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Nad Sylvan: The Bride Said No
Nad Sylvan - The Bride Said No CD Album Review

Nad Sylvan: The Bride Said No

Melodic Progressive Rock
4.0/5.0

Vocalist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Nad Sylvan (Agents of Mercy, Steve Hackett) returns with a new solo album, The Bride Said No, and two things can be said of the album right from the start.

Nad Sylvan Photo

Nad Sylvan

First, conceptually, it's a sequel to the previous Courting The Widow, Sylvan's vampiric tale. Second, musically, the album is much more interesting and lively than that album. The predecessor seemed more an exercise in melodic progressive rock mellowness, like muzak or elevator music. The Bride Said No has some spirit and energy. But we're getting a somewhat ahead of ourselves.

To recap for those unfamiliar with Nad Sylvan, he creates, essentially, old school English melodic progressive rock. Having history with guitarist Steve Hackett and the band Agents of Mercy you can twist the sounds of Genesis, Marillion, among other UK prog bands, and the Flower Kings together. Besides his smooth and melodic voice, Sylvan tempers his music with layers of synths, acoustic guitar, and generous vocal arrangements. You catch all of these things at the start with The Quartermaster, When The Music Dies, and The White Crown. Yet in the latter two, you begin to catch the greater spirit and liveliness to his compositions. When The Music Dies has some heavier drum parts, for instance. Within The White Room, the keyboards add, in the early part, some quirky carnival flair. Then you'll notice a more lively, even deeper, rock groove throughout.

Yet, Sylvan will revisit his lighter, more mellow, prog rock sound. A French Kiss In An Italian Cafe has a slender groove within an airy and ethereal atmosphere provided by both the synth and vocal arrangements. More notable is the smooth saxophone solo, which finishes the song, from vocalist Sheona Urquhart. Many, if not all, of these elements merge in the epic title cut, The Bride Said No, which closes the album. Rock groove is juxtaposed with a symphonic layer, softer synths with those more spry. Of some interest in the arrangement is the two minutes of silence starting about 12:34, after Sylvan voices, "And the bride said no." Not sure what that's about. But I've saved the best for last. The killer track here is definitely What Have You Done, which has tandem guitar solos from Steve Hackett and guitarist Guthrie Govan (The Aristocrats, Asia, GPS, and more). It's pretty amazing, and makes you wish there was more definitive guitar work across this album. Something that is consistently lacking in Sylvan's latest solo efforts.

Essentially, The Bride Said No finds Nad Sylvan expanding his melodic progressive rock sound, making it broader and deeper with larger energy and spirit throughout.



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The Bottom Line

The Bride Said No finds Nad Sylvan expanding his melodic progressive rock sound, making it broader and deeper with larger energy and spirit throughout.

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