me, especially, simply has to be experienced in a very dark room, with the speakers turned up to the maximum, because this man's vocals, backed by the most incredible guitar work, combined with a wall of sound, are really quite astounding, and send shivers running down one's back.
Talking of a wall of sound, I think I have said before of the band that the only act I can compare them with in terms of being able to simply fill a large space with pure sound (and this includes the numerous passages where we have merely piano and vocals) is Genesis in their pomp. You know, albums such as Wind & Wuthering, where the feel and sound of the work was as important as the songs themselves. The only other modern act I can think of that come anywhere near are Pendragon in their finest moments (and fans of that great band will find much to love here).
This album veers from delicate, to downright heavy, with passages of the most incredible symphonic power that it is somewhat difficult to believe that it was created by five blokes, rather than a full orchestra.
So. To conclude. It is with utter certainty that I say that this album is Sylvan's finest since the remarkable Posthumous Silence (there, I said it!). Not only that, though, this is an album which simply has to be experienced in its own right and is such a powerful emotional experience that it leaves the listener incredulous and breathless, emotionally drained, at its conclusion.
For those who still think, in spite of fine releases in recent years by acts such as Pendragon, Pallas, Marillion, Edison's Children, and IQ especially, that all neo-prog is is a copy of classic prog acts, and a poor one at that, then think again. This is the sound of a modern progressive rock band absolutely at the top of their form. This is the sound of progressive rock in 2012, and delightful it is, too. Whilst its length will preclude you having it on every single day (unless you have a lot of spare time), it is one that you will return to time and time again, and one which demands to be listened to as a whole.
If you buy no other album in 2012, make sure it is this one. I can describe it as no less than an utter masterpiece. An incredible performance by an incredible band.
'Sceneries' - Sylvan (5/10)Conor Fynes
What better way to start off 2012 than with a double album, right? In any case, Sylvan is a band who have reached my ears long before this New Year's day, but I would be safe in assuming that there are people reading this who are much more familiar with the band's work than I. I can safely declare however that Sylvan have attained a status of recognition within the 'neo-prog' community, and for good reason; their highly melodic take on progressive rock has been historically beautiful and passionate. 'Sceneries' is very much an album that caters to the existing fan of the band. As a hour-and-a-half monster of music to digest, few newcomers will have the patience to sit through such a length of music that- despite some areas of strength- does not appear to warrant being so long.
The music on 'Sceneries' might be described as being somewhat post-rockish in nature. The musicianship is brooding and dark, with the instruments focusing on raising an atmosphere while the melodies are left to the vocals of Marco Glühmann. Kept at a painfully consistent mid-tempo throughout the album, each of these five 'epic' tracks sees the band wander through a slew of oddly similar ideas, sometimes contrasting in terms of relative 'heaviness', but throughout 'Sceneries', there is little sense of variety or dynamic. Especially considering that a cinematic album length would wear thin with all but the most diverse and profound albums, 'Sceneries' feels bogged down by its overindulgent length, rather than enabled by it. As I would say for the majority of double albums, the same message could have been conveyed in half the time.
The strength of the songwriting lies mainly in the arrangements and orchestrations of the music, which are intelligent enough to keep a listener attentive, although all of the ideas are kept within the same narrow band of mid-tempo brooding mellowness. Few exceptions are allowed, and as a result, none of these epics particularly stand out from each other. The musical highlight that 'Sceneries' offers is likely the charming string section that's brought in to emphasize what are apparently the emotional 'climaxes' of the compositions. That term must be used lightly here however, because there is little sense of a rising action throughout this. Despite being given more than enough time to ferment the ideas into dramatic builds, the dynamic stays fairly constant and regular throughout 'Sceneries', and as a result, Sylvan come across as much less of a moving act than they have been in the past.
Very nice crossover prog ...Gatot Widayanto
Well, if you followed the band since its inception you would find that this band has its roots on neo-progressive subgenre. But later the band changed its direction into more on crossover prog in the vein of something similar like Marillion 'Brave' eventhough this one sounds more energetic. And I think the band has tried to produce a very nice album where it consists epics with relatively long duration. I personally enjoy this album from start to end. It's strong in terms of melody as most of the vocal line that represents the melody are quite catchy and memorable. In terms of harmonies it has excellent harmonies that blends nicely all instruments in ambient mode making excellent support to vocal. There are stunning guitar and piano works throughout the epics. There is basically little complexity with moderate changes of styles and modes. As there are moderates changes in styles and modes, therefore the whole albums sounds cohesive and having good structural integrity. For me personally, this album is very nice even though not challenging in terms of complexities and dynamics. Sometimes I feel like the song has been prolonged unnecessarily. But it's OK. Keep on proggin' ...!!!
