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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Silhouette - Across the Rubicon - 2012
albumcover

    
“Crossing the Rubicon” is a metaphor for deliberately proceeding past a point of no return. The phrase originates with Julius Caesar's seizure of power in the Roman Republic in 49 BC. Roman generals were strictly forbidden to bring their troops into the home territory of the Republic in Italy. On 10 January, Caesar led his army across the Rubicon River, crossing from the province of Gaul into Italy. After this, if he did not triumph, he would be executed. Therefore the term “Crossing the Rubicon” is used as a synonym to the “point of no return”.

( Silhouette website: www.silhouetteband.nl )

“Across the Rubicon” is after “A-maze” (2006) and “Moods” (2009) the third album of the Dutch symphonic rock band Silhouette. The band made good progress with the “Moods” album, the first album that was released on the Progress Records label of Hansi Cross (Cross). But after a gig, together with the Dutch sympho flagship Knight Area, I knew that the band had the potential to make an even better album. The concert was not a highlight, the band had to play without a solid soundcheck, but I noticed the potential of keyboardist Erik Laan and guitarist Brian de Graeve. Well, here it is folks ... “Across the Rubicon” ... an album full of delicious Neo-prog. The band sounds mature and the compositions are far more exciting then on the first two albums.

Gerrit Jan Bloemink - basses; Brian de Greave - guitars, vocals; Erik Laan - keyboards, vocals; Jos Uffing - drums, percussion, vocals

Special guest:
Aldo Adema (Egdon Heath, Seven Day Hunt) - guitar solos, additional guitars, orchestration, percussion; MaryO - flute, backing vocals

“Across the Rubicon” is not a concept album like it's predecessor “Moods”. It consist of eight stand alone tracks, including three epic tracks that are longer than 11 minutes. However, there is a common theme; several songs are about making dramatic choices from which there is no return.

The album opens with the short title track “Across the Rubicon” (2:18). Percussion, keyboard strings and acoustic guitars accompany the first vocals of Brian and the other vocalists of the band. This slow introduction is a kind of overture to the first epic of the album called “Breathe”. The music is keyboard drenched and the melodies and vocal harmonies are very beautiful. Brian de Greave is playing his guitar parts for the composition. Some of the melodic guitar solos on “Breathe” are played by guest Aldo Adema (Egdon Heath, Seven Day Hunt). This diverse composition shows a band that has grown. Maybe it is not very original but I love this kind of keyboard dominated Neo-prog.

Piano, acoustic guitar and keyboards accompany the beautiful and delicate vocals of Jos Uffing. “Empty Places” (4:05) is a beautiful sung ballad. The different voices are an enrichment for the sound of the band. The next track is called “When Snow's falling Down” (7:09) and again you can hear beautiful and melodic keyboard and guitar solos. The melodies on this album are great. The last vocal refrains are sung by the perfect children's choir (kids of the band members)?

Then it is time for the second epic (sung by drummer Jos Uffing) of the album called “Anybody” (11:22). The three epics of “Across the Rubicon” are the highlights of the album. Delicious melodies and fine instrumental passages give those pieces the needed variation. Erik Laan impresses with his solid and varied keyboard playing. “Anybody” has also some up-tempo parts.

On “Grendel Memories” (5:41) MaryO is singing the backing vocals. The melodic character of the song brings the name of the also Dutch band Knight Area to my mind. “Nothing” (4:22) starts with a melodic guitar part. Like “Empty Places” this is also a fine and beautiful sung (by Jos) ballad.

The third and last epic of the album is called “Don't stop the Movie” (11:56). Once again you can enjoy melodic synth solos, fine guitar parts, nice orchestrations and beautifully sung vocals (this time sung by Brian) in a Neo-prog setting. The song is further dressed with the flute of MaryO. With the catchy refrain (“nobody knows”) this song has it to become one of the live favorites. I'm curious how the fat keyboard solos will be received by the audiences of their gigs. Last news about this matter is that the band is preparing to tour together with the bands RPWL, Also Eden, Miracle and Landmarq in Europe.

“Across the Rubicon” the third album of Dutch sympho band Silhouette has impressed the press (me including). The band released with “Across the Rubicon” a good sounding and well balanced album full of fine Neo-prog. It will find it's way to the lovers of melodic symphonic rock. The overall sound is keyboard dominated but all the musicians are playing for the compositions. With three good vocalists in the band Silhouette's music gets an extra dimension. The future looks bright for Silhouette.

Douwe Fledderus - October 2012
rating - Progress Records

 

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