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Neo-Prog • Italy

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Silver Key biography
Milanese band SILVER KEY seem to have suddenly arrived out of nowhere but in fact started out as long ago as 1992, as an official tribute act of MARILLION and FISH. They've gained a loyal following by playing live down the years, including concerts with FEM and UBI MAIOR, but after two decades of regular gigging have finally released their debut album of original material. It was always their stated aim to do this and at last they have found their own voice. Incidentally, the band takes its name from a short story by American writer H. P. Lovecraft where the protagonist loses the magical key that enables him to enter an alternate dimension of dreams. This choice of name for the band symbolises the means by which they can fulfil their own long held dreams just as Lovecraft's character is able to visit his dreamed-of cities.

Likewise the album ''In The Land Of Dreams'' borrows from the work of Lovecraft and his mentor Robert W. Chambers, featuring as it does a lengthy suite inspired by the supernatural fiction of these writers, although there's also a track inspired by an original concept by Marco Dominioni. Sonically it's a highly polished affair as one might expect from something that has been so long in the making. Lead vocalist Yuri Abietti, the only remaining founding member of the band, sings in English and his vocals carry barely a hint of an Italian accent. Indeed the band's entire sound is very anglicised, something which clearly springs from their past as a covers band, and it's not difficult to find similarities with IQ and ARENA. The songs are variously calm and eruptive with guitarist Carlo Monti's majestic solos sprawling across the bulging quilt of Davide Manara's keyboards, while the eager fire of the rhythm section of Alberto Grassi (bass) and Viviano Crimella (drums) provides the band's driving force.

The striking presentation of the digipak CD - inspired by the occult concept and designed by Claudio Bergamin (Arjen LUCASSEN, FLOWER KINGS) - completes what is a top-notch project.

- seventhsojourn

Silver Key official website

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In the Land of Dreams by Silver KeyIn the Land of Dreams by Silver Key
Ma.Ra.Cash Records
Audio CD$49.43
In the Land of Dreams by ImportsIn the Land of Dreams by Imports
Audio CD$89.37
The Scream EmpireThe Scream Empire
Audio CD$21.22
$23.09 (used)
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CLASSICAL LP JOB LOT WRC SILVER KEY vinyl Kann Schoener Swarowsky VFO Dervaux USD $4.60 [0 bids]
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SILVER KEY discography

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SILVER KEY top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.85 | 37 ratings
In The Land Of Dreams
3.30 | 18 ratings
The Screams Empire

SILVER KEY Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SILVER KEY Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SILVER KEY Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SILVER KEY Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Screams Empire by SILVER KEY album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.30 | 18 ratings

The Screams Empire
Silver Key Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Fun though the debut Silver Key album was, The Silent Empire exhibits that dreaded "sophomore slump" that so many acts fall prey to. Perhaps they simply rushed themselves to try and knock something out to sustain the momentum established by that debut, or perhaps their first release used up most of their really strong ideas and they haven't yet come up with sufficient new ones to really keep things interesting over the course of an album. (Given that they've apparently been about in one form or another since 1992, you'd think they'd have more top-flight compositions than just the stuff on the debut, but then again they spent much of that time as a Marillion/Fish tribute act.)

Either way, The Screams Empire isn't actively bad, it's just lukewarm - neo-prog music that's just kind of there and doesn't really do anything especially exciting. Hopefully they will pull it together again for their next release.

 In The Land Of Dreams by SILVER KEY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.85 | 37 ratings

In The Land Of Dreams
Silver Key Neo-Prog

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Silver Key is a progressive rock band from Milan whose roots date back to 1992. After many problems, a long hiatus, some line up changes and a period passed performing Marillion's covers, in 2012 they finally released a début album featuring only original compositions on the independent label Ma.Ra.Cash Records, "In The Land Of Dreams". The current line up features founder member Yuri Abietti (vocals, acoustic guitar, samples) along with Carlo Monti (electric and acoustic guitars), Alberto Grassi (bass), Davide Manara (keyboards, synthesizers, samples) and Viviano Crimella (drums, percussion) but in the studio they were helped by some special guests such as Ettore Salati (guitar ? from The Watch, The RedZen, SoulnginE and Alex Carpani Band) and Massimo Parretti (keyboards ? from the historic band Alusa Fallax). The overall sound is in debt with bands such as Genesis and Marillion, of course, but Silver Key managed to add to their music a touch of originality and all their love for the works of writers as Howard Phillips Lovecraft and Robert William Chambers with excellent results.

"Calm, lasting beauty comes only in dream, and this solace the world had thrown away when in its worship of the real it threw away the secrets of childhood and innocence... There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine...". (H.P. Lovecraft, from "The Silver Key"). Well, the band was named after the title of a short story by H.P. Lovecraft and I think that this short quote along with the beautiful art cover by Claudio Bergamin could introduce you to Silver Key's work better than all my words.

The evocative, dreamy title track, "In the Land of Dreams", opens the album inviting you to look at the world as it is in your dreams, even if it's very difficult at times. The following "More Than I Can" is darker and reminds you that life is too short for all the things you would like to do. Next comes "Learn To Let Go" which is about the need to break free from the chains of your worries and fears to escape from the daily grind. After comes "Millennium" that begins softly, then the music and lyrics conjure up apocalyptic visions with black clouds of fiery angels pouring down from the sky.

"The Silver Key" is the main course of the album. It's a long, complex suite featuring lyrics inspired by the literary works of H.P. Lovecraft and R.W. Chambers. The silver key opens the gates of a fantastic dreamland but as we grow up we risk to lose our capacity to enter the realms of dreams. In this sumptuous suite the music and lyrics try to take us on a dangerous journey through forgotten memories and dark, fantastic cities, in a quest for our lost innocence.

The conclusive "Welcome" begins with a delicate piano pattern. It's a bitter-sweet ballad that blends hope and regret with a strong sense of melody... "I welcome myself / Standing on the edge of what I'm going to be / I welcome my death...".

On the whole a very good album, especially recommended if you like bands such as The Watch.

 In The Land Of Dreams by SILVER KEY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.85 | 37 ratings

In The Land Of Dreams
Silver Key Neo-Prog

Review by ScorchedFirth

3 stars (6/10)

"In The Land Of Dreams" is an hour of bright well made Neo-Prog, sure to please fans of the classic approach of this subgenre. That much should be clear right from the opening title track. I'm not sure I'd completely define this as 'retro neo-prog' though. The sound Silver Key have made here feels a lot more based in modern rock to me. That's not to say the sound of "In The Land Of Dreams" isn't heavily influenced by the classic 80s neo bands of yore (because it is), but there is enough of a modern streak to it that you can easily recognise it.

The album is packed full of melodic guitar solos and the fiddly keyboard solos, as well as the classic synth sounds you might expect. What was more of a surprise was the amount of excellent bass work (for example the solo in "Learn To Let Go", or the opening of "Millenium"), and it was very welcome. Influence from Marillion, IQ, Pendragon and so forth can be heard throughout, and there are even reminiscences of some newer bands, such as Celpsydra (which is probably down to an 'Italian factor').

The highlight for me is "Millenium", a dark exploration of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This song came right after "Learn To Let Go", which was lyrically a rather clumsy song. This meant that when I heard the harrowing clips that introduced "Millenium" I was a bit worried Silver Key would not be skilled enough to handle the sensitive subject matter. Turns out I was wrong, and actually they pull out the best performance of the album for this one, and offer a striking and evocative song to us.

The 26 minute suite, "The Silver Key", is another obvious highlight, though it's a bit more mixed. There are parts that are really great and epic, especially the powerful finale. There are also more thoughtful low key sections that I also enjoy. Some of the heavier guitar parts stand out as well. However, I'm not sure that "The Silver Key" feels like one song; it's quite segmented, and some of the parts noticeably disrupt the musical flow. Still plenty to enjoy though.

