"Complications" EP (The End / Candlelight Records; 2005)

Reviewed by Ray Van Horn Jr.

As we await a new Winds album (which is reportedly in the works), Andy Winters' alternate project, Age of Silence, returns with more of a whisper than a statement. Last year's stout "Accelerations" caught the prog metal underground's attention and now with this three-song EP "Complications," we -- the listening public -- discover this is the second component of the band's "Trilogy of Intracacy."

Like labelmates Subterranean Masquerade, Age of Silence has conceived an epic trilogy (seems like both the word and format have been disturbingly fashionable since "Star Wars" and "Lord of the Rings") and, while the lumbering pace of "Complications" is a small shade of its predecessor, it's terrific nonetheless. 

A laggard doom tempo strings the trio of songs together, complete with layered vocal arrangements that are frequently exquisite. Andy Winters' keys almost goof on the second two tracks to offset the slow, temporal pace Age of Silence constructs on this EP. 

Ironically, the narrative inside the jacket relays a different story than what is sung, and it's staunch stuff. In one of the most brutal yet poetic attacks on contemporary consumerism since the original "Dawn of the Dead," the Stephen King-like rendition of a mall in Hell is surprisingly effective, not cheesy. 

While "Complications" feels like a feeder piece, it's undeniable there's something big in the overall picture for Age of Silence. 

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"Acceleration" (The End; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

And where might the leading edge of progressive rock/progressive metal be these days? One can never be quite so sure as the varied opinion among fans of the genre would likely not yield a common answer. I certainly don't know, but I do like what I hear in the progressive genres even if I have difficulty explaining exactly why I might like what I'm hearing.

Age Of Silence features three members of Winds - keyboardist Andy Winters, bassist Eikind, and drummer Hellhammer - most recently of "The Imaginary Direction Of Time" project. These fine fellows are joined by Lazare (Borknagar, Solefald) and guitarists Extant and Kobbergaard (By Pale Light). So, yes, Age Of Silence is another Norwegian super-group of sorts. I'm not complaining as things could be worse. And I like the sound and style of Age Of Silence.

While Winds is a pretty neat project in its own right Age Of Silence is thankfully a little heavier than Winds. That much is obvious from the get-go. What isn't so obvious is how involved the music of Age Of Silence really is. "Acceleration" was not an easy disc to digest. It took at least three of four spins for me to get a handle on what Age Of Silence had to offer. By the time I was fully involved in "Acceleration" I did hear a lot of Solefald and Arcturus in the music as well. And certainly the premium signature keyboard parts reminded of Covenant's "Nexus Polaris." None of this should suggest to you, dear reader, that Age Of Silence sounds like the previously mentioned bands, but rather the dominant features of those bands are somewhat prominent in Age Of Silence's overall presentation and that's pretty good company to keep.

The bottom line is that Age Of Silence's music and vocals are well thought out and interestingly weaved throughout "Acceleration." The challenge lies in absorbing the entire disc as one piece, not as separate songs. So you're asking yourself is "Acceleration" thinking man's metal? Not from a purely technical standpoint, but certainly "Acceleration" requires careful deliberation and a pensive critique from the listener.

"Acceleration" is not ground-breaking, just done very well. For fans of progressive rock and progressive metal who have the patience to lose themselves in a work of art.

"Acceleration" was produced by Age Of Silence.

Age Of Silence: Lazare on vocals, Extant and Kobbergaard on guitars, Eikind on bass, Winter on keyboards, and Hellhammer on drums.

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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 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 07 Aug 2023 21:18:43 -0400.