Above the Others
Until recently, German heavy/power metal band Silverlane has completely escaped my attention (somewhat surprising, since they seem to get a modest amount of press at least), but with the release of “Above the Others”, they seem to have stepped up their game a bit. With no previous experience, I had nothing to color my judgement of their new release.
Silverlane's plan of attack is more or less straight-up fast-paced power metal, with occasional bouts of more traditional metal stylings, as well as some symphonic flair from time to time. They display a bit of progressive songwriting ambition with the four-part song “The White Lady”, but otherwise this is a pretty straightforward album that doesn't stray too far from its roots by trying to do anything experimental. As such, it ends up being an enjoyable and quality outing that has a distinct charisma about it.
Vocalist Ecki Singer has one of those rough-edged voices, but rather than singing with a power/thrash group like Primal Fear or Morgana Lefay, we've got polished melodic power metal. Generally, those vocalists with a bit of a gravelly tone don't sit too well with me in bands like Silverlane, but there's something different about Singer. His vocals are just slightly abrasive, yet quite accessible and listenable.
In other news, “Above the Others” is just as solid instrumentally as it is vocally. The keyboards are extremely tasteful and melodic, and achieve a pretty prominent position in the mixture. Thumbs up to keys player Dorothee Schmitt for an excellent performance! Silverlane also boast some great solos that excel in their dirty distorted tone. Well-suited for their music, these solos are a great companion to Singer's aggressive vocal stylings. All elements combined make for a well-defined atmosphere. Better than a lot of melodic heavy and power metal bands that tend to carry the same feel through an entire album, Silverlane truly excel at sculpting their tunes into very unique tracks. The title track “Above the Others” has a soaring, triumphant feel that captivates the listener. “Ready to Rock” is an unoriginal track and concept (you can guess where it goes), but is a straightforward rock and roll tune that Heavy metal fans will enjoy. Most notably perhaps is the aforementioned four part song, wherein the musical scenery changes somewhat drastically between each song. The final two parts of “The White Lady” exemplify this. “Between the Trees” builds a haunting atmosphere, describing a murderer with a guilty conscience, whereas “Days of Sorrow” scales up to a grand chorus that is a plea for redemption:
“Can you save my soul from these days of sorrow
Can you take away all these years of pain
Can you save my soul, there's no tomorrow
On the other side, there's another life waiting for me”
The more that I listen to this album, the more that I like it and the richer it becomes. It's not quite on par with some of the best releases of the year, but it's fresh, remarkable, and very enjoyable. Fans of euro-power and melodic metal should look over this one. This is one face of the new generation of melodic power metal that is providing the scene with good looks and quality music.
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The Protagonist's Rating: 8.0 out of 10