In the modern progressive metal scene, there are two distinct groups of bands - those who are content with riding on the waves of the genre leaders and those with intent of creating something new and previously unheard of. Being in the first category isn't necessarily a bad thing considering all of the great acts that can be called "derivative", although the sheer amount of promising young acts without a sound of their own is disappointing. Although Silver Lake has crafted a fairly good debut here, this is one of those cases where the band's lack of originality tends to impact my listening experience drastically. Italy's Silver Lake is undoubtedly a talented group of musicians that know how to write good music, but they just don't take enough risks here to satisfy this reviewer. Fans of progressive metal that are looking for a well-played (albeit clichéd) example of the genre should be more than pleased here, even though I can't say I've been completely won over.
The music on Silver Lake is fairly standard-sounding prog metal music. Expect influences from prog metal bands like Dream Theater, Fates Warning, and Symphony X in addition to a few more traditional power metal tendencies. Silver Lake doesn't take many risks on their debut album, but they certainly deliver a high-quality style of progressive power metal. Most of the songs here are interesting listens, filled to the brim with lush keyboards, heavy riffing, and melodic vocals. From a compositional and delivery standpoint, Silver Lake is a very talented young act, but I can't help but think that they've played it a bit "safe" here. There's no doubt that there are hundreds of acts on the scene right now that sound very similar to Silver Lake, and a non-adventurous attitude like this won't lead to as much recognition as these guys deserve. If Silver Lake can develop a more unique style in the future, I could see them making a progressive metal album that will entirely win over this reviewer. As far as this humble debut is concerned, it shows a talented and promising young band that isn't quite at their prime yet.
The production sounds clean and crisp, but there are some distortion problems in the promotional copy I have. Hopefully those will be fixed by the time the album hits store shelves.
Silver Lake is an album that is ultimately more promising than impressive, though it's still an enjoyable listen for me. This isn't an incredibly special or outstanding effort, but it's a great example of perfectly competent progressive metal. The music just comes across as way too safe for my tastes - I really wish the band would've taken a few more risks here. Still, this is an enjoyable progressive metal debut album worth a good 3 star rating. This isn't a shockingly original revelation, but it gets the job done pretty well. Fans of Dream Theater, Symphony X, and Fates Warning may want to check this one out.