Back Again by Slyde

Release date: February 17, 2017
Label: Self-Released

It seems to me like the prevalence of a plethora of prog bands coming out in recent years has increased to a mammoth degree.  While there has been a substantial amount of incredibly satisfying releases to come out during that time, I’m also reminded by how many bands seem unfocused or lost in the pack.

Slyde shifts towards my latter interpretation unfortunately.  And it isn’t for lack of trying or talent, but it’s just not as attention-getting as some other bands are these days.

On their EP ‘Back Again’, the band gives us four tracks in almost nineteen minutes.  The shortness of the tracks initially worried me before I heard the music, but I figured maybe I was pre-judging a little too much and it might be possible that they packed a big punch into those song lengths that are usually much longer in the prog world.

‘Fading’ starts off the proceedings with a positive atmosphere with animated guitar and keyboards intertwined.  It’s very feverish and well played, and it’s not a bad introduction to the band if I do say so.  ‘Divide’ delivers a punchy burst with a bit of distortion and urgency in the sound, which makes this the best track on the EP for me.  It’s short and sweet, but as the music fades out, a melancholy piano piece fades in to end the song, which seems a bit out of place.  These two songs represented the best material for me on the release, and while the other songs were interesting in parts, it just wasn’t enough to hold my entire focus, even after repeated listens.

Some quick notes from me are that the drums and bass seem to stay largely in the background, which is a big problem when I pay attention to the music as a whole.  It presents itself alarmingly in the production of the EP, which provides no warmth in the sound.  Also, vocalist Nathan Da Silva has a polished vocal style which doesn’t resonate with me.  I think a more harsh and powerful voice may have complimented the band’s music more.

And while it’s good to give prospective fans some band comparisons so they have an idea of where the music might take them, I’m not entirely sure why their bio mentioned that this group is for fans of Haken, Coheed and Cambria, Rush, and Dream Theater.  Sure, in some senses they have prog elements which at times give subtle nods to the aforementioned bands, but that’s just it, subtle.

At close to twenty minutes of music featured on this EP, I can hear certain aspects in the instrumentation that have potential and can go places, but it seems once an idea starts to take shape, the band move on to something else instead of letting the idea breathe.  Maybe instead of focusing on the main layout of the song, they should let all the songwriting aspects flourish, and if that means a longer song length (no song makes it to the six-minute mark), then so be it.  If the band is comparing themselves to some progressive metal and rock heavyweights, it would make sense that it would be reflected much more in the finished product.

And let me be clear, the band can play.  They have talent.  But the problem for me is that while there were some bright spots, the sound was too formulaic for my liking.  I think making a full album for their next release, with an emphasis on song development and more exciting passages would provide a more radiant, fulfilling, and overall memorable sound.

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