Sensory Records: In The Silence + Cynthesis + The Custodian

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Reviews by Jason Guest

Sensory Records LogoEstablished in 1997, Sensory Records’ purpose is to bring artists with an exploratory and progressive attitude approach to the metal genre to the world. Comprised of bands whose qualities include complexity and intelligence combined with extreme power and heaviness – both musically and emotionally – their roster represents a broad spectrum of forward-thinking metal.

For your entertainment and intellectual stimulation, here we have three releases from three like-minded but sonically-distinctive bands. First, we have A Fair Dream Gone Mad, the début album from Sacramento’s In The Silence, from Pleasanton, California’s Cynthesis we have album number two, ReEvolution, and from the UK’s The Custodian comes their long-time-in-the-making début, Necessary Wasted Time. So furrow your brows folks, into Progland we go…


 

In The Silence – A Fair Dream Gone Mad

Appearing on prog metal’s shore with their debut, A Fair Dream Gone Mad, are California’s In The Silence, a versatile bunch whose technical skills are matched by their song-writing ability as well as their devotion to making music. Rather than ticking more than a few genre boxes to show off their apparent nimbleness and skill for the complex, In The Silence’s band name perhaps best captures their approach. If it doesn’t need to be said, it will remain unsaid; and if it does, it will be crafted into the finest shape that their combined skills can cultivate. This is an album that has been nurtured, its shape allowed to develop of its own accord without the interference of imperative or obligation. A Fair Dream Gone Mad is not a technical album by any stretch of the imagination, nor is it designed for showmanship. It’s in the structures, the arrangements, and the controlled musicianship of each track and the whole album where its strengths are apparent. On the surface, the structures are simple but when given close attention, it’s clear that there’s much more going on than at first appears.

In The Silence – A Fair Dream Gone Mad

And so with music and their combined musicianship as their muse, every aspect of the band is utilised to its best effect. It’s not flawless – there a few bland, predictable, even clichéd passages strewn across the album – but it’s not far off. Recommended.

8 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Ever Closer
  2. Seventeen Shades
  3. Serenity
  4. Beneath These Falling Leaves
  5. Close To Me
  6. Endless Sea
  7. All The Pieces
  8. Your Reward

 

Cynthesis – ReEvolution

It’s seeds sown in 2007, comprised of twin brothers Jasun (guitars and keys) and Troy Tipton (bass), Sean Flanegan on drums, and Erik Rosvold on vocals, Cynthesis have been bashing out progressive metal together since 2010. Harnessing all that the twins had garnered from their experience in the critically-acclaimed band Zero Hour and combining that with the evident skills of Rosvold and Flanegan, their first album, DeEvolution, was an impressive prog metal album that was conceptually and emotively overwhelming. Album number two, ReEvolution (see what they did there?), sees the band tightening their hold over their individual and combined musicianship and pushing it ever deeper into progressive territories while maintaining a focussed grasp over their melodic sensibilities.

Technically adroit, Cynthesis weave their way through ever-evolving tracks that blend complex time-signature changes with intertwining guitar lines and overlapping riffs as melodic as they are moving. While not the best lyricist – his lines relying largely on self-help philosophy and attempts at clever word play – Rosvold is a versatile vocalist (even occasionally sounding like Danzig), his voice powerful, his lines melodic and always working with the elaborate musical backdrop laid out by the Tiptons and Flanegan. While the melodic elements of the album sometimes tend toward the cliché – the music becoming soft-yet-strong while Rosvold becomes oh-so-super sensitive – as a whole, this is an remarkable album.

Cynthesis – ReEvolution

Opulently textured, multi-layered, and multi-faceted, this is a well-crafted album where the bigger picture and the details have been given equal attention for the greater good. Well worth a listen, and then a few more.

7.5 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Divine Night
  2. Convergence
  3. The Grand Façade
  4. A Most Trivial Pursuit
  5. Persistence Of Visions
  6. The Noble Lie
  7. Release The Deity

 

The Custodian – Necessary Wasted Time

The Custodian aren’t wasting anyone’s time. Look up their bio on Facebook and it says nothing about the band other than “We are simply here.” Amongst the unending stream of bands that seem to think it necessary to flood us with self-important claptrap, The Custodian are a breath of fresh air. As is their music. Musically, there’s some beautiful stuff going on, the bass lines in particular are noteworthy for their melodic, almost vocal quality. Drummer/vocalist Richard Thompson (of Xerath) has a good voice that’s well suited to the prog-and-occasionally-almost-nearly-fusion textures of each track. And the guitar work is remarkable too. Their brand of progressive rock takes in all the usual suspects, emulating many of them successfully, and makes for an interesting listen. But that’s where it stops: interesting. Predominantly mid-tempo and remaining within a fairly narrow dynamic range, there are more than a few moments when you wish, just wish, they’d ram it into the high gears and deliver something not necessarily fast but something that’s got that burn.

The Custodian – Necessary Wasted TimeNot an album that will grab you by the throat, this is one that needs to be experienced as its parts drift into place and the bigger picture unfolds. While perhaps not as necessary as the band would like you to think, your time certainly won’t be wasted. A promising debut.

7 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. The Man Out Of Time
  2. Stop Talking
  3. Other People’s Lives
  4. Persona
  5. Things We Tell Ourselves
  6. Departure
  7. The Sun Is God
  8. Necessary Wasted Time