Long disc, long review.Thomas Szirmay
I have given this 2Cd release a very wide berth, as befits all long-winded albums that, too often have glittering prizes entangled with parasitic dross. At first spin strangely, I was not overtly impressed, perhaps overwhelmed by so much compact and dense material, as if one huge epic, reminiscent of Tales From Topographic Oceans' bombastic and much debated overkill. But with repeated sonic orbits, the scenery (pun!) became clearer and somehow more coalescing towards sheer, unadulterated enjoyment. Less metallic than the glorified "Posthumous Silence" due to Volker Sohl's piano and Marco Gluhmann's massive voice now being the major architects, Sceneries is without question or any hesitation on my part, Sylvan's ultimate prog masterpiece.
Firstly, the album must be listened to in one fall swoop, absorbed and understood as the platform that will consecrate Marco as modern music's most striking voice. He has grown immensely as a vocalist by incorporating a wider variety of tone and accent, sounding analogous to such legendary singers as Bono, Peter Murphy and Steve Hoggarth while still remaining the quixotic and passionate howler that he always was. I will of course refer to these aspects later in the analysis but the music now serves a foil for some intense singing of the highest order, arguably one of prog's most evident weakness and rarity . (When Greg Lake keeps winning prog vocalist polls in 2012, you know there is a problem behind the mike!)
Secondly, the piano has most evidently become the lead magical wand, serviced by Jan Petersen's more textured axe playing, as opposed to the previous dominance by Kay Sohl and the keys becoming the coloratura. After numerous comprehensive spins that suddenly make the sounds familiar, the music becomes pristine, delicate and yet powerfully expressive, loaded with a kaleidoscope of mosaic resonance that titillates with exquisite restraint. The tight rhythm section has never been questioned though the bass is not as upfront as before. Sylvan has decided to play as a Mannschaft (team) and the results are simply astounding. But the real shocker is the voice, a confident and self-assured instrument of captivating emotion that reveals a true star at work and at play. I am still bowled over.
Only multiple auditions can bloom this forest of flowers into a paradise. The more you listen to it, the more addictive it gets. Piano and voice is how they gustily forge this monster album forward, Marco trembling passionately in bluesy kind of way, highly confident yet relaxed, a sign of incredible musical maturity, similar to love-making (fear of censors, Thomas?), you learn to relax and enjoy as you mature! The instrumental breaks are fast, at times funky and soberly furious. Like the legendary Christian Décamps of Ange, Marco can actually sing and in a multitude of textures and tones to boot! Theatrical? You bet your Shakespeare or Molière! He really can yelp, plead, caress and serenade at will, a sensitive amalgam of many brilliant voices, all ensconced in a massive torrent of sound that they have mastered, cognizant technique, musical team spirit cresting at 100% and a clear vision, which for an epic album that can only be appreciated in a complete listen must label itself as a colossal rarity! Sylvan pull it off in a myriad of spades, throw in a few shovels and some toolboxes while you are at it! Bombastic, romantic and relentlessly unhurried, with multiple bombshell twists and sublime excursions that negate categorization as just "Neo-prog". At times, symphonic, folky, jazzy and then suddenly bombastic, with splashes of alternative and modern paint This is a sizzling voyage of utter prog determination, solid and unpredictable, evocative, honest and sincere. But Marco Glühmann steals the show with a vocal tour de force performance, the elegant piano the obvious "fil conducteur" , appearing as the pied-piper of musical dreams, luxuriantly bathing in a kaleidoscope of sounds, while guitarist Jan Petersen flashes some ripping dazzle when needed and even he takes his time in exploding. Strength and restraint are the words to describe the equipoise of this Hamburg-based band of brothers (even though Kay Sohl is now gone!)
This is a humongous success with absolutely no dead weight filler and mostly colossally perfect symphonic prog, with unending innovation in exploring new vistas and expressing them accordingly. That folks (volk in German) is called genius. The atmosphere goes from the utter nadir, screaming up to up to highest Everest and they do so with gusto and panache. There are numerous winks at Marbles, Marillion's epic work but Sylvan simply blows Hoggarth and crew out of the water and I am in no way referring to the rather unglorious "Sink the Bismarck" episode in early WW2 with its massive horror casualties. Sylvan doesn't get as heavy as in the past, but when they do, hold on to your sauerkraut, the guys go on a monumental tear as they elevate their craft to a completely new level. There is even a segment where Marco sounds at times like the lascivious Peter Murphy (ex-Bauhaus), it's almost scary like a Dracula-infested Halloween party! But it works brilliantly as Marco then veers the band into new, almost Floydian territory demonstrating that controlled restraint and assuredness. The symphonic orchestrations release a new steamroller riff, doomsday explosions of despair and pain with the voice pleadingly surfing on the musical crest, going under and then over once again, reigning supreme. The psychedelics kick in and the mood gets creamier, with more Pink references and a leisurely pace only serves to further engulf the listener. By the end of the second CD, the lusty rhythms have raged furiously in whirlwind splendor, raising the bar even higher by diving and soaring according to the need and want. Petersen's axe unleashes its power liberally, weaving slippery leads almost at will, enriching the angst to the nth degree. Ebb and flow, cadence and cascade, power and glory.
