|©2004 Epidemie Records
2. The Lake
3. The Morning Moon Over the Mosque
5. Come With Me As Far As Behind the Horizon
Don't let the Muslimgauze-like cover fool you. Bya Bamahe Neem is far from a percussive-industrial platter of Middle Eastern inspired music. More specifically, it's as far from that as the distance from Czech Republic (Forgotten Silence's home country) and the Middle East. And that number is only as accurate as whatever point on the map you arbitrarily choose as "the Middle East". For instance, I always thought Virginia was part of the eastern United States, but people there will tell you it's the south. Not at latitude 37.55 degrees, buddy!
Anyhow, geography lesson aside, Bya Bamahe Neem is a lengthy EP that gives Forgotten Silence a chance to meander without haste through a various musical fields, essentially making this an atmospheric progressive metal album, except without all that stupid, boring, pointless wankery. The album opener is brief, acting as a quick intro passage to the following three songs that seamlessly blend together into a single piece. Never mind the indexing! Or song titles. Think of it as chapters in a book. I'm quite sure I'm the first person to ever make that analogy in a music review (I say facetiously). At this point in Forgotten Silence's career they were fronted by a female vocalist named "Hanka", who croons her way through the songs. She gets the job done, though I certainly don't think she moves mountains nor does she cause eardrums to cry like Baby Jesus. The final track is a very lengthy number that has far more to do with experimentalism, dynamics, electronics and atmospherics than anything else (even if eventually there's some dude chanting in a death metal-ish voice). It's probably one of the reasons the more fundamentalist metal fans have regaled this band to a Forgotten Career. This track might appeal more to the ambient crowd or even the aforementioned Muslimgauze. I rather like it.
Overall, this EP is rather enjoyable. I would wager the album has more impact by its half hour length than if they had released seventy minutes of music, something no one necessarily wants to sit through in most cases. We all suffer from short attention spans, so Bya Bamahe Neem gets bonus points for staying within mine.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 04/2010
1. Brighton (The Streets and the Pier)
2. Declaration (The Marble Halls V.)
In general, any musical reference that includes the word "progressive" (or worse, its truncated offshoot "prog") results in my Fight or Flight instincts taking over. After a barrage of InsideOut promo CDs back around 2003-04, I've developed a nearly unhealthy hatred towards a subgenre that is utterly embroiled in derivative, bland and entirely vapid musical masturbation. Back then, I was willing to Fight with words, but as I got older and ceased listening to those wretched promos, I simply resorted to Flight to stay as far away from anything remotely connected to progressive rock. Anyhow, after looking through BNR Metal's recommended albums, I found Forgotten Silence to be an intriguing prospect. And as it turns out, Kro Ni Ka is a fabulous record that makes me think there is hope for this progressive rock/metal thing after all.
Forgotten Silence has been bopping around the Czech Republic for over a decade and a half, offering up a hybrid of doom/death metal with many eclectic influences flushing out their sound. Kro Ni Ka is a step away from their earlier sound, almost directly into a true progressive rock field. The album features but three songs, all eighteen minutes or longer. Strangely, these songs never wear out their welcome. For many prog bands, it apparently is enough to have songs that are extra long and somehow that's pushing the boundaries of music. Forgotten Silence manages to compose these songs to carry the listener on a journey. A band such as Opeth tends to get caught up in one riff after another without a good oversight of the big picture, but Forgotten Silence seems to have a better understanding of their lengthy compositions. Vocals are few and far between and usually spoken softly in the corner. In fact, the lack of vocals is yet another reason I'm enjoying this album so much. No need to have some loser warble over lukewarm but technically proficient noodling. But the real ace up the sleeve for this band is their rhythm section. Both the drummer and bassist are incredibly adept yet subtle in their playing. The bassist in particular is fantastic, providing a great undercurrent yet never resorting to showy finger tricks. Kro Ni Ka has excellent dynamics with a warm sound perfectly captured in a good room. And finally, the keyboards have a very 70s, vintage sound that might warm the hearts of anyone who pines for Tony Banks of yesteryear.
If Forgotten Silence can overcome the monumental doubts of a progressive rock hater such as myself, imagine how they might appeal to fans of the genre. Take note, progheads, this is how it is properly done.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 01/2010