A.C.T - Silence

Year of Release: 2006
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: IOMCD 263/SPV 79262 CD-E
Format: CD
Total Time: 64:28:00

Silence is not what I'd expect an album such as this to be titled. It's hard to keep quiet about this release. It's easily their best to date and when you consider the melodic wonderment they've created in the past, that's no small task.

If I weren't so reserved and didn't live on a prairie, you'd find me shouting from the mountaintops in regards to this one. Okay, I lied. Not about the terrain, because where I live, the land is far from hilly. As to my reticence, I'm not exactly shy and people have accused me of having my off-switch permanently fused in the "on" position. With that said, I plan to holler out to all my homies here.

To give you an idea how their songs sound, each would undoubtedly qualify as a candidate, if there ever were one, to the sequel of Queen's A Night At The Opera. Its genetic material spans the tribes of Spock's Beard's, Salem Hill, and Dream Theater. Like I mentioned, Queen is obviously nuzzled in there, but I hear Genesis and, oddly enough, Jethro Tull. There are moments that also draw from Echolyn, Kansas, IQ and Magic Pie. If that's not already sufficient, there is even a hint of Izz and Styx in the mix.

Individually, these artists draw from several veritable influences. The singing borrows from Freddie Mercury while the guitars are a combination of Brian May and Paul Bremner. Then there is the bass, which is a cross between John Jowitt and Dave Meros. The drums might be the hardest to categorize, but all you need to know is that they're distinguished. If I were pressed, I'd say they're an amalgamation of Mike Portnoy, Alan White, and Greg Moon. Shame on me for almost forgetting about the keyboards. My dear, I really do care and it's clear to me they're Martin Orford, maybe with a trace of Tomas Bodin of Ryo Okumoto.

I'm sincere in my assertions and entirely telling the truth. If you see them on the street, feel free to let them know they're welcome for such a set of compliments. Be advised, my allegations are accruate, neither tall tales, nor jokes, nor pranks.

While I enjoyed earlier output from this band, this album is considerably more polished. I'd go so far as to say it is superior in a substantial way. It's tweaked to perfection with absolutely little friction between its parts. With their induction into the InsideOut Music label, it seems they've brought their game to a whole new level and demonstrated a team spirit that could hardly be topped.

I'm still processing what I've heard. There's a lot to chew on in each of these newfangled cuts. It's surprising they fit it all on such a tiny platter. Like a proton, they create volume within their structured busyness. Additionally, their brilliance doesn't just trickle in on indiscriminate occasion. Instead, this intelligent creation contains 19 separate well-established, unshakable, and unwavering thoughts.

As Spock's Beard did on Day For Night, an entire suite of songs constitutes a single concept. Here they call it "Consequences" and it's comprised of 9 of their cleverest components. This stunning collection includes "Silent Screams," "Introduction" (which for some strange reason comes in the second slot), "The Millionaire," "Joanna," "A Father's Love," "Memory To Fight," "The Diary," "A Wound That Won't Heal," and "The Final Silence." It's like an insanely eccentric rendering of Dream Theater's "Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence" or Salem Hill's "Stolen By Ghosts."

No album warrants a dissertation when it has so many items to assess. If it did, this would be the one, but I'm not in the mood to go through it track-by-track and write a thesis. With all they accomplish, I'm just too lazy to commit. Even if I did, this especially would require quite the ambitious analysis.

While all the songs are remarkable, it's "the long one" that requires some additional notice. It ranges from light to heavy as well as introverted to outgoing. It has both white and dark meat in its folds. As to the fat, little does it hold. In other words, it's all good and healthy. Well, actually the storyline is sad, but the tempo is uplifting.

This is what the word masterpiece was meant to describe. If you looked it up in the dictionary, it's the very definition of progressive. However, it draws so many influences; it actually deserves its own encyclopedia entry. It's not just the melody, but the lyrical depth that makes it a tried and true magnum opus. With each listen, I ratchet my admiration and esteem up another incremental step. Considering all that this album possesses, you'll be flabbergasted by the fact there is also a computer-based bonus encoded on this disc.

As out there as it is at times, I heard two familiar melodies hidden within its internals. Firstly, there's a recurrent riff from Air Supply's "All Out Of Love" in "Consequences". Moreover, Spock's Beard's "Game Face" and The Romantics' "Talking In Your Sleep" occur elsewhere. That'd be in the song, "Out Of Ideas," which they must have fussily deliberated over in order to assemble.

For me, it's the epic that scores biggest. "Into The Unknown" is another one that I surely enjoy, but let's just stop right there. Honestly, there is something positive that comes out of every piece. When conferring over this release, it would not take long to get lost within my giddy stream of consciousness as I sincerely believe it to be a true work of genius. Yet, you have to listen to it more than once to be among those who truly appreciate it.

We've seen many great albums come and go in the modern day, but it's a rarity when one so decisively engulfs the listener in irresistible bliss... In a nutshell, A.C.T is E.X.C.E.P.T.I.O.N.A.L

{For those who didn't get it, the last period is absent on purpose - i.e. it's not a mistake in grammar. :-)}

Truth Is Pain (4:09) / Puppeteers (4:13) / This Wonderful World (4:20) / Out Of Ideas (4:47) / Hope (4:29) / Into The Unknown (3:55) / No Longer Touching Ground (4:11) / Useless Argument (4:49) / The Voice Within (3:55) / Polish, Reduce, And Enlarge (3:55)* / Call In Dead (2:51) / Consequences [The Long One]: Silent Screams (1:58) / Introduction (0:51) / The Millionaire (2:10) / Joanna (3:09) / A Father's Love (2:32) / Memory To Fight (2:43) / The Diary (3:10) / A Wound That Won't Heal (4:32) / The Final Silence (1:36)
*bonus on JP edition

Jerry Sahlin - synthesizers, lead & backing vocals, vocoder & deck of cards
Ola Andersson - electric & acoustic guitars, lead & backing vocals
Peter Asp - bass guitar, synthesizer bass & bass pedals
Herman Saming - lead & backing vocals
Thomas Lejon - drums & percussion

The Acting Orchestra:

Tomas Ebrelius - violin
Hanna Hajslund Hansen - violin
Catharina Holm - viola
John L?fgren - cello

Acting Actors:

Kenny Sahlin - additional lead vocals (2)
Martin Hedin - angry customer (11)

Today's Report (1999)
Imaginary Friend (2001)
Last Epic (2003)
Silence (2006)
Circus Pandemonium (2014)

Trifles And Pandemonium (DVD) (2016)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin SE

Added: September 15th 2006
Reviewer: Joshua "Prawg Dawg" Turner
Artist website: www.actworld.se
Hits: 8563
Language: english


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