Silent Voices – Reveal The Change
Silent Voices – Reveal The Change (2013)
Reviewed by Daniel Millard
Wherever I read about Silent Voices, they’re almost always referred to as “the Sonata Arctica keyboardist and bassist’s “other” band”. Prior to Reveal The Change, I’ve been aware that this project deserves considerably more attention than that, and I’m hoping that now, with a release on Inner Wound and some good distribution, this album will finally accomplish just that for these five devoted Finns.
While this is Silent Voices’ fourth studio album, I’m only really familiar with 2004’s Infernal, which was a impressive blind buy a few years back. Based solely upon this comparison, Reveal The Change is an update and improvement in a number of ways, and Silent Voices joins the ever-burgeoning ranks of long-silent bands that have put forth a strong effort in the past year. Stylistically, this release hasn’t deviated much from the band’s prior works, but is perhaps more accessible. For those who have never heard the band before, I’d describe them less as power metal (as seems to be the tendency), but rather more like Royal Hunt with less symphonic work, occasional power metal portions, more “traditional” progressive structure and behavior, and a frontman that sounds much more like Sinbreed’s Herbie Langhans than D.C. Cooper.
Straight from opener “The Fear Of Emptiness”, it’s clear that Silent Voices has maintained and improved upon its knack for blending apt vocal melodicism with textural rhythm guitar, sleek keyboard and organ, and Dream Theater-esque acoustic guitar arpeggios (see “No Turning Back” and “Through My Prison Walls”). The opener boasts a striking chorus that shows off Teemu Koskela’s considerably potent pipes, and he’s allowed the chance to ramp up a number of times throughout the album. “Faith In Me” is a very good song as well, featuring a distinctive synth hook, and with Tony Kakko taking the lead throughout the song, you’d swear this was proggy mid-00’s Sonata Arctica at times!
Where Reveal The Change fails a bit is in keeping the interest level of these tunes high. During “No Turning Back”, some of “Black Water”, and long-runner “Through My Prison Walls”, there is no shortage of descent into “professionally dull” rhythmic prog-trudging that simply gets weary. Each of these songs could have thirty seconds to two minute portions surgically removed from them without losing anything at all – take the first two minutes of the epic, for example: there’s little build up; it just sounds like an extrapolation of the typical moody prog acoustic arpeggiation with a few background elements tossed in. When the song legitimately begins, it gets rolling quite nicely.
Despite this, and unlike many prog bands, I don’t feel that Silent Voices comes off as pretentious in any way, shape, or form. Rather, I think the band is holding its influences just a bit too closely to the chest, and only steps out to release its creativity occasionally. When Reveal The Change does this, it’s an expertly effective brand of melodic prog that proudly rings true, but in a number of places, sounds too much like an unambitious rehash of numerous prog acts from the past dozen years or so. Still, I think this is the band’s best and most novel effort to date, and encourage fans of the genre (especially those who appreciate the various references I’ve tossed out) to drop in on it – if for no other reason than the smashing opener and some great vocal work (both lead and guest).
3.75 // 5