Fireworks

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Nad Sylvan - 'The Regal Bastard' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/09/97/75/nad-sylvan-the-regal-bastard-2-1568966712.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 16, 2019    
 
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A smashing release.

This is the concluding part of Nad Sylvan's trilogy based on his piratical vampire story and it follows on from 'The Bride Said No' which just happened to be my 2017 Album Of The Year. Seven of the nine tracks round out the tale, while the other two are bonus numbers.

The latest release has yet again been put together during gaps in his commitments with Steve Hackett and once more he's engaged a wealth of Prog talent – such as Hackett, Guthrie Govan, Nick D'Virgilio, Jonas Reingold, Tony Levin and Nick Beggs to name just a few – to work on his compositions, although he plays much of the music himself. This album reveals its delights over repeated listens as you glean more each time you play it which is no bad thing as this generally means a release has durability.
'I Am The Sea' opens eerily but soon develops into an earworm as Sylvan taps into several wonderful refrains, not least the fabulous chorus. Govan delivers a fine guitar solo. 'Ohau' evokes seafaring through the music and the lyrics, while Sylvan shows that he's no slouch on guitar or keyboards with both harpsichord and synth solos alongside some decent riffage.

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'Whoa (Always Been Without You)' has a fine swagger and another catchy chorus; the guitar work puts me in mind of post-Hackett Genesis and there are some bass pedal motifs that Prog fans will lap up. 'Meet Your Maker' features a duet with the excellent Tania Doko and more fine keyboard runs from Sylvan, particularly on the Hammond Organ, plus another chorus that gets into your head.

The title-track is a true epic and it's wonderfully augmented by the use of real string orchestrations which alongside the other facets of the arrangement give rise to a Big Big Train comparison, not least D'Virgilio's wonderful drum patterns. 'Leave Me On These Waters' is a lament that wends its way languidly on the back of Nad Sylvan's fabulous vocal refrains; as is the case elsewhere on the album, the vocal arrangement is terrific. Govan's understated solo is perfect for the song's feel. 'Honey I'm Home' is an uplifting instrumental (aside from the background "ah's") and it has Hackett providing the guitar solo.

'Diva Time' is a moody number on which Anders Wollbeck excels on keys and guitar, while 'The Lake Isle Of Innisfree' is a stripped back affair and a beautiful way to complete another smashing release.

Gary Marshall

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