Sylvium, The Gift Of Anxiety, 2013
Dutch proggers Sylvium were featured here before with their instrumental EP Purified. Since that release, a lot has happened for the one man project around Ben van Gastel (guitars and keyboards). First they expanded to a real band and by now are a 6 piece. They participated successfully in the Dutch Exposure competition and now we have their first full length on offer. That is, full length? With just over 41 minutes that is open to debate. Yet those minutes are the sum of 6 tracks, so the in-crowd will no doubt be pleased.
So what have all these changes lead to? The album title refers to anxiety, a feeling of tension. fear or concern. In all honesty, the music does not give me the creeps. In my ears it is a mostly mellow affair with no real stand out tracks, let alone overly suspense. There are now vocals added to the songs Weathering and Surround. Which made me think a bit of eighties band The Mission, but with more prominent keyboards. On board is renowned bass player Gijs Koopman, and his chops are fairly prominent in the mix.
This does not mean the album is not enjoyable. In fact it is easy to connect to it. It has a certain flow but overal could use a bit more variation in my opinion. An injection of different colours to make it less bland. However, looking at the cover, maybe this is what they were after…