SILVER KEY – In The Land Of Dream (2012)
thanks to Steven
Having started as a Marillion and Fish tribute act, Italy’s SILVER KEY delivers a sound reminiscent of well, actually, a whole host of ’80s Neo Prog acts with everyone from Pallas, Twelfth Night, Galahad, Arena and of course Marillion coming to the fore.
It has actually taken the quintet of Yuri Abietti (vocals), Carlo Monti (guitar), Davide Manara (keys/synths/samples), Viviano Crimella (drums) and Alberto Grassi (bass) a full decade to go from band inception to this debut effort “In The Land Of Dreams”.
It has been well worth the wait, with this first foray being an intricate, far reaching concept piece that works wonderfully both lyrically and musically.
The band’s name actually comes from the works of HP Lovecraft and it would appear that the songs themselves also lean heavily in that direction for their inspiration.
Keyboards and Synths are the main focus of the music, with Manara ruling the roost in a most expansive manner. Pompous and uncompromising one moment, plaintive and beautiful the next. It really makes for a keyboard lovers delight.
That’s not to suggest that Monti doesn’t provide some punchy guitar riffs and searing solos, or that vocalist Abietti doesn’t have a captivating attack, which is almost accent-free. They both do.
However latch onto the sublime melodies of “Learn To Let Go”, bombastic themes of “In The Land Of Dreams” or the piano led “More Than I Can”, which introduce the album, and are the keys, synths and samples that set the tone.
Then, after the first four tracks we are led on a long journey through a continuous epic 30 minutes of music split across nine tracks, with the guitars being cranked, the bass booming and the drums becoming more dynamic.
All that is tied to spoken word samples and a more poised approach, yet still the glorious key work never eases, leaving you totally beguiled and convinced by the sumptuous full sound.
The themes continue to range from galloping romps to sedate meanders, but the music never loses its purpose, neither does anything here feel surplus to requirements.
Abietti’s slightly quirky vocals are hugely effective, preferring a more Stuart Nicholson (Galahad) “storytelling” style than the usual am-dram neo attempts – although actual comparisons are refreshingly difficult to make – his voice ably driving the story forward, while keeping you transfixed with his spirited attack.
“The Gaunt Man” comes over all Arena-like, while “Through The Gates Of The Silver Key” has an undoubted Genesis vibe.
However the real power comes from soaking up the whole album in one sitting, with the huge array of sounds and ideas cascading over you, a bright, full production clearing the way.
As debut efforts go, “In The Land Of Dreams” really is rather special.
Yes, it is Neo Prog as you’ve come to expect it with influences by many established acts, but Silver Key are in the search for new horizons in this genre.
“In The Land Of Dreams” it’s really a new form of Neo Prog never heard before, captivating and original. The arrangements, the twists, the way the band explores the melodies are truly impressive.
Don’t be afraid, although there’s intrincate passages and busy intrumentation, this is a highly easy listening work plenty of beautiful melodies alternating brilliant uptempo moments with soaring sweet landscapes wrapped by a superb production.
Definitely a Highly Recommended listen for everyone.
01. In the land of Dream
02. More Than I Can
03. Learn To Let Go
05. The Loss Of The Silver Key
06. The Guant Man
07. The Running Kid
08. The Guardian Of The Seventh Seal
09. Through The Gates Of The Silver Key
10. Dim Carcosa
11. The Silver Key
12. The King Of Light
Yuri Abietti – vocals, guitar
Carlo Monti – guitar
Alberto Grassi – bass
Davide Manara – keyboards
Viviano Crimella – drums, percussions
BUY IT !