SILENTLIE – EQUILIBRIUM
Label: Rockshots Records
Author: Mike Smith
02. On My Skin
03. Something To Remember
04. Taste Of Solitude
05. The One Who Disappears
08. Modern Paradox
09. The Others
10. World Upside Down
SILENTLIE (also affectionately referred to as “Sly“) according to the promo material I received is a heavy metal band formed in Trieste, Italy in 2005. It goes on to say SILENTLIE have “always been drawn to the dark side of emotions and “Equilibrium” proceeds along this path. It stands on modern heavy tones and an obscure mood that can be compared to bands like Ghost, Ozzy Osbourne and The Cure“. They further describe themselves as “deep, heavy, obscure and gritty with a dark outline”.
SILENTLIE is formed by vocalist Giorgia Sacco Taz (aka ‘Silentdex‘), guitarist and main songwriter Luigi Pressacco (‘GG‘), bassist and keyboardist Davide Sportiello, who also plays with Sinheresy, and drummer Andrea Piergianni. The band is signed to Rockshots Records and the album has been mixed in the U.S.A. by Grammy Award winner Dave Hagen at Dark Horse Studios (Mastodon, Evanescence, Alice In Chains).
So I must confess that up until just recently I hadn’t heard of SILENTLIE. Just last month a friend tagged me in a post with their latest video for “On My Skin“. Usually when that happens it’s a video or song I’ve already heard, but that was not the case this time. I clicked on the link and right off the bat I was intrigued with their sound. I really liked the guitar sound and style which I immediately recognized as being influnced by Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath. I then watched the video for “Something To Remember“ and found that song interesting as well. Not long after that I was presented with several choices of albums to review and after considering each band I came to the conclusion that SILENTLIE was one of the most interesting.Enough with the introduction, lets get into “Equilibrium“. “Divided“ kicks things off with a bang and the intro mixes a powerful metallic sound with an organ and some choir. It’s a fairly simple song, basically verse-chorus/verse-chorus with a nice breakdown in the middle, but it’s still very interesting and has a big sound. I really like the chorus: “It’s a black desire to see you on your knees and I feel better when you’re alone in an old cage”. Giorgia‘s vocals have a nice sound that I struggle to describe, but do like! She also does some cool harmonies and some really infectious melodies! I haven’t listened to much of The Cure‘s music other than what they’ve played on the radio, but I guess maybe you could say she sounds at times a little like a female version of Robert Smith of The Cure. There is no real guitar solo other than a short melodic outro solo which is still pretty cool!
“On My Skin” is the second single from the album which was released August 26th along with a video released the same day. It’s a straight ahead rocker that, according to the band, is “About the story of the value of life to a son, through difficulties and hopes”. This song at times reminds me a little of the Billy Idol song “White Wedding”. It has a very similar beat during the verses and even has some similar choir sounds and background vocal effects. The guitars are much heavier though with that Sabbath style crunch that seems to permeate GG‘s guitar sound. Gothic sounding keyboard and organ sounds flavor the song throughout while Davide lays down some thunderous bass tracks. Giorgia‘s unique vocals propel the song during the verses and then really hook you with a big and catchy chorus! GG plays a really explosive solo with his trademark, Tony Iommi influenced licks. A great song!
“Something To Remember” was the first single and video from the album which premiered June 14th. The band says this song is “A hymn to seizing the moment”. Kicking off with a sort of muffled effect during the intro it quickly gives way to a powerful and crisp riff and driving beat that once again brings Black Sabbath to my mind. Another big chorus with fantastic harmonies by Giorgia. The song has a nice little riff about the 2:25 mark that was clearly lifted (though slightly altered) straight out of the classic Black Sabbath song “Megalomania” from the “Sabotage” album. Yes GG I heard it (wink) and I love it! Clocking in at 3:24 this is the shortest track on the album.
“Taste Of Solitude” kicks off with a meaty bass riff and then changes things up a little, but then quickly jumps back in to a very similar beat to the previous three songs which seems to be a beat the band likes a lot… but it works! Straight ahead, driving and powerful! Once again the guitars remind me of a classic Sabbath riff, at least during the verses. The meaning of the song is briefly addressed by the band as “Just for those who don’t fear the lonliness”. It features another big chorus where Giorgia sings “I give you all my blood for a taste of solitude / Sew my mouth and tie my soul to yours / Shut up when I smile to you my obstinacy can hurt the wrathful / I’m a contradiction and I love my scars”. “I love my scars”, what a great line!
Track 5 is “The One Who Disappears” and really does switch things up as the band treads into ballad territory. Described by the band as “An emotional ballad addressing the controversial issue of suicide”, it begins with the sound of heavy rain, then a beautiful guitar with a chorus effect comes in. Slow, heavy, and sludgy at first it sounds almost “doomy”, but then the beat speeds up double time which is even still a sort of leisurely pace. Giorgia‘s trademark, a catchy chorus, is also of course present. There’s a brief sort of dreamy sounding interlude that gives way to a short but beautiful and emotional melodic guitar solo, then Giorgia sings “I slip away you go back to pray / I close my eyes / Don’t you forget to remember me / At least for tonight / I close my eyes / It’s the last time”. It’s very moody and atmospheric. A really beautiful and powerful song!
