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

Those of you who had the privilege to see this band live (such as yours truly) most definitely know what a unique band this is. They are one of the only bands to fuse melodic rock, prog, pop and pompous elements into something that delivers an exclusive trademark patented by the one and only ACT. With their move to Inside Out hopefully more of you will finally discover what a great bunch of talented individuals this band really is. Silence is the band's fourth full CD, delivered three years after their acclaimed Last Epic.

No doubt the focal point in this band has to be the witty and energetic lead vocalist Herman Saming. Not only does this guy have an extremely versatile voice but he also possesses kind of a rubber face delivering all kinds of grimaces which next to the superb music also adds extra life to the whole. Herman is a well-known face in his homeland Sweden where musicals is concerned, which perfectly explains his ease on stage. Contrary to a lot of prog singers, Herman uses the stage, his body, his actions to add extra animation into this musical style which sometimes is regarded as being too stiff. To me Herman Saming is a bouncing ball of boiling lava. The musical experience guarantees a wide vocal range which embraces a lot of different atmospheres and feelings. Already opener "Truth Is Pain" contains everything which makes ACT so unique. Next to the very melodic singing there's a superb rockin' backing fuelled by excellent drumming with extra strings in the arrangement and ace guitar playing throughout. It's great to see this song at the very beginning as it really contains all the elements that are typical ACT (of course you have to dream up the visuals as an ACT DVD for sure will even be more enthralling). Also "Puppeteers" contains a very strong melody with Queen-like harmonies spread over kind of a Saga backing. And it doesn't stop here as "This Wonderful World" grabs you in a delicate way with once again a very powerful melody and a divine string section. Personally I'd love to see this band work with a real orchestra or at least a live string section as opposed to "strings out of a box"! Real violins and cellos most certainly would add much more power to the band's excellent music.

Produced by Martin Hedin, keyboard player with Andromeda in which ACT drummer Thomas Lejon also performs, the band's music has undergone a more mature approach compared with their previous offerings. Resulting in a mix of Saga, Rush, ELO, It Bites and Muse, it very much remains ACT -- or should we say A.C.T, as the band's name is indeed an abbreviation which the band members simply won't explain. So fill in at your own peril! In "Hope" Herman illustrates how high his pitch really is. Totally unexpected, the song suddenly delivers what has to be one of the strongest melodies on the album which is soon washed away by breaks and rhythm changes to keep it interesting all the way. When I listen to "No Longer Touching Ground," I'd love to see these guys work together with producer Roy Thomas Baker who could most definitely push this band even higher; much higher, in fact! As soon as "Useless Argument" starts, the name Rush pops up, as this most definitely sounds like recent Rush material to me. But that's before the song once again changes towards authentic A.C.T territory. When piano and voice collide as in "The Voice Within" there's a slight haze of Supertramp which also steps in, and with the band's great gift of composing outstanding catchy melodies this comparison surely is well deserved. The band even steers the song towards a little jazzy intermezzo before picking up where they left off. And if you thought you'd heard it all then wait for "Call In Dead" where Queen fuses with ? ska and reggae! For sure the band wants to prove how talented and versatile they are. Honestly guys this wasn't necessary as we've understood all along!

With ten songs gone we're kind of halfway through as a further nine compositions wait for us! But these nine individual songs have been put together under the coordinated name of "Consequences" (now wasn't this a prestigious 3LP set by Godley & Cr?me once?). It is not my intention to fully describe this epic as I want it to be a surprise for you from beginning till end, but all I can say is that it's A.C.T's very own "mini-opera."

A.C.T is prog's answer to A-Ha, filled with accessible twists and turns but all wrapped up in an arrangement which has the words "adult rock" written all over it. If you like your music to be more compelling but hate the more complex nature of certain bands on the circuit, then A.C.T most definitely is your answer!

Don't forget to slide this CD in your computer's CD-ROM drive as it contains a nice multimedia bonus (a great live rendition of "Mr. Landlord," so you can see just how good this band is live!).

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)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin SE

Added: October 29th 2006
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.myspace.com/actworld
Hits: 1117
Language: english


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