Silent Exile - Dancing With Death

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Naivlys Music
Catalog Number: CD SE0001
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:19:00

Quebec's Silent Exile's Dancing With Death is a densely packed album, whereby the whole thing seems very busy; there's almost always something happening, leaving very little breathing space. Keyboard accents are mostly what fills that space, sometimes seeming out of place (something I first observed on the first real track "Walls Of Society."). On "On The Hill" the closeness just becomes too much - a wall of sound that seems relentless, though there are a few hints at Rush in the sound. Vocalist Chriss J.Y. sounds a bit like Tony Lewis, vocalist for the pop-rock band The Outfield, especially on "Walls...". Silent Exile's approach is a little harder edged though, as most tracks approach power metal velocity. There are nods toward Dream Theater, too, though I don't find them too overt.

There are some nice moments musically on this CD, "Stratosphere" and "Silent Witness" being two of them, though I'm impressed more by the observations they make than their actual execution. "Silent Witness" is perhaps the most clearly defined of the album's 7 tracks - it is part two of a two-song suite entitled "Images Of War."

The lyric writing isn't very strong and often seems awkward ... but they do have some very strong ideas. "Stratosphere" seems to fare best, using metaphor and illusion to describe the wastings of death - well, a certain kind of death. "Sinking into your delirium/holding tight Morpheus' hand..." for example, which seems more like a Keats line than anything ... especially that latter line. I read it, in one interpretation, as referring to a dependence on morphine in order to keep the pain away - illness. The rest of the lyric reads:

"In the abyss, pain you might escape
Panting, nightmares, burning lungs
In the dark October air
This stranger is your own flesh

Though, given that the next lines (a chorus of sorts) refer to alcohol, perhaps it less escaping from illness and rather an illness of escaping - addiction. Quite a bit is going on in the track.

Who is the "Silent Witness"? I imagine it to be many different people or groups. Nations that stand by and do nothing while another nation slaughters its people. The reporter or photographer who can't put down that microphone, pen, or camera to help the victim of some brutal crime (of course, doing so puts their own life at risk...). And folks that turn away from the pictures in TIME because they just can't bring themselves to look. But also, those who decide war is the only option overlook the fact that war doesn't just involve the two heads of state and not just the soldiers that do the actual fighting, but ordinary citizens, and children... War informs most of the tracks here, thus the title Dancing With Death.

Anyway, these are but two of the various interesting ideas on the album (the most interesting of the two actually) ... I just think the execution is lacking a bit. It's an okay album, and a promising debut ... some other notes: "Broken Dreams" owes to Images And Words-era Dream Theater though Chriss only mimics LaBrie's style not his tone or tenor. The album opens with a weird cacophony of voices laughing and ... well ... sounds like party. A party where Death is the guest of honor.

The Brain Dance (0:46) / Walls Of Society (6:43) / Stratosphere (8:12) / Broken Dreams (4:15) / On The Hill (5:52) / Glase Maakerstraat (8:02) / Images Of War Thunder On Ashland (6:58) - Silent Witness (7:51)

Chriss J.Y. - vocals
Fabrice Blanchet - guitars
Cedric Rioux - keyboards
Sylvain Gagnon - bass
Denis Ainsley - drums

Dancing With Death (2000)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin CA

Added: August 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 832
Language: english


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