The album’s title track “Equilibrium” is up next and it begins with an eerie keyboard and the sound of a clock ticking. Suddenly we’re treated to a powerful drums, bass and guitar staccato attack while the keyboard pattern continues. Then the drum beat starts as that same guitar and bass pattern continues. The vocals come in and the guitars drop out while the drums and keyboard pattern continue. Then the heavy bass and guitars come back in as Giorgia sings “I’ve learned to accept every mistake / The relief to think freely for once / Never look back again and breathe step by step / I’m not far away this time”. The song is tastefully sprinkled with really cool choir vocals and haunting keyboard sounds. GG plays another brief but fantastic guitar solo. The band says regarding the meaning of the song: “It’s a glorious narration of the precarious balance between good and evil. One of our best songs ever”. Definitely a fantasic song!
The band explains the next track like this: “Straight forward and up-tempo. Imagine a witch smiling at you while she’s burning, and the fire blazes up in the music!”. Yikes! Track 7 “Hysteria” is indeed an up-tempo track! A high energy blazing rocker that I’m sure will get the crowd jumping! GG delivers another impressive guitar solo and this time he doesn’t cut it short. The band lets up only very briefly as Giorgia delivers these words:”The light in me is just a trap…hysteria / What you’ll find is only darkness…hysteria / It’s your time to fade out waiting in vain it’s just a trap / You’re falling / It’s better to forget the blame don’t violate this place”. Then they kick right back into high gear as they race to the finish!
“Modern Paradox” takes us back to the familiar beat and similar formula of the first four songs. There are some differences of course, enough to make it interesting, but they do tend to utilize a lot of very similar sounds such as the organ, the choirs and the beat. The production is clear and punchy. I put headphones on for this song and I’m definitely impressed with the quality and clarity of each instrument and the vocals! And what an incredible bass sound! The band says this song is “An ironic look to the bustle of today. A fast song, with a bridge that recalls some old 70s bands”. The bridge does add a super cool dimension to the song which does indeed have a bit of a 70’s vibe, as does most of their music, which is another thing I really like about this band. There is another very cool guitar solo after the bridge with a very nice delay effect, once again GG‘s Tony Iommi influence shines through.
Track 9 “The Others” is another ballad style song even more so than “The One Who Disappears”. The band says this about the track: “Survive to the others and aims at the stars. A ballad with a strong final crescendo”. It begins with a beautiful piano intro and then Giorgia‘s vocals come in. She sings slightly more delicately than usual and for just over a minute we hear no guitars, drums or bass at all, just piano, vocals and the occasional electronic thud. Then the drums and bass come in and the song gradually builds until we finally hear a single guitar power chord just past the 2 minute mark. The song continues with a nice chorus guitar sound playing a cool melody and then finally just before the 3 minute mark the whole band comes in full with GG on electric guitar. Giorgia sings one more chorus only this time with full voice and then GG gives us a beautiful soaring guitar solo taking us out to the end of the song, which closes with the same piano melody from the intro but slowed down a little. A really beautiful and powerful song!
The album closes with “World Upside Down”, a sort of gothic power ballad. The band offers this description: “The last epic, doomish song. A journey into the ruins of a world set on fire”. The song is indeed epic and doomish at times bringing to mind some of Sabbath‘s slowest and heaviest tracks. It begins with a guitar riff and organ melody very similar to “The Phantom Of The Opera”. This returns several times througout the song becoming sort of the common theme that binds the song together. It’s a really powerful and dramatic song with a lot of diversity and dynamics. Giorgia‘s trademark huge and catchy chorus goes like this: “I see your world upside down / I see your world in ashes / I see your world upside down / Please don’t try to save me”. With a running time of 5:30 this is the longest song on the album and I love every second of it! This song has everything and then it even closes out with an awesome guitar solo! Wow! They certainly saved the best for last! Although every song is fantastic!
In conclusion: as I said earlier this is not exactly the style of music I would normally listen to, but when I heard “On My Skin” and “Something To Remember” I had a feeling this was going to be something special and with “Equilibrium” that has definitely been the case! I’ve really enjoyed listening to this album and the more I listen the more I like it! Bassist Davide Sportiello lays down some tasty powerful and thick grooves and drummer Andrea Piergianni keeps it fairly simple playing exactly what the songs need while adding tasteful fills and various nuances. But for me the obvious appeal of SILENTLIE and “Equilibrium” is GG‘s guitar playing and songwriting. It’s fantastic how he takes his Tony Iommi influence and style and puts his stamp all over it! And then the way he blends that with gothic and doom elements and turns it all into great songs. But Giorgia‘s unique and mysterious voice and harmonies combined with her incredible ability to write great melodies and extremely catchy choruses really makes the songs come alive! The two of them and their chemistry together is a powerful formula! You might even call it… “Equilibrium”!