So far 2021 is an almost a legendary year for progressive rock music. What great releases we already have had. Personally I think that the Corona virus has a big effect on this tendency. A lot of artists couldn't tour in 2020 an therefore used their time to create albums. This flow of album releases didn't pass our country also. That all said, on the 2nd of October of this year the Dutch band Steelyard released their debut album No Dimensions.
The album is released on MEY Productions, the label of Ben van Gastel. Ben van Gastel is known for bands as My Arrival and Sylvium. I really like the label, because of the fact that start up bands are getting a chance to release on a small independent label.
No Dimensions is only available as a stream and download. Personally I always deplore that, because I am a real CD-guy. On the other hand I understand that labels and bands have to make choices and can't release everything. The album can be found on platforms as Spotify, iTunes, Deezer and Bandcamp.
Steelyard is formed by the two Dutch producers Frank Leemhuis and Wouter van de Veen. The biography says that the band sound is without compromises and without boundaries. They use influences from genres progressive rock, art rock, electronic and also pop. Alternative is probably the best description of this band. The named influences can indeed be noticed in the tracks. Personally I think the album also has the atmosphere and the tension of My Arrival and even a Novastar album. Especially the melancholy vocals reminds me of Novastar. I know that this is very personal, but these two artist directly came to my mind when I listened to the album for the second time.
The album No Dimensions is a merge of three EP's which were released from 2019 until 2020. The titles of these EP's are The Porcelain Room, Escape Room and Prison Cell. The band's biography states the following:
“Together the three EP's form the debut album No Dimensions which is about the place you're in within The Porcelain Room, Escape Room and Prison Cell. It's a place where you don't want to be, where you once thought you should be, a space between places without dimensions, time or space. It's the 'nomansland' we all experience sometimes, which we don't think about too much, but deserves some attention in a while. It's lonely but hopeful at the same time. And that's why it's also a beautiful place. The album No Dimensions takes place in that space.”
I love albums were themes are layered and lyrics are as much important as the music. Steelyard is a band that fulfills my “desire”.
The music is very atmospheric and a lot of tracks flow from beginning to end in a very melancholy mood. Musically Steelyard is no comparison to The Cure and The Cult, but when you feel the music and the atmosphere, I think it is certainly a comparison with those two bands. Now and then the atmosphere is oppressive. This gives the album the tension which is needed, needed to be interesting.
The album is very, very well produced and mixed. Musically the album has a constant and high level. The vocals are pleasant to listen to. Often vocals are an issue on which I break off. Nothing is more irritating than a good album with bad vocals.
No Dimensions is a 47 minute adventure that travels through different atmospheres, different effects and -samples. On this travel I didn't get tired and also not car sick. Steelyard delivered a wonderful atmospheric debut album. An album that doesn't sound typically Dutch. My feelings are saying that this album also would sell outside our borders. But this is an educated guess.
Further on I think that a cd in limited edition certainly should be an option that should be examined. I would buy for sure. And that is not because I want to keep my Dutch progrock collection up to date.
Because of the fact that this album surprised me in a positive way and because this is a really great album, I rate is with 4,5 out of 5.
That all said I am curious what the next album of this two guys will bring. When they continue to develop themselves, then there are really no dimensions for these guys.
****+ Aad Bannink (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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