Silhouette - The World Is Flat,
For me, I will always associate Progress Records with Hansi Cross, who sadly passed away earlier this year. But, although Hansi is no longer with us, the label he left behind continues to release albums of incredible stature and worth. That is definitely the case with Dutch band Silhouette’s fifth studio album. ‘The World Is Flat and Other Alternative Facts’. Somehow, I missed their last studio album, although I did manage to hear their live album which was released earlier this year. I gave a 4 * review to their third album ‘Across The Rubicon’ which came out in 2012, and there is no doubt in my mind this is superior.
This has everything I want from a prog album, great melodies, wonderful musicianship, soaring vocals, layered arrangements that can appear almost simple at times, and never forgetting that the music always must come first. They may all have wonderful virtuoso skills, but how does that fit in with what is needed? Brian de Graeve (lead & backing vocals, 12-string guitar), Daniel van der Weijde (electric & acoustic guitars), Erik Laan (keyboards, bass pedals, lead & backing vocals), Jurjen Bergsma (bass, acoustic guitar, backing vocals) and Rob van Nieuwenhuijzen (drums, percussion) have created something that contains elements of Yes and Neal Morse alongside more melodic rock elements, as well as plenty if prog. The vocals are superb, and everything somehow gels together seamlessly. One can’t imagine another instrument or note needed anywhere, yet there is nothing superfluous in what they are doing. This is majestic, soaring prog that makes me smile each time I play it. And I have been playing it a great deal indeed.
When discerning progheads compile their top albums of the year list soon, there is no doubt that this will be one to reckon with. From acoustic 12-string to heavily layered arrangements to rock guitar, this has it all and so very much more. I love it. This is simply essential to anyone who dares call themselves a progger.