Violent Silence - Kinetic

Year of Release: 2005
Label: Progress Records
Catalog Number: PRCD 018
Format: CD
Total Time: 50:21:00

Violent Silence is one of the latest out of the ever growing stable of artists of Progress Records. Trying to pin down their style as any one thing is hard. There are parpy, bubbling keyboard phrases, but they aren't neo-prog (except in the sense that they are new and that they are prog); there's heavy throbbing of the bass and drums, but they aren't metal. It's a new(ish) breed of progressive rock that bridges the rock and metal styles, but stakes out the territory opposite Arena, who also bridge the two styles. And unlike Arena or neo-prog, much of this is underplayed - no bold, cathartic vocal statements. Minor key, I guess you'd say. At least on the surface; underneath, the instrumentation does quite a bit in most of the piece, and it's that -- mainly keys and drums/percussion -- that keeps Violent Silence from being just another gloomy prog rock band.

Vocalist Bruno Edling doesn't have a standout voice. His style is a bit dreary, underplayed, and whiney ... of the sort that doesn't always appeal to me (and here it doesn't). In any other context, the music be ho-hum, another vocalist straining a bit against his range as he tries not to keep things flat. In all honesty, except for the keyboards, Violent Silence doesn't excite me much. The music is too... dreary. And dreary is okay - I listen to dark metal every now and then, but I'm not talking stylistically dreary, but... there's no sparkle in the arrangements. Again, except for those keyboard phrases. I'll mention here that there is no guitar. At all. And it isn't missed, as the keys ably fill in those places where you'd expect guitar.

Okay. I keep talking about the keyboards -- odd, since I'm a guitar woman, but, as I said, there ain't no guitar. So what about them? The keyboards, I mean. Well, although at times parpy, they seem drawn more from electronic music. Hannes Llunghall and Björn Westén -- yes, two keyboardists -- make some pretty sonic shapes here, abstract and fractal - the best example being the kinetic title track "Kinetic." This artiness is contagious. Listen to the xylophone-like percussion (Johan Hedman) -- or maybe it's more keys again -- opening to the otherwise swaggering "Torrential Rains" -- swaggering and often off-kilter, the frenetic rhythm is disconcerting, never quite settling into an easy groove; keeping you on edge. That turns out to be a plus (this and "Kinetic" being the most energetic pieces).

"Sky Burial" is a moody, broody piece. Though lyrically it's a positive song (ultimately), this whole dark arrangement gives off a very depressed atmosphere. Sure, it's about death (the protagonist's father has died at some point in the past), but the protagonist is finally able to move on, able to both let go and hold to that which he needs to to move on. There is a pretty, lyrical keyboard passage ... a duet of keys and, I believe, Roland... the creating billowy, cloud-like sounds, the other taking the lead. For the final minute or so, the bass (Phillip Bastin) is brought more fully into the mix (Bastin's showcase is in "Torrential Rain")

The 80s are evoked in the new-wave-ish "Subzero." It's still too electronic to be fully new-age, but some of the sonic effects certainly hark back to bit of A-ha and Blondie (specifically "Take On Me" and "Heart Of Glass," but don't really think to much about those tracks as a whole). Here's Edling's vocals remind me of ... I think it's Joe Jackson (he of "Stepping Out" fame, though he did more than just that one song). And yet, that's not quite it.

The album's epic length piece is the 18-minute "Quiet Stalker." The length probably has something to do with interminably slow vocal delivery. The first 4:30 plods along - and truly would plod if there weren't life in the instrumentation. Things liven up a bit for the passage that continues for the next minute, though still we have to wait that minute before we get a lively, parpy keyboard phrase. That lasts only seconds. But this does usher in a more dynamic section (at 6:12 or so)... and a piece that is a bit Yes-like in construction (harmonized vocals that are almost a capella... for this second time this month, "Yours Is No Disgrace" comes to mind). The extended keyboard solo section is quite nice, though perhaps a little too long in a piece that is already too long. This just-past-middle section would be a fine instrumental on it's own, a five or six minute piece that is a bit baroque at times, yet never quite going for um...baroque (if it ain't baroque, don't fix it...). And lyrically, I'm not quite sure what it's about, but there's some pretty gruesome imagery. I'm sure it metaphor, but... it's not so clearly defined.

There are a few mellower pieces, there'd have to be or you'd be driven insane. These are the fragile opening piece "Morning Star" (which lasts a mere 2:16) and the instrumental atmospheric keyboard-solo "Night Light" and the atmospheric "Homesick" (2:24) which closes out the album (which isn't truly an instrumental, as there are two vocal lines repeated.

All in all, keyboards aside... I just can't get into Violent Silence. Too dark and dreary in the wrong places. Ironic, given the album's title Kinetic - meaning "of or resulting from motion"... with a few exceptions, not much of that here.

Morning Star (2:16) / Kinetic (7:13) / Torrential Rains (6:20) / Night Lights (1:45) / Sky Burial (8:12) / Subzero (4:01) / Quiet Stalker (18:01) / Homesick (2:24)

Phillip Bastin - bass
Bruno Edling - vocals
Johan Hedman - drums
Hannes Ljunghall - keyboards
Bj?rn West?n - keyboards

Violent Silence (2003)
Kinetic (2005)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin SE

Added: May 29th 2006
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 992
Language: english


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