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(175:00 DVD, Progrock / SPV Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Intro 1:23 2. Eternity Ends 1:54 3. Bequest of Tears 3:07 4. In Chains 8:58 5. Bitter Symphony 1:30 6. Pane of Truth 9:05 7. No Earthly Reason 1:54 8. Forgotten Virtue 7:06 9. The Colors Changed 6:48 10. A Sad Sympathy 1:42 11. Questions 6:59 12. Answer to Life 6:09 13. Message From the Past 2:58 14. The Last Embrace 4:05 15. A Kind of Eden 3:52 16. Posthumous Silence 9:53 17. Artificial Paradise 19:48 LINEUP: Jan Petersen – guitars Volker Sohl – keyboards Marco Gluhmann – vocals Sebastian Harnack – bass Matthias Harder – drums With: Guido Bungenstock – guitar Stefanie Richter – cello Petra Schechter – vocals Miriam Schnell – vocals Stephanie Hundtermark – vocals
Prolusion. SYLVAN is a German progressive rock band, one with a history going back to 1991, but wasn't officially formed until 1998. Since that time they have released several critically acclaimed albums, with the 2006 release “Posthumous Silence” as the highlight of their career for many fans. As part of the band's 10th anniversary celebration in 2008, a live concert of this critically acclaimed album was released on DVD by US label Progrock Records and German label SPV.
Analysis. These days DVD releases are issued left and right, as the technology to produce such releases has become affordable to even smaller artists. What separates the good releases from the not so good releases are basically three issues: sound quality, image quality and editing. There's even less separating the good releases from the very good ones; basically most such releases today are of at least decent quality. In other words, if you see a recently made DVD by one of your favorite artists, chances are good that you will find it enjoyable even if it is a low budget production. This DVD by Sylvan does not have much of a low budget feel to it though. It's not a multimillion production in the manner that internationally acclaimed and popular artists can afford; but it's another case of a production of high quality all around. The sound in particular is impressive; all instruments are clearly defined, the detailed textures in the compositions are always audible, and the soundscape is well balanced. In other words, high quality recording equipment was used to record this show, and the band had a production for the concert that must have been very good too. As usual with live recordings the sound may have been touched up a bit in the studio after the show was recorded; but even so this must have been a killer show and a killer recording of the concert in all matters musically. The image quality is high class too, as with most video footage captured with good, modern equipment, the picture quality is sharp, the color balance well defined and the resolution is excellent. There could have been a couple of more camera angles, but skilled use of a moving camera and a superb editing job more than makes up for that; there's enough variety to the images here to make it interesting to watch the concert as a whole. Massive lights and smoke are the main effects on stage, both of these effects used skillfully to create moods and atmospheres throughout the show. Sparingly but effectively utilized are moving images on a screen at the back of the stage, and very effectively at the start of the show on a veil in front of the stage. The performance by the band is good as well, as close to faultless as one can come in a live performance; and it's obvious that the band is emotionally engaged in the material performed. Not much pure joy to witness, which is natural given the theme of the songs performed, but it's easy to see that the individual musicians are intent on giving a good performance. There are some negatives about this release though, and the main issue for some may be the track selection. The concert is limited to the tunes from the “Posthumous Silence” album, and although it is considered a very good release by most fans of Sylvan there are those among them who would have liked hearing their older tunes performed as well. Their desire is somewhat catered for in the bonus material, where footage of a live performance of the tune Artificial Paradise is included, but I assume there are other songs their fans would have liked to see live in concert too. Apart from that there's a fair amount of bonus material to enjoy – brief documentaries on the recording of the albums “Posthumous Silence” and “Presets”, another one briefly documenting the preparations for the Posthumous Silence concert filmed for this DVD, and interviews with four band members and two crew members. These last ones thankfully subtitled, for the documentaries it's an advantage to understand German to get all the details of the happenings.
Conclusion. “Posthumous Silence: The Show” is a good DVD. Fans of the album will of course be the ones most interested in this release, and as the tunes on this album are varied in style this will also be a fair (although not quite accurate) introduction of the band to new listeners, especially with the inclusion of Artificial Paradise in the bonus material. Still, the limited content means that this DVD can't be seen as a must-have release – even if it is high quality through and through.
OMB: September 19, 2008
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