"Silence" (Inside Out Music; 2006)

Reviewed by Edwin Van Hoof

One might have thought, considering the gigantic wave of progressive rock releases covering nearly all dry land by now, that the constant stream of quality releases from Inside Out Music would have stopped by now. Yet again the German-based label has managed to release another magnificent piece of work, this time the fourth CD from the charismatic outcasts of prog from Sweden: A.C.T.

Slowly building from their debut CD, “Today’s Report,” into one of the finer progressive bands around, A.C.T. have managed to embed superb melodic rock ingredients into their more elusive seventies and English rooted prog rock with great success. The evidence can be found all over "Silence."

“Truth is Pain,” has a brilliant ongoing guitar at the end that slowly leads into the majestic next track, “Puppeteers,” with its Rush-reminiscent drum patterns and the crystal clear female voice that provides needed depth during the bridge and refrain. Finger licking sweet is the wonderful warm “This Wonderful World” with its lyrical twist differing from the warm emotional feeling presented musically. 

True, some listeners may have to get used to the charismatic voice of Herman Saming, who brings back memories of the better days of It Bites shouter Francis Dunnery, the band also consists of two more voices that enable a shifting forward and back whenever needed to power up the tracks in superb harmonies. Guitar player Ola Andersson and keyboardist Jerry Sahlin both spice up the sweet sound of A.C.T. Another trademark is the wonderful guitar sound and expressive bass playing from Peter Asp, backed by the previously mentioned inspired playing of Thomas Lejon. 

Other great tracks include “Out of Ideas” with its swing beats, “Hope” (with an amazing keys – guitar interplay), the keyboard pumped “Into the Unknown” and the poppy ear-sneakers “No Longer Touching Ground” and “The Voice Within.” It’s all simply brilliant melodic progressive rock, including the full frontal rocker “Useless Argument” and the funky reggae-infected prog stomper “Call in Dead” which offers a wide range of emotions and depth as well as song structures!

The finest punch they throw, however, is the 22 minute masterpiece “Consequences” (sub-titled “The Long One”!). This track is divided into nine chapters opened by the spitting progressive intros “Silent Screams” and “Introduction,” that lead us into the mind twisting “The Millionaire” and the eclectic “Joanna,” with its fiery guitars and impressive drum patterns. 

The smooth keyboard ballad “A Father’s Love” offers us some rest as it splits into the prog gem “Memory to Fight” that seamlessly could be connected to “Joanna” with its enthusiastic outbursts of expressive thoughts and playing. These tracks are pumped up and fired with eclectic feelings and some awesome guitar playing. “The Diary” reflects feelings directly connected to the song's theme and that of the entire epic track. It shifts emotions and toward the end it opens up a dark door with “A Wound That Won’t Heal” with several mood swings throughout the song. And that slowly leads us into the warm outro “The Final Silence." What a great way to end the CD!

Also featured here is an multi-media video track worth checking out. 

A.C.T.: Ola Andersson - Vocals, guitar; Peter Asp – Guitars, bass; Thomas Lejon - Drums; Jerry Sahlin – Keyboards, vocals; Herman Saming – Lead vocals.

For more information, check out www.actworld.nu or www.indsideout.de.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02 Oct 2023 21:56:13 -0400.