Album Title: Back Again EP
Date Of Release: 17 February 2017
I don’t often review EPs, because I’m not generally a fan. I much prefer full-length albums because they offer much more value for money and give the listener a much better insight into the band and their musical vision. However, I do also accept that EPs offer new and up-and-coming artists the opportunity to showcase their art without the cost and other challenges that a full record can entail.
And occasionally, I will be faced with an EP that simply cannot be ignored. That was the case here, with ‘Back Again’, the latest output from Canadian prog rockers Slyde.
Slyde are a four-piece, comprised of guitarist/vocalist Nathan Da Silva, keyboardist Sarah Westbrook, bassist Alberto Campuzano and drummer Brendan Soares. Previously to this, I’d never heard of the name Slyde but when I read the press release that suggested they might appeal to fans of Haken, Coheed and Cambria and even compatriots Rush, I was both slightly sceptical and intrigued. But I needn’t have been sceptical because by and large, the comparisons are well-placed. Given their modest history, Slyde have a long way to go to sit alongside these illustrious names for sure. But you can certainly hear the similarities in style and execution even at this early stage in Slyde’s development.
In true prog style, ‘Back Again’ is a concept, albeit a modest one spread across just four compositions. It apparently tackles the subject of ‘environmentalism and the wider world with a sci-fi twist’. Well why not hey?
For me though, it is the music itself which makes the biggest impression. From a first spin, I knew that Slyde showed real promise. But more than that, being just their third EP, I have been very impressed with their maturity, both in terms of their song writing and with their execution. ‘Back Again’ is a breath of fresh air as all four songs bounce along with spirit and confidence, not to mention a great blend of strong hooks, succinctness and technical ability which is evident but not rammed down our throats. Everything just sounds right, if that makes sense.
If I had to pick a favourite track, it’d be the opener, ‘Fading’. Right from the off, the keys of Sarah Westbrook are prominent, as are the very pleasant lead vocals of Nathan Da Silva. The track bounds along at a nice pace led by the rhythm section of bassist Alberto Campuzano and drummer Brendan Soares, whilst the guitar work is both punchy and subtly intricate. But the melodies, particularly within the upbeat chorus are just a delight and extremely addictive.
Having said that, all four tracks offer something of real merit. ‘Join The Parade’ is dominated by some lush synths and an impressive bass performance. I also like the funky almost jazzy vibe that it exudes at certain points. ‘Divide’ kicks off with a slightly darker, more confrontational vibe but again the melodies are strong as are the keys that create a more epic, cinematic feel whilst closing the song out with a gorgeous piano outro.
The title track closes the EP and does so with real style. It is the longest song here and it is also the most expansive in terms of the sounds and textures that are explored, from quiet and simple to big, bold and multi-layered. There’s also a sense of positivity and euphoria that I glean from within the generally sombre and honest lyrics not to mention compelling guitar and keyboard solos
Ultimately, the best compliment I can pay Slyde is the fact that I wanted to hear more, much more. I want ‘Back Again’ to be a full-length album and I hope that this will be a reality in the not-too-distant future.
The Score Of Much Metal: 8
If you’ve enjoyed this review, check out my others from previous years and for 2017 right here: