Released: 2011, SG Records
There are scores of Indie record labels out there that are little known yet are discovering and releasing excellent albums from new bands. One that has caught my ear lately is SG Records in Italy. Silver Lake’s self titled debut is another of SG Record’s quality releases. The band formed in 2003 in Rimini Italy, mainly to cover bands like Dream Theater, Angra and Deep Purple. In 2007 they began writing original material and over the course of several lineup changes, have released their 2011 album debut. The band’s style of progressive metal contains obvious nods to Dream Theater, and while it is not a direct rip off, there are derivative elements of Europe and Fates Warning as well. This is to be expected on a debut album, and it might be an album or two before the band branches away from the genre leaders.
Despite this not being an original approach to progressive metal, there is still much to like about Silver Lake. The songs do have some twists and turns, but in general are less complicated than Dream Theater’s often self-indulgent wankery. “Break” is a well-executed and atmospheric instrumental while “Holy Affinity” cautiously treads Dream Theater territory. Missteps would be the well-intended but flat cover of Skid Row’s “Slave To The Grind”, which features a keyboard intro and an unmistakable lack of ferocity that defined the original. Also expected but not really welcomed is the sap laden ballad “Meet You Again”, an unfortunate cliché of many current progressive metal albums.
The songs are layered with melodic keyboards, heavy riffs, and the expected percussive virtuosity. Singer Davide Bertozzi utilizes a mostly mid-register range that is pleasing and does not climb into the often overused dog whistle frequencies so pervasive in progressive metal. Subsequently, the production is perfectly suited to this style, accurately capturing the speed and precision of the songs with cold clarity. From a talent perspective, Silver Lake has all the goods. At this point, they lack an original approach, and with so many similar sounding bands in the genre, Silver Lake will need to define their own approach to advance. But for now, this is listenable and enjoyable progressive metal that deserves monitoring in the future. Fans of Dream Theater and Fates Warning will certainly enjoy this young band’s debut.