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A Fair Dream Gone Mad - 80%

TyphonTheMetalNerd, September 21st, 2013

These guys must love Opeth‘s Damnation. Or maybe I just REALLY do and can’t help but think of it whenever I listen to any other kind of prog metal…or maybe these guys actually do? Meh. Either way, I’m super-stoked to share this gem of prog metal with you all.

In The Silence is a California-based quartet with one album to their name: A Fair Dream Gone Mad. And let me tell you, fellow prog metal snobs, this album is a titan! It’s got everything you could possibly want in an album: finger snapping solos (some are even thrashy), excellent drum work, fitting and hauntingly soulful vocals, and equally haunting lyrics (I’m looking at you Serenity).

It ain’t all as progressive heaven as I’d like it to be, though. The pacing kinda crashes after track #4 (Beneath These Fallen Leaves) and never fully recovers. I mean, the songs are still good, but they lack the placement and ferocity that tracks 1-4 owned. Again, not bad at all, just a little misplaced.

There’s really not much else to say about A Fair Dream Gone Mad except that if you’re a fan of heavy progressive music, you should skip on down to their website and pick up this album before they’re all gone…which they might be since I waited to long to tell you about ‘em. Try anyway. Tell ‘em Typhon sent’cha!

A Fair Dream Gone Mad - 90%

Leo_Nilupul, July 2nd, 2013

“A Fair Dream Gone Mad” is the debut album from Sacramento-based progressive metal band In The Silence. Despite being a debut, the album is perfect. It is definitely one of the most impressive debut albums I ever heard, musically comparable to the atmosphere of Green Carnation, some softer touches of Opeth's Damnation ,Porcupine Tree, new Anathema, and the dark vibes of Katatonia. And one thing I gotta say is I found them on YouTube, lol.

The opening track, "Ever Closer", displays an atmospheric acoustic progression and it will hit you hard. I was blown away by the second track, "17 Shades", and its instrumentation, lyrics, and vocals are amazing. Love Josh Burke's poetic lyrics. Third song "Serenity" is another song that has the mixture of atmospheric vocals & acoustic guitars with hard-hitting drumming and a thrashy solo .

My personal favorite is the 4th song of the album, "Beneath These Falling Leaves". It begins with an acoustic guitar, then guitar vol (it's so similar to violin), then Josh's melancholic vocals, then a great solo with double bass drumming. Amazing...a truly amazing song. The first five songs from the album are perfect for me with the fifth one, "Close to Me", being a perfect instrumental. The final track, "Your Reward", is another great song from the album that has some doomy sound.

To me, this album is a perfect prog metal album; beautiful vocals throughout the album, absolutely great guitar work, and mind-blowing percussion work. Without a doubt, I can recommend this album to anyone who’s looking for melodic prog metal. Katatonia, Opeth, and Anathema fans must check out "A Fair Dream Gone Mad". Much love for these guys. They have a great future.

Put this in the dream journal. - 88%

eyes_of_apocalypse, February 4th, 2013

It's fact now: 2012 was an awesome year for debut albums, and I dare say THE best year in a very long time. I was previously astonished by the level of excellence on display from Ne Obliviscaris, Oceans of Time, Wilderun, and Hail Spirit Noir. I stumbled upon A Fair Dream Gone Mad shortly after the year eclipsed thanks to a recommendation, and it further proves how exceptional last year was.

In the Silence is like a nice smoothie made of Voyager, Pain of Salvation, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, and even hints of Anathema in terms of build up. The point is that this is a progressive metal record flourishing with soft, acoustic sections. That's the beauty of progressive music: it comes in so many varieties. This is hardly masturbatory Dream Theater-style progressive; it's intricate, haunting, emotive, and poignant. This emotional poignancy is used through a melancholic, depressive rock spin. In fact, the atmosphere in this album reminds me of a more progressive Katatonia. While I'm hardly a huge Katatonia fan, the way it's showcased here is much of the album's charm.

The technical proficiency of this album cannot be questioned, but I feel it comes off the greatest in structure rather than showmanship. Though many bands have been attempting to merge the "hard/soft" thing with varying degrees of success, I don't think I've yet heard any one of them manage to do it so seamlessly as In the Silence. Take, for example, the acoustic solo in "Serenity" that transitions flawlessly into a blazing electric solo, leading back into its somber, moody chorus - one of my favorite moments on the album. "Beneath These Falling Leaves" slowly builds up with an acoustic, haunting, almost melodramatic experience before bursting with heavy guitars and drum patterns at the end of its penultimate verse. Even the way the verses and choruses transition in opener "Ever Closer" and "Endless Sea" is so seamless I have a hard time noticing sometimes.

It's become mandatory for band members to be a professional with their instruments to even write a bad album these days, so it goes without saying that the instruments are well performed. The drum work might be what's most surprisingly impressing, because it's rare that an album actually makes me pay attention to what the drums are doing the way A Fair Dream Gone Mad does. The vocals here are the centerpiece of the work, though. Josh Burke has a harmonious baritone that is perhaps the primary reason this album sounds as dark and heartfelt as it does. Simply put, his vocal work is harrowingly excellent.

Ultimately, my only real complaint with A Fair Dream Gone Mad is the fact it's rather front-loaded with excellence. Beginning around the point of instrumental segue "Close to Me," the album has a small dip in quality. Though the songs remain great (with special note to "Endless Sea," with its simultaneously melancholic and inspirational chorus), the band's creativity seems to have warn down just slightly by this point. It reaches its lowest point with closer "Your Reward." The saving grace to this track is the sections that actually contain vocals, because it is unnecessarily extended with instrumental sections that dominate the song, and its ideas are repeated so often they're stretched thin.

What amazes me most is, despite this being a debut, these guys write music like veterans. I can compare their style to a variety of acts, but they manage something unique and mesmerizing in its approach. I mentioned how 2012 already astounded me with its number of excellent debuts, but this one might be the "be-all and end-all." It's elegant, intricate, and well worth your time.