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Sylvaine - Wistful Award winner

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 15 September 2016, 12:50 PM

Multi-instrumentalist SYLVAINE is a one-woman project based out of Oslo, Norway. She describes the music as Alternative/Post-Rock/Atmospheric Post Metal. Formed in 2013, this new album is her second offering, and contains seven tracks. “Delusions” is the opening track as well as the longest, at close to eleven minutes. Her opening vocals surround and comfort you, like a voice in the mists of a forest that seems to come from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. From there the sound both builds and retreats, establishing a vaporous feeling of beauty, hope and nothingness. “Earthbound” is considerably shorter and has some more musical presence, including harsh vocals done in more of a traditional Black Metal style. I get an ALCEST vibe with this track. It’s depressing but in a romantic way. “A Ghost Trapped in Limbo” has stunning passages of acoustic guitar chords and a peaceful background that you could only fully understand gazing upon a tranquil waterfall in a secret watering hole.

“Saudade” is a little more linear in that the sound stays pretty consistent and unvaried. This song didn’t make as much of a dynamic impact on me as the others, but it’s still very pretty. In the Wake of Moments Passed by” is somewhat more aggressive but soft as well. The landscape is ethereal but the harsh vocals cover it with clouds, greyness and threatening skies. In the end, serenity wins out, but not without a battle. This is a particularly touching composition. “Like a Moth to a Flame” is a haunting piece that reminds me of the softer side of the band SWALLOW THE SUN.” Here, the Post-Rock is a bit more prominent and she does a wonderful job delivering the vocals with just enough presence to register with you, but sounding more like something that would sing to you in your dreams. The title track “Wistful” closes the album. This song has a lot of hidden spirit to go along with its demonstrative sound. If ever there was a piece that captured her soul, this would be the one.

The nebulous album cover of trees in the mist is about as close to what the album sounds like as can be. For me, this is definitely closer to the Ambient/Atmospheric genre than Post-Rock or Post-Metal. There are even more Black Metal/Pagan Metal/Rock elements than Alternative or Post. But, this is just reflective of my incessant need to overly-label everything. So, let’s just focus on the product as a whole. For a band on a label, the production could be better, but that is about my only piece of constructive criticism. It just sounds too muted for me, although I will acknowledge that it fits the Ambient part of the album. Some brighter elements however would have sharpened the beautiful sound in my opinion. That being said, the album is really wonderful in many deep ways. It seems to find a way to reach the outer recesses of your consciousness, and to hit the little nooks and crannies of what make you feel rather than think. Rich in texture and character, Sylvaine has a grand vision that was delivered in full here on “Wistful.”

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Delusions
2. Earthbound
3. A Ghost Trapped in Limbo
4. Saudade
5. In the Wake of Moments Passed by
6. Like a Moth to a Flame
7. Wistful
Sylvaine – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Synth and Drums
Record Label: Season of Mist Records


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