Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Within Silence - Return From The Shadows
   
Musical Style: Power/Progressive Metal Produced By: Within Silence
Record Label: Ulterium Country Of Origin: Slovakia
Year Released: 2017 Artist Website:
Tracks: 9 Rating: 90%
Running Time: 59:16

Within Silence - Return From The Shadows

Within Silence first appeared on the Angelic Warlord radar in 2015 when the Košice, Slovakia based five piece released its Ulterium Records debut full length Gallery Of Life, a work that we graded at 85% and later placed in the number 14 spot on our annual top 25 list.  The group returns in the fall of 2017 with its Ulterium sophomore effort (October 27 release in Europe and North America) Return From The Shadows in which it continues to pursue a dual melodic metal and power metal basis.  Musical comparisons, as a result, remain unchanged - Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius and Theocracy - in that Within Silence stays true to a European influenced sound with its emphasis on keyboards, classical elements and overall faster tempos.  Lone difference and further reinforcing comparison to the as noted is how Return From The Shadows finds Within Silence playing up the greater progressive aspect to its songwriting by making occasional forays into ten minute epic territory and even longer.

What has not changed is that the group, not unlike melodic power metal Slovakian countrymen Signum Regis, eschew a high pitched vocalist along the lines of Geoff Tate (Queensryche) and Norman ‘Ski’ Kiersznowski (Deadly Blessing, Faith Factor) in that front man Martin Klein returns with his melodic and soaring middle register style.  Now, I enjoy the high-end vocalist thing as much as any hard music fan, but I have equal appreciation for those - and Matt Smith of Theocracy comes to mind here - that prove equally adept while not attempting to hit every high note imaginable.  Hence, the fitting presence that is Klein, whom reminds me slightly of Gordon Tittsworth (Images of Eden, All Too Human) in terms of style and approach (very good company in terms of comparison I might add).  

Also similar to Theocracy and Signum Regis, Within Silence on Return From The Shadows maintains its affinity for open and forthright prose in which it makes unmistakable statements of faith.  Further details in regards to this later, but song titles such as “Children Of Light”, “Calling From The Other Side”, “The Final Victory” and “Master” leave little doubt as to where the group is coming from lyrically.

Opener “We Are The Ones” effectively embodies what Within Silence are about.  The song sets an expeditious tone from the get go - sinuous as bass breathes in the backdrop - with its conclusive front to back momentum but fails to forsake melody all the same, as found in the sweepingly catchy chorus.  Group makes room, at the same time, for ample instrumental aptitude.

“Heroes Must Return”, of which the group released a single and recorded a video, tempers initiative while correspondingly elevating guitars and keyboards.  Upshot is the second solid work in a row, as the group continues to play up its affinity for the engaging and Klein stretches and reveals the depth to his effortless voice.  Lone complaint is that I could have done without the ‘whoa, whoa, whoa, ooh, ooh’ backing vocals, which get a bit repetitive.

“Children Of Light” affirms a technical power metal flair.  This one carries over the heaviness, with verses composed but august in maneuvering to thickly woven guitars, while refrain elevates the emboldened sentiments with its baritone feel.  All the while, another melodic bass line, courtesy of newcomer Viktor Varga, deftly holds the low end together.  This one would sound right at home on any Theocracy album.

Within Silence reveals its more aggressive side on “Calling From The Other Side”.  A full on speed metal romp, the song holds to an implacable tempo its short (three minute) length as it churns to shouted backing vocals, fleet soloing (credited to Richard Germanus) and a brief appearance of roughly hewn extreme vocals at the halfway point.  The change of pace “Calling From The Other Side” brings to the table helps to rank it with my albums favorite tracks.

Sixteen minute “In The Darkness” represents the Within Silence magnum opus in similar fashion as “Mirror Of Souls” is to Theocracy.  The song is intrinsic to too many twists and turns, and time and tempo changes to go into adequate detail, but highlights include the instrumental opening that segues from open-air guitar to symphonic choir vocals, and transcended verses that indicate a towering if not regal feel.  Of equal note is the instrumental interlude to include solos from both guitarists (Germanus and Martin Cico) in addition to a quieter piano-based passage over the final half in which Klein unveils some well-timed falsettos.  Tying everything together is the commanding refrain in which the symphonic choirs return.

