Hidden Lands - In Our Nature

(CD 2012, 45:57, Progress Records PRCD 051)

The tracks:
  1- In My Nature(8:54)
  2- L'Ancien Régime(6:12)
  3- The Road To Halych(7:43)
  4- Incurable(10:52)
  5- Stiletto Runner(3:52)
  6- The Night Garden(8:24)

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The Swedish band Violent Silence recorded two albums: Violent Silence (2003) and Kinetic (2005). The music on these albums was strongly focussed on keyboards, although you couldn't call them copy cats of bands like Greenslade Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Gerard, Ars Nova, The Nice or any other keyboard related progressive rock band. The keyboard playing of Violent Silence strongly deviates from the style of most keyboard orientated bands. They played them as if it were percussion which certainly provided an original sound. Unfortunately after their second album it became quiet around the band, but I recently learned that their next album is due in 2013 or 2014 with a new lead singer and bass player.  

For people who enjoyed the music of Violent Silence and who can't wait that long for the new album, there's a good alternative. Several band members have started another group called Hidden Lands making the same kind of music. It's quite normal that their musical style is similar to Violent Silence because Hannes Ljunghall (keyboards, guitars), Björn Westén (keyboards), Bruno Edling (vocals) and Phillip Bastin (bass) all contributed on the above-mentioned albums, except for drummer Gustav Nyber.  

The band's debut In Our Nature contains six tracks. The title track sounds slightly different from the rest of the material. Beside the many prog influences it seems that they were inspired by a band as The Cure for this piece, mainly due to the vocals and the keyboard parts. On L'Ancien Régime other influences come to the surface. I heard several times a kind of music UK recorded for their album Danger Money (1978). Their typical keyboard and rhythm sounds shine through more than once. However, after the first two songs the music is quite similar to the percussive sound of Violent Silence. The many strong synthesizer solos throughout the album make sure that there's enough to enjoy. The guitars have a minor role on this album. As far as I can tell, this instrument only got a leading role on the closing track The Night Garden.

All in all In Our Nature is a very professional album containing six strong compositions that mainly will appeal to the more keyboard orientated prog heads. The music is difficult to compare to other bands. Sure, I mentioned bands like UK and The Cure, but just to name some influences I heard. So as always: try before you buy!

**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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