Silent Skies – Nectar
Release Date: 04/02/22
Running Time: 47:09
Review by Beth Jones
Silent Skies is a meld of minds, forming an Ambient Cinematic project between Evergrey’s Tom Englund, and Pianist/ Instrumentalist Vikram Shankar; an Evergrey fan, and a bloody talented musician. I was lucky enough to review their first release, “Satellites” previously, so when their sophomore album “Nectar” dropped into my inbox, there was no way I was letting anyone else do it.
The reason I loved their initial release was for the pure melancholy that it delivered within the sheer beauty of the music. And this new offering does more of the same, and some. Its delicate beauty cloaked in cinematic majesty is breathtaking. This album has an added melancholy, too, as guesting on it is Leprous’ cello player, Raphael Weinroth-Browne. The cello is the instrumental embodiment of wistful yearning, and it is used to absolute perfection on this record.
‘Fallen From Heart’ opens the album, and is a beautifully tender piece, which display’s Tom’s voice stunningly, not only in tone, but in dynamic phrasing. It’s real attention to detail stuff. This is where music stops being a technical ability, and becomes a deep and unexplainable feeling that musicians have. It’s magical. And this is complemented by the ethereal and haunting keys work of Vikram, which is simple and understated, but completely wonderful.
And this really sums up the whole record. It’s one of those albums that actually makes you hold your breath at certain points, such is its delicate poise. Ambient samples are used masterfully to add atmosphere, and gentle rhythms keep the songs moving. But there is a certain freeform fluidity to everything as well. It demonstrates epic musical understanding and connection. Neither the piano or the vocals are the leader, or the follower. They just work in perfect synchronicity.
I love the piano tone on ‘The One’. It reminds me of the old pianos in church halls that I played a lot in my childhood. There’s a certain air of sentimental reminiscence to this track, so it’s quite fitting that it should take me back to the bittersweet times of my youth. This track is a love song of sorts, but its meaning runs deeper than the bog standard ‘you’re the best person ever’ type love songs. It’s more a song about finding inner peace, inner worth, and learning to love yourself… At least that’s what it says to me. Maybe that’s what I needed to hear right now.
‘Cold’ has to be my standout track of the album. I love the synth line that runs through most of it, and the cello is just so sumptuous and beautiful. But the lyrics also hit me right in the feels. I haven’t connected with a song that much in a while, but it summed up perfectly a place that I have been. It’s melancholy for sure. Possibly even depressing. But it’s also surprisingly comforting. The power of music yet again speaking volumes.
My only irk on this entire album is that track 3, ‘Neverending’ fades out. Now you all probably know my feelings around fades; They set my teeth on edge with irritation! But given the context of the track, I am guessing it’s deliberate. I’m just a grump. This is simply a beautiful work of art created by two incredibly talented artists. It is serious musical brilliance made to feel and sound effortless. It is tingles down the spine, and goosebumps. That’s proper talent. I adore this album.
‘Let It Hurt’ Official Video
01. Fallen From Heart
04. Let It Hurt
05. The One
08. Better Days
Tom S. Englund – Vocals, Production
Vikram Shankar – Piano, Keyboards, Production
Raphael Weinroth-Browne – Cello
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