When you have the kind of talent that Czech band Silegrail have, it’s very hard to resist not doing EVERYTHING that you can do on your first album. So yes, forgive these guys for all out, over the top, all over the place album. They can do a lot of things, so they decided to do them all.
Their self-titled debut features some amazing instrumental playing (“New Dimension”), longer epic tracks (“Rivers of Fears” which goes everywhere) some vocalized, song oriented tracks (“Smell of Suicide” which doesn’t work for me) and even ends with a damn symphony (the aptly titled “Symphony of Progress”). So yes there’s a TON of ground covered with mixed results. The album starts with a short minute intro called “Introducing Silegrail” which is the typical short throwaway track that many bands do. I really wish it would stop!
“The Raven” is the proper start of the album and kicks serious ass. If you want to here some TIGHT FUCKING PLAYING, this is the track for you. Next they change things up with the aforementioned “Smell of Suicide” which is a shorter, more straightforward track that doesn’t play to their strengths. I would have left it off the album. “Look into the Past” reminds me a bit of classic Dream Theater which isn’t a bad thing.
While I like most of the epic track “Rivers of Fears,” the lyrics are far too sappy and derail an otherwise massive track. And that is part of my confusion, because Silegrail are such great musicians, they don’t even NEED vocals. Both “Disturbed” and “New Dimension” showcase the band really well. The closing track is a bit of a head scratcher. There’s nothing wrong with a 14 minute symphonic piece but it doesn’t really fit well with the bulk of the album. You can add “Goodbye Mrs Jane” and “Smell of Suicide” to that list but unlike those two, I like “Symphony of Progress.”
As I’ve mentioned, the band are great players. Drummer Patrik Sas is a BEAST. I’ve actually reviewed guitarist Jakub Tirco’s EP on here before so I knew about his talent going into this album. Bassist Lukáš Čunta is really good and keyboardist Michal Worek is phenomenal. The guest vocalists are okay. Some are better than others but again, I’d have gone all instrumental on this album. So given that I like about 3/4 of the album, I think the score is clear. If you like old school prog metal, check out the debut from Silegrail. Solid start!
1. Introducing Silegrail
2. The Raven
3. Smell of Suicide
4. Goodbye Mrs. Jane
5. Look into the Past
6. Rivers of Fears
8. New Dimension
9. Symphony of Progress