Those who know of Steve Hackett‘s solo work will know of Mssr. Sylvan. This particular release is part 3 of the Vampirate Trilogy, beginning with 2015’s Courting the Widow. This is Nad’s third LP for Inside Out, and 5th solo LP overall. I was particularly impressed with the line-up, but not quite so much with the tunes. Oh, they’re good, don’t get me wrong. I guess I was just expecting more, especially when one considers the muscle behind the proceedings.
I Am the Sea starts things off for us in fairly mellow fashion. Soothing keyboards and some pretty decent vocals, with a nice guitar solo thrown in about six minutes in for good measure. Oahu, by contrast, is a bizarre little ditty featuring some light drumming. Whoa (Always Been Without You), is the latest single to be launched from the record (#3), and it is filled with prog flights of fancy.
Meet Your Maker is a bit rockier, and features some beautiful piano runs, as do most of the other tracks. There are some nice female vocals backing here as well. The title track is a monster, almost 12 and 1/2 minutes in length. The sheer size alone is daunting, but upon listening we get much, much more. This is a ballad of sorts, with strings and orchestration. There is a nice spacey jam about 7.45, then a nifty little guitar solo about 9 minutes in.
Leave Me On These Waters is a mellower track again, with a bit of a bluesy shred solo at the four-minute mark. Honey I’m Home is a strumming affair with keys featured, and is instrumental save for an occasional angelic choir. Diva Time tells us to “All rise“, then proceeds to jam. This is sort of a soulful number, replete with lots of guitar work and bizarre vocal FX; “Who are you? Judge or jury?”, inquires Nad. The closer is actually a bit of poetic license, as Sylvan adapts The Lake Isle of Innisfree to a cool guitar and vocal showcase.
Bottom line here, folks, is that this one is for completists for the most part. Listen if you will, at your own discretion. Some very good work here, but consistency is a bit lacking.
1. I Am the Sea
3. Whoa (Always Been Without You)
4. Meet Your Maker
5. The Regal Bastard
6. Leave Me on These Waters
7. Honey I'm Home
8. Diva Time
9. The Lake Isle of Innisfree
Playing Time: 55 minutes and 46 seconds
Nad Sylvan - vocals
Steve Hackett, Guthrie Govan - guitars
Tony Levin, Jonas Reingold - bass
Nick D'Virgilio - drums