As so poignantly stated by lazland, if there is one 2012 album that you need to incorporate in your collection, Sceneries is the one! Rarely have I witnessed such a cavalcade of stirring melodies on one release, panacea for the soul and ear candy for the mind. An exhilarating ride! A masterpiece has arrived.
5/5 polyvalent panoramas
The new double album “Sceneries” is the eight studio album of the Hamburg based progressive rock band Sylvan. The band stated that “Sceneries” is their longest and most personal work ever. Two CD’s cover the album which, conceptually orientated and divided into five chapters, deals with the ups and downs in life and the striving for bliss. Although conceptually planned, “Sceneries” isn’t a conceptual album in classic definition. There’s no continuous story told like on their masterpiece “Posthumous Silence”, it’s more a storyline including five individual episodes which all have in common the thematic priority: the search for those very things, that make our life worth living. In order to personalize this album the band decided to associate each chapter with one bandmember as a godfather for it, after nearly finishing the music. So the content and the final touch of each chapter was directed by one bandmember. Therewith “Sceneries” will be the most personal Sylvan album ever.Douwe Fledderus
“Sceneries” is divided into the following chapters; “Chapter 1 - The Fountain Of Glow” (14:50), “Chapter 2 - Share The World With Me” (15:05), “Chapter 3 - The Words You Hide” (20:10), “Chapter 4 - The Waters I Traveled” (20:00) and “Chapter 5 - Farewell To Old Friends” (20:33). So as you can see, “Sceneries” is an album full of compositions of epic length. But each chapter is subdivided into three or four parts. You can find the first three chapters on the first disk and the last two chapters on the second disc.
The album opens with “Chapter 1 - The Fountain Of Glow”. Part One has a slow opening wherein the delicate vocals of Marco Glümann only are accompanied by a piano melody. As the melody develops, first the guitar and then the rest of the instruments are following. Jan Peterson brings fresh new guitar sounds into the musical spectrum of the band. The music of Part One is melancholic and the beautiful melody is provided by the guitar. In Part Two the tension of the music is slowly building up by passionate sung vocals and after a break the piano melody of the first part returns. Then the music explodes towards a climax with great drumming and a soaring guitar solo. In Part Three the band slows down a little bit. The main vocal line develops towards a beautiful vocal refrain sung with a lot of passion. “Chapter 1 - The Fountain Of Glow” is a strong album opener. The band sounds fresh and driven.
Also in “Chapter 2 - Share The World With Me” you will notice that this album has very strong lyrics and beautiful vocal lines that are always sung with a lot of passion by Marco Glümann . Another thing is the frequent use of the beautiful piano melodies. In Part Two you can enjoy again one of those delicious melodic and soaring guitar solos. In Part Three Jan Peterson also uses the acoustic guitar and the music has more the character of a ballad before the tension and passion is returning into the music. In Part Four the band works towards a great climax and you can enjoy duets of passionate sung vocals and soaring guitar parts that are accompanied by a burning rhythm section.
In Part One of “Chapter 3 - The Words You Hide” first a piano melody is accompanied by a delicate vocal line. But than Volker Söhl comes up with beautiful keyboard orchestrations. The character of the music is darker than the previous chapters. The guitar sounds are aggressive and heavy. And always those passionate sung vocals of Marco. He is developing into one of the best vocalist in the Symphonic/Progressive scene. The character of the music in Part Two is much lighter with acoustic guitars and nice fretless bass parts. The melody of the vocal lines is very strong. In Part Three dark parts with a lot of tension are combined with delicate piano tunes. Some of the melodies on this album are breathtaking. In Part Four the atmosphere of the music becomes lighter and it is full of melody. After writing this line and listening to the music and lyrics once more, I noticed that Marco sings the following lyrics in the end; “Fly, my leaf, just fly away with me ... Come this way, please, come with me ... It's full of light and full of melodies! Take your time ’cos I will wait for you ...”
The second disk opens with “Chapter 4 - The Waters I Traveled”. In Part One the music is again dark and heavy and the voice of Marco is distorted a little bit. To be honest I don't like these distortions especially if the vocalist of the band has a great voice. When I mention that the music is heavy it don't mean that you can hear those hard bits you could hear on previous albums like “Force Of Gravity” and “Posthumous Silence”. It seems those hard bits are disappeared in the music of Sylvan. Personally I like this because the music becomes more symphonic and the album is more in balance. In Part Two the band slows down and the acoustic guitars are returning. Beautiful vocal lines, keyboard strings and romantic piano parts. Slowly the music becomes more intense and the band is working towards a kind of climax with passionate sung vocals and a melodic/soaring guitar solo. The music seamless goes into Part Three that starts slow and mysterious and develops into a beautiful melody with great vocal lines and guitar parts. In the end of Part Three the music becomes more threatening and dark. It climaxes with a heavy guitar solo and great drumwork. Part Four sounds like a piece of improvisation that slowly builds towards a climax and than slows down again.
The last epic “Chapter 5 - Farewell To Old Friends” opens slowly with acoustic guitar and a vocal line. Then mysterious parts are combined with beautiful melodic vocal refrains. Part Two is more uptempo, but also has parts with beautiful slow vocal lines and parts in where the tension and intensity of the music is slowly building up. In the heavy and dark Part Three you can hear again great keyboard orchestrations, a pounding rhythm section and some nice melodic guitar melodies. In Part Four the band slows down again with delicate vocal lines and beautiful melodic guitar parts. Slowly the tension of the music builds up towards the last climax of the album.
“Sceneries” is an album that only after several listening sessions reveals it's real beauty. On this album you can find some amazing melodies. The frequently used delicate piano parts are a recurring theme in the music and give the album consistency. Next to those piano parts you can also hear some great keyboard orchestrations. The new guitar player Jan Peterson passed the test on his second Sylvan studio album. He brings some new sounds to the musical palet of the band. The band sounds mature and is not afraid of developing their music. The lyrics and vocal parts are very important on this album ... and I think Marco Glümann is doing a great job on this album. As usual he sings with a lot of passion. It seems that the hard bits in the music of Sylvan has disappeared with this album. It gives the music a more symphonic character and the album is more in balance, it sounds more consistent. “Sceneries” is a very good album. And together with their masterpiece “Posthumous Silence” it is my favorite Sylvan album. “Sceneries” will be one of the albums on my list of favorite albums for the year 2012.
As I reach my 100th listening of the glorious album I find it difficult to find how anyone isn't blown away by it. Those who think that there is to much filler I cannot understand each piece is perfect as it is, beautiful instrumentation, exquisite playing, wonderful lyrics and one of the most glorious voices in all of music - I would have enjoyed more I'm sure. I wonder for those who think it to much excess also think that of the symphonies of Mahler, Bruckner, etc. A message is being delivered and it takes the exact right amount of notes to give it, the musicians who find the message only need to control the speed with which the notes are delivered and Sylvan nailed it perfectly. I've been lighting to prog since first hearing In the Court or Starship Trooper don't know which came first into my life. But was permanently hooked by Heart of the Sunrise. This album is firmly placed in my top 10 all time. It is to me the essence of Progressive music and I delight with new subtleties with every listen, much like the first 20 years of listening to Awaken & Supper's Ready. This is an album for every lover of music and is to be listened to, not background filler or sort for just for the adrenaline rush, though they are there!!! Give it 5/5 listens and see if your not hooked!Bryan Christian
A fabulous Neo Prog band from Germany who really do not have a weak album in their entire catalogue; a catalogue which is now becoming pretty impressive.demolition man
With Sceneries the focus, as usual, is on the vocals and Marco does not disappoint. His voice is certainly unique but I find it very appealing (despite having to read the liner notes from time to time) and it's very well suited to the overall sound that the band produce.
The guitar work is really impressive on Sceneries as is the keyboards too. The songs are finely written and the album seems to flow very nicely. This album did take several listens to fully absorb, which was something slightly different from some of the previous albums; notably Posthumous Silence and Artificial Paradise, (both absolute gems), which were instantly appealing for me. The band have obviously worked very hard to produce a piece of music that progresses their catalogue but without over-complication and without dipping their toes into a more popular direction (Presets)
I am really pleased that Sylvan have moved on from Posthumous Silence with continuing authority and greatness. Marginally I prefer Posthumous Silence but that was always going to be hard to top.
I eagerly await the next chapter from one of my favourite bands in the Neo Prog genre.
I am listening to the final chapter of Sceneries and WOW what an album . I never thought they would surpass Posthumous Silence but they just did .prog4ever
This story needed to be told on two disc and let me tell you no fillers here. The voice is spot on , the arrangement wonderful, the quiet moments are hair raising, the powerful moments and the symphonic one are.... well pure Sylvan's .
5/5 stars and worth every one of them. To bad we won't have a chance to see the tour in support of this masterpiece on our shores Canada that is.
Otro gran disco para que disfruten, vamos a tratar de dejarles varias cositas para que disfruten en estas fiestas. Bah, como siempre.