Originally starting out as a one man black Metal act called Reverie, Sylvan Realm, now a three piece, have self released their first full length, 'The Lodge Of Transcendence'.
Their sound is best summed up as an and eclectic mix of melodic black, death and folk Metal, made interesting by the progressive and at times almost psychedelic edge it takes on through the melodies and vocal styles. The vocals are very varied, with blackened screams, deep growls, shouts and spoken elements and the guitars, on the whole, have an upbeat optimistic feel to them.
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Totalling forty one minutes, this six track debut is certainly varied. On some tracks it even seems to change genre midway; however it is an interesting and easy listen. The range of variety and tempo change keeps your mind on the album, necessary with every track being between five and eleven minutes in length.
I expected the opening track, 'Sylvan Realm', to begin with an atmospheric intro of some description but instead you are launched straight into the track. I loved the up tempo and upbeat guitars also the screaming vocals but there was a shouting vocal element which, for me didnâ€™t quite sit right. The mid section of the track changes mood and tempo to a more blackened feel and deeper growling vocals which I liked also.
I loved 'Disappear Into The Landscape'. I thought it had the perfect balance of harsh blackened vocals and up tempo guitars with a very emotive feel and a strong folk Metal edge to it.
'Temple Of Not' flowed straight out of the back of the previous track, blackened folk Metal with a slower emotive start, then the pace picks up and there is a spoken interlude midway breaking up this nine minute marathon.
Title track 'The Lodge Of Transcendence', another long one, begins on a sustained note opener before breaking into delightfully doom laden guitars. There is an extended instrumental intro before the harsh vocals kick in. the shouting vocals reappear on this track but this time I felt they worked far better. Initially starting with a blackened feel this track develops into a folk orientated style towards the end with more spoken lyrics.
The penultimate track, 'Twilight Kingdom', is predominantly acoustic guitar with spoken lyrics which drop at times to a whisper. I found this a very reflective and emotive piece which would have made a good album closer.
Right at the end is 'Track 6', lasting just fifteen seconds and consisting of what sounded like reversed speech. I am not sure what this was about but given its minimal duration I am not going to ponder over that too long.
'The Lodge Of Transcendence' is overall an enjoyable listening experience and will get quite a few spins from me.