Surrilium are a German band who state there is a “difference between the Progressive Rock you know, and the Progressive Rock we play.” Indeed there is. Unfortunately, the prog rock I know isn’t afraid to play a solo. The best label I could give Surrilium is neo-prog but with a somewhat Renaissance slant. Not being a fan of Annie Haslam, who I think Seraina Telli sounds like at times.
That’s another issue. Telli sounds like someone more at ease with gentle music and certainly nothing as adventurous as true prog. Her look is at odds with her voice as well. She has multiple colored hair and piercing yet her voice is bland and generic. Perhaps spending less time worrying about her look and more time pushing her voice might help matters.
This leads back to the aforementioned lack of solos. The album has so much vocals on it, you’d swear it was Telli’s solo album. Everytime she would stop singing, the band would play what seemed like an intro to a solo section, they pause…and Telli starts singing AGAIN. It became maddening.
The title track is 30 minutes. You’d assume there would be beautiful musical sections. You’d be wrong. In fact there isn’t a guitar part of note until about 7 minutes left in that song but it’s not even a solo. Just a repetitive part much like they do with the keys in the previous songs.
With all of the vocals, you’d also think there would be memorable lyrics or melodies. Not really. The lyrics are so obsessed with telling a story, they ignore trying to capture the listeners attention. While listening to this album, it lost my attention more than a few times.
What makes this frustrating is that the band itself sounds like they can really play but they seem so tentative that they never do. They just wait around for Telli to sing. She is always in tune and I am sure many people will enjoy her voice. It’s pleasant enough just not one I could pick out of a crowd.
All in all, “Sir William” is all pomp and no purpose. Fans of neo-prog and even folk prog will find it enjoyable. It’s just not for me. To me, prog has to challenge the listener and be memorable. Surrilium did neither.
Rating: 4.5/10 (give it three more points if you ONLY listen to neo-prog)
1. Tales of a Madman 1
2. Tales of a Madman 2
3. Tales of a Madman 3
4. You Mean the World to Me
5. Sir William