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Sylvaine - Silent Chamber, Noisy Heart (2014) - Review

Band: Sylvaine
Album title: Silent Chamber, Noisy Heart
Release date: 14 November 2014
Label: Sylvaine Music

01. Sylvan
02. It Rains In My Heart
03. Silent Chamber, Noisy Heart
04. тоска
05. Bien Loin D'ici
06. The Biggest Loss Of All
07. Dysphoria
08. Seraphim
09. I Drink In Every Sob Like Wine

Die schönste Jungfrau sitzet // The loveliest maiden is sitting
Dort oben wunderbar, // Up there, so wondrously fair;
Ihr gold'nes Geschmeide blitzet, // Her golden jewelry is glist'ning;
Sie kämmt ihr goldenes Haar, // She combs her golden hair.
Sie kämmt es mit goldenem Kamme, // She combs with a gilded comb, preening,
Und singt ein Lied dabei; // And sings a song, passing time.
Das hat eine wundersame, // It has a most wondrous, appealing
Gewalt'ge Melodei. // And pow'rful melodic rhyme.
(Die Lorelei, Heinrich Heine, 1822)

How could I not think about the beauteous siren, Lorelei, when encountering Sylvaine? The amazing artwork, showing the young and prominent musician with her golden hair and aristocratically pale skin, floating on a river alongside the dreamy music she presents on her debut made me instantly think of this lovely poem by Heinrich Heine. And if you had ever peered into the depths of this enchanting poem or even European mythology, you know that even though Lorelei was a fair lady, luring men into her embrace with her breath taking appearance, she was also mystical and caliginous.

And so is Sylvaine's debut, Silent Chamber, Noisy Heart. But this one-woman project is no newcomer on the scene, as she recently had a series of successful shows, supporting the French masters of marvellous musical ambiance, Alcest. On her debut she presents 9 songs that vary from post-rock, atmospheric metal and metalgaze and sway from bubbly joyful melodies to extremely obscure falls into the abyss of darkness. The opening, instrumental "Sylvan'" starts the journey pitch-black and draws an insanely dreadful and tenebrous atmosphere and then smoothly floats onto ''It Rains In My Heart'', Sylvaine's musical interpretation of Paul Verlaine's poem. If you know Verlain's work and you are maybe even enthusiastic about it, you will probably agree with me that her version surely does justice to the astounding work of art. The use of distorted, metalgaze guitars, eerily rhythm section alongside her ethereal, crystalline vocals with a sporadic use of shrieking growls in the background indeed portrays the needed sensation of inner throe in the most darksome manner. The use of growls, alongside her clean voice, draws a delineated picture in my mind, as I imagine a grief-stuck, delicate, young girl in an empty, dimmed room, surrounded by a creeping ghost that floats around her, speaks to her and penetrates the deepest corners of her mind; intensifying her ache and creating a cloud of obscurity over her. And just when you get engulfed into that ache, the title track "Silent Chamber, Noisy Heart" carries you into a whole other world; it's like travelling from your worst nightmare to calmer and far more pleasant dreams. Lighter melodies, the use of acoustic guitar and the lesser use of effects create a whole new world, world of deep, but emotional serenity; especially in songs such as ''тоска'' and ''Bien Loin D'ici''. But the serenity does not necessarily mean inner peace, as you will still hear the arcane melancholy and dull doleheartedness oozing from the gentle and delightsome melodies. ''Seraphim'' is another more than joyful surprise, as it shows even more experimentation and overstepping the boundaries of atmospheric music, clinging into darkwave and dark ambient waters, that will perhaps your remind of great names of ambient music, such as Dead Can Dance. The closing chapter, ''I Drink In Every Sob Like Wine'' rounds up the album more than nicely, as it emits all the dichotomies in one: light and darkness, life and death, joy and tingle, tears and laughter.

For a debut album, Silent Chamber, Noisy Heart is more than worthy your time, if you are a fan of post-genres, shoegaze and atmospheric music. Sylvaine's vocal work surely brings a whole new level of strength to the album, as she really knows how to emotionally express herself through her vocal chords. With the light use of effects and layered vocals, her voice fills every single corner of the song, enriching it to its fullest. While none of the songs stands out particularly, I believe that wasn't even her intention. It rather sails smoothly as one lengthy, dreamy song, as a fairy tale that has its lighter and darker moments. Sylvaine will definitely find her admirers within the fans of the aforementioned Alcest, and even darker genres -  doomgaze or blackgaze enthusiasts, as well as perhaps dream-pop fans and overall those who crave for emotional, passionately expressive and dark music. Silent Chamber, Noisy Heart is… autumnal: imagine when the Sun's last rays enlighten the day you can enjoy the vivid colours of the nature; red, brown, yellow and orange, filling you with energy and felicity. But when the night falls and a cold embrace of nature overflows the world, the frosting, sombre takes its throne and rules the world and evokes your  most abstruse and stygian emotions.

Review written by: Ines
Rating: 8/10

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