It's not unreasonable to presume that Dutch prog bands will be appearing at the top of many people's 'Best Prog Albums of 2014' lists. After the releases of new albums from Minor Giant and Knight Area (both featured here, look at Labels), it's now time for one of the other new Dutch giants of prog: SILHOUETTE, with their fourth CD "Beyond The Seventh Wave".
Comanded by founder guitarist Daniel van der Weijde and stunning keyboardist Erik Laan, the addition of guest musicians on strings arrangements contribute to the magic of this album. Dutch 'prog legend' Ton Scherpenzeel (Kayak, Camel) also showcases his skills on the Moog synthesiser as one of the stellar guest.
At times the music of Silhouette reminds me of those two bigger names in progland but it has a heavier bite as '80s Kansas. Van der Weijde likes playing powerful riffs to spice up some of the tracks. Erik Laan also plays an important role as being the main songwriter, performing some mind-blowing layers of keybs and especially the organ sounds are excellent.
So "Beyond The Seventh Wave" is a melodic Neo-Prog album, where the first two tracks can be described as short intros, before "Web Of Lies", divided in two parts, really gets the album going and shows us what these guys are capable of. It's a great prog song with the Moog in a prominent role.
The typical keyboard sound that we recognise from the Camel albums can be heard on "In Solitary", all wrapped by dynamic instrumentation an melodic vocals.
Then "Escape" has some hard rock influences with some powerful guitar riffs and heavier drumming. The short instrumental "Betrayed Again" opens almost classically into "Devil's Island" where the piano is used beautifully, varying and accompanying alongside the vocal melody sung by De Graeve and flautist Marjolein DeciBel.
Other great songs are "Lost Paradise" with another excellent organ solo, and the title track, while closer "Wings to Fly" is a commercial, melodic poppy song and therefore probably selected as the first single.
Listening to "Beyond the Seventh Wave" takes me back to those classic prog rock albums by bands such as Kansas, Yes, Genesis, Marillion, IQ etc. during their '80s periods.
The production is immaculate and spacious, with one foot in the past (walls of analog synths) and one in the present with dynamic instrumentation. The guitars are perfectly blended against the Wakeman-esque synths, who regularly go head to head for some very tasteful soloing.
Melody is never sacrificed at the altar of flashy technique though - this album is about delivering accessible, memorable songs, and not about impressing teenagers.
Most importantly (to my ears), each of these guys clearly has a good sense for the tone of their individual instruments, which adds together to make a very pleasing band sound as a whole.
The CD version of "Beyond the Seventh Wave" comes with a poster, a guitar pick and a flash drive with the album in a digital form.
02. Betrayed (Instrumental)
03. Web of Lies: Part I - The Vow
04. Web of Lies: Part II - The Plot
05. In Solitary
06. Escape (Instrumental)
07. Lost Paradise
08. Betrayed Again (instrumental)
09. Devil's Island
10. Beyond the Seventh Wave
11. Wings to Fly
Brian de Graeve - Guitar, Vocals
Daniel van der Weijde - Guitars
Erik Laan - Keyboards, Vocals
Rob van Nieuwenhuijzen - Drums
Gerrit-Jan Bloemink - Bass
Ton Scherpenzeel (Kayak, Camel) - Keyboards
Jurjen Bergsma and Erik Laan - add. Bass
Ruben van Kruistum (Adeia, Chris) - Cello
Laura ten Voorde (Adeia) - Violin
Marjolein DeciBel - Flute
BUY IT !