“The Final Victory” begins to several seconds of piano, but at just the moment it leaves impression as a ballad, it takes off with a fury of pent up momentum.  Moving forward at an upbeat double bass driven tempo, the song is inclusive to fitting doses of polished harmony vocals and every bit sleek guitar harmonies, both of which lend to the worshipful metal feel at hand (as found in the dignified refrain): ‘We are praising our God. For His mercy and light’.  An uplifting and inspirational feel is the gist.

Within Silence draws upon a pop element on melodic harder rock “You & I”.  this one makes the albums most commercial statement, honed and too the point with its sleek (almost radio friendly) demeanor but also delivering ample doses of bristling guitar edges.  Of all the albums material this one best reflects an eighties influence (somewhat akin to Stryper).

Album hits its stride with the Seventh Avenue like power metal of “Master”.  The song represents up-tempo manifest, with timekeeper Peter Gacik delivering prodigious doses of double bass and guitar team of Germanus and Cico bestowing melodies and harmonies of an every bit assuming nature.  The ‘Master - I will never be the same.  Master - You are always on my side’ refrain proves every bit heavy hitting as it is engaging.  Instrumentally, things descend to several seconds of tightly woven guitars.

Ten minute “Return From The Shadows” closes things in strong fashion.  Not unlike “In The Darkness, albums title track comes across in the form of a consummate progressive epic, with moments touching upon the calm and acoustically tranquil to those moving at a forward tempo to galloping riffs to instrumental passages inherent to melodic soloing.  In between, the maze like joining of resplendent verses and majestic refrain - bursting with melody either way - speaks of Shadow Gallery and Theocracy at their very best.  Alongside “In The Darkness”, this is going to challenge for song of the year.

Production and packaging, as is the case with Ulterium releases, is up to standard.  With mixing and mastering handled by Roland Grapow, the album shines with its polished feel in allowing for plenty of animated bass, profound guitars and even balance of vocals.  Likewise, cover art (courtesy of Jan Yrlund) stands out alongside a multi-page mini booklet inclusive to lyrics, band photos, liner notes, etc.

As noted, the Within Silence prose makes strong statements of faith, as can be found on “Master” -

I can hear You through my prayers
I can see You in every face

I will praise Your holy name
Fall that You have done
On the third day You rose from the dead
Nothing can fill our space
Except Your holiness

- and “We Are The Ones”:

We are the ones who never die
Our spirit will exist for all time
You are our life, You are our light
We will be united in Your kingdom come

You are my soul
With You I can’t fall
Together we will live forevermore

“Children Of Light” is aptly entitled:

The end is near
You’re the first and the last
I call to the dark, I call to the light
You’re the sun that will bring us new day
We will fly away

Spellbound by crown
They follow their own rules
They are blind
The world of Your cross is madness to those
Who’re seeking the night

“In The Darkness” asks questions:

I have never felt such emptiness
My future is so unclear
Why am I here?
What’s my mission?
What’s reality?

It is so hard to bear my loneliness
I am all alone with my memories
Oh God are You here with me?
Do You really hear my thoughts?
I am scare, are You watching me?
Awaken my heart and fill it with Your love

Within Silence has taken the next step songwriting wise on Return From The Shadows, as found in choice pieces (at least to this reviewers ears) “Calling From The Other Side”, “You & I” and “Master”, not to mention the two epics in the albums title track and “In The Darkness”.  By giving rise to an added element of the progressive, the group has added an extra dimension to its sound, a particular in which I hope it continues on future releases.  Band performance remains top notch, noting the mid-paced vocals to Klein and choice guitar team of Germanus and Cico.  In the end, I see Return From The Shadows potentially challenging for album of the year- or at the very least being a strong contender. 

Review by Andrew Rockwell

Track Listing: “We Are The Ones” (4:02), “Heroes Must Return” (5:06), “Children Of Light” (5:18), “Calling From The Other Side” (3:20), “In The Darkness” (16:46), “The Final Victory (6:44), “You & I” (3:51), “Master” (4:21), “Return From The Shadows” (9:49)

Musicians
Martin Klein - Lead Vocals
Richard Germanus - Guitars
Martin Cico - Guitars
Viktor Vega - Bass
Peter Gacik - Drums

 

Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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