|Review: Silent Memorial - Retrospective|
Label: Limb Music Products
Year released: 2009
Genre: Progressive Metal
Review online: June 1, 2009
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Their first release in a decade, Silent Memorial finally give us album number two. With the addition of a bassist and new drummer plus the awesome Mike Andersson handling the vocals, the band is on top form. Immediately comparisons can be made to Dream Theater, which will be frequent throughout the review. A lot of the material mirrors DT circa Images & Words or Awake – something I don't have an issue with on this release - there are some pretty cool nods to DT, and of course DT now sound completely different to what they did then. Of course other influences can be heard throughout the release, acts such as Ray Alder-era Fates Warning and Evergrey come to mind in places and obviously with Mike Andersson handling vocals, comparisons can be made to Cloudscape.
Album opener "Human Mind" kicks off with modern-esque prog riffage that we've come to expect from the genre. Kevin Moore-style keyboard work dances around the riffage, resulting in a pretty effective sound. The adventurous instrumental work calms down to a steady chug in the verses, never detracting from the excellent vocal work. In between there are some really nice guitar and keyboard runs that really bring DT to mind, especially the run from 2:12 into the track which sounds very similar to the solo section from "6:00" on DT's Awake. "Differences" bears some Fates Warning moments up until the chorus which sounds a lot like Cloudscape. Obviously the centre piece of this album is the goliath title track which clocks in at over 22 minutes – a progressive feast on the ears displaying immense riffage, marvelous use of keyboards and stellar rhythm work. The only slight downside to the track is amongst the cool as hell "Metropolis"-like mid-section to which they added in the James Bond theme, which I found utterly lame. "The Darkest Hour" is a personal favorite although the intro was blatantly lifted from Evergrey's "A Touch of Blessing". Hell even the keyboard build up and drum snap is present. The final tracks stray from the plagiarism of the previous five, although as a result are a little less memorable.
Overall this is a pretty cool release that serves as a decent homage to the world of Progressive Metal; the Dream Theater moments are cool as hell and really fun. With their next release I would like to see more in the way of originality and creativity. Despite the almost copycat moments this is still a worth addition to any prog fans collection – hell if you're still bitter about the fact DT don't sound like they did on Images & Words, this is a surefire purchase.
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