What I'm not quite sold on is the vocals. They are handled competently but can sound a little awkward to my ears at times, and don't provide the best framing for some of the more awkward lyrics. I also find the choruses are in general a bit hit-and-miss, and can stray into generic territory at times. It's not a huge deal though, and I would expect that a lot of people wont find this much of a hindrance to their enjoyment of the album.

So, does it measure up to the classic Neo-Prog bands, such as Marillion, IQ and Pendragon? I'm not sure I think it quite does, it just lacks the same kind of impact. But then those bands are some of my absolute favourites. The flip side of this is of course that even a familiar tribute like this is good enough for me to enjoy, and I expect if your tastes are similar to mine then you will also enjoy "In The Land Of Dreams" too.

 In The Land Of Dreams by SILVER KEY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.85 | 37 ratings

In The Land Of Dreams
Silver Key Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It comes as absolutely no surprise to me that Silver Key began as a Marillion/Fish tribute act, because the style of progressive rock they play here is something I might be tempted to call retro-neo-prog. First there was good old classic-era prog, then there was neo-prog which used 80s production techniques and instrumentation to refresh the classic-era sound, then there was retro-prog which deliberately used vintage instruments (and, in some cases, recording techniques) to recapture the classic sound directly, and now we've got retro-neo-prog bands who seem to be deliberately trying to sound like they live in the 1980s.

That's not a slam, mind - just as some retro-prog acts can give the originals a run for their money, so can some retro-neo acts make enjoyable contributions to the genre. Like Credo's Rhetoric, Silver Key's In the Land of Dreams applies the benefit of hindsight to the Marquee-era neo-prog sound, avoiding creative cul-de-sacs and taking things in their own direction. As the band name, album title and track list imply, here and there the band take inspiration from H.P. Lovecraft's horror-fantasy stories of the Dreamlands, but by and large (aside from the acoustic and slightly overlong Dim Carcosa) this doesn't really have much impact on the music, which draws on the likes of early IQ, Marillion and Pendragon and recent Credo. Yuri Abietta deserves props for his clear and fluent vocals and the band as a whole do a good job, though if you don't have at least some affection for the early neo-prog sound the album's not likely to make you a convert.

 In The Land Of Dreams by SILVER KEY album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.85 | 37 ratings

In The Land Of Dreams
Silver Key Neo-Prog

Review by Aragon

5 stars The first thing that outstand me is the fantastic and fantasy cover of this album, well drawn, but believe even the music inside is really good and catching! If I should describe their style, it's a new form of neoprog like the last Sylvan, Frost*, or Arena, but here the music hasn't that prog metal feeling or sinister and dark moments, here the music is heavy and power in some moments, but even melodic and emotional in other ones. The singer has a really good timbre, he's able to modulate his voice in different ways, keeping the listener transfixed with his spirited and whispering attack. In some composition, that remind me the polish band Satellite in their much power and shine moments, or Fish in a much modern approach!

Here all the production is top notch, and every instruments makes an excellent works, but what I love much are the base line, often busy in intricate solo at start of the epic composition, or in the central parts, and the lush keyboards that prepare the strong melodies for the voice. These are the main focus of the music,and It really makes for a keyboard lovers delight. There are 4 compositions long over 7 minutes and 1 suite of 26 minutes. The suite is really amazing and it contein nine tracks, with the guitars being cranked, the bass booming and the drums becoming more dynamic. All that is tied to spoken word samples and a more poised approach, yet still the glorious key work never eases, leaving you totally beguiled and convinced by the sumptuous full sound.

Excellent album, fully of shadings and brillant ideas that will makes enthusiastic all progressive rock lovers for several time, highly recomended. 5 stars

Thanks to seventhsojourn for the artist addition.

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