Dormant Silent Skies

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Album including Album cover


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FLAC 44.1 $ 13.20
  • 1Construct04:55
  • 2New Life04:48
  • 3Churches05:02
  • 4Just Above The Clouds04:11
  • 5Reset04:40
  • 6Tides03:56
  • 7The Real Me06:28
  • 8Light Up The Dark04:09
  • 9Dormant04:53
  • 10The Last On Earth05:32
  • 11The Trooper04:06
  • 12Dancing In The Dark04:47
  • 13Numb03:33
  • Total Runtime01:01:00

Info for Dormant

Whenever EVERGREY’s Tom S. Englund and acclaimed US-based pianist/composer Vikram Shankar (Redemption, Lux Terminus) come together to merge their creativity, the result is magic. Now arrives the next product of this fateful encounter, as the Swedish-American cinematic-pop duo releases its third album, Dormant, on September 1, 2023 via Napalm Records. Continuing on the atmospheric path of Scandinavian melancholy charted on their previous full-lengths, Nectar (2022) and Satellites (2020), the brainchild of Englund and Shankar features stunning piano melodies, atmospheric keyboards, lush and expansive soundscapes, and hauntingly beautiful and intense vocals on 10 original compositions, accompanied by bonus tracks, covers of well-known classics by Iron Maiden, Linkin Park, and more, dressed in matchless emotional elegance.

The opening track “Construct” calls for the listener to join the two musicians on a soulful journey, building the atmosphere to a sublime conclusion, before continuing along a darker, brooding and intense path in the yearning “New Life”. Englund’s heartfelt vocals speak directly to the soul, while balancing perfectly with Shankar’s thoughtful instrumentation, driven by tender piano and elevated by an engulfing production. The harmonious “Churches” and pop-inflected “Just Above The Clouds” - the latter featuring a compelling solo from Leprous/Musk Ox cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne - build up to a mesmerizing daydream, leaving the listener lost in the wonderful nuances that Dormant has to offer.

The calming and profoundly introspective “Reset” and “Tides” envelop the listener in seemingly endless melancholic soundscapes, whereas the poignant “The Real Me” is imbibed with electronic hues that yield a brighter, more modern atmosphere. Throughout these tracks, SILENT SKIES’ work is characterized by deep and thoughtful expansion of their signature sound, where analog synthesizers, intricate programming, meticulously constructed soundscapes, and stately piano melodies are paired with the introspective vocals of Englund, who delivers profound lyrical sentiments with thoughtfully expressive character. The deeply moving “Light Up The Dark” and the serene atmosphere of the title track “Dormant” are followed by the glimmering hues of “The Last On Earth”, the last original composition on Dormant, in which modular synth loops and moody piano reflections are paired with chiming guitars that encapsulate the duo’s commitment to the development of their sound.

SILENT SKIES’ third offering is melancholic and calming, yet effervescent and incandescent, expanding the duo’s sonic universe in every direction - it is the result of brave sonic experimentation married to the tastefully artistic aesthetic that defines the group. Throughout the varied peaks and valleys of their compositions, it is their powers of expression, and reflection on the human experience - in their own words, “conversations with life, about life” - that give their music the power to speak to a vast array of lived experiences, and reach people with diverse tastes, as long as they are interested in appreciating art as a reflection of life itself.

Tom S. Englund, vocals
Vikram Shankar, keyboards

Silent Skies
Something gloriously unexpected happens once you leave the safety of your comfort zone behind. Setting sails for new adventures and new horizons is also what Tom Englund of Swedish melancholic metal masters Evergrey and renowned classical pianist Vikram Shankar are doing. Their mutual brainchild Silent Skies is like an ocean of melancholy, a sublime tapestry on which they project their gentle, breezing, touching cinematic music.

Scandinavian melancholy is more than just a cliché in the loud and drastic world of rock and metal. It’s a tangible, omnipresent state of mind, buried deep within every soul in the Northern Hemisphere. On their soaring, touching sophomore album “Nectar”, transatlantic duo Silent Skies shows what’s at the very core of melancholic music once you delete distorted guitars and expressive drumming: a nucleus of piano-driven, orchestral, shimmering music reminiscent of some calmer Anathema works or the wistful visions of Ólafur Arnalds. So beautiful it makes you cry. So painful it makes you heal.

Everything began a few years back when Englund stumbled across one of Shankar’s piano renditions of an Evergrey song. “I instantly realized that he understood what Evergrey was all about,” Englund says. “I don’t think we would have ever worked together were it not for this.” Shankar has been an Evergrey fan ever since his high school days. “They are part of my musical DNA,” the artist from North Carolina states. “I listened to them for years and years. The way they made music influenced my way of writing and playing, too. When Tom and I are making music, I instantly know what he wants to say. We speak a common musical language. We both want to express that which touches us profoundly. Only then,” the pianist says, “music can truly move others.”

“Nectar” indeed is a moving affair. Yet, it’s so much more than Evergrey-esque tunes set to piano, cello, samples and subtle percussion. “Our music allows you to get to a state of calmer breathing,” says Englund. “To reflect, to take time for yourself. To me, this is just as heavy as heavy metal. We just took away the distorted guitars and the drums.” His virtuosic friend nods in agreement. “I have always been interested in capturing heavy music with my piano. I have been doing piano arrangements of metal songs for a decade now and I have always loved how a piano can stage a whole metal song – with the deep percussive low end and the high shimmering keys. If the listener is willing to take a leap of faith with us, they will discover a lot of kindred spirit between this and metal music.”

Even more so than on their praised debut “Satellites” they channel the elegiac spirit of Anathema or Katatonia and wreath it into a soaring ocean of sound not unlike a movie score like “Interstellar”. It’s monumental without being pretentious, grand without being over-produced. “There’s a human presence in the songs,” Tom agrees. “This kind of music is too delicate to be produced the way a metal album is produced.” Gentle and with great care, these two kindred spirits have created an album so achingly beautiful it deserves to be heard all over the world. “The piano you can hear on the album is actually my childhood piano in my parents’ home in Cleveland, Ohio,” beams Vikram. “I always wanted to use this piano for a serious, heartfelt project but it never felt right. Bringing a part of my heritage and upbringing to this project means a lot to me.”

His old piano is joined by some bubbling Moog, retro synthesizers from the 1980s and live cello courtesy of Raphael Weinroth-Browne (Leprous), caressed by Englunds heartfelt, aching, breaking voice. “The way he sings makes you listen to every single word,” Shankar says. “It’s as if Tom is speaking directly to you. It’s very beautiful and poetic.” It’s important, too: Englund addresses issues of mental health that are still not talked about enough. “Our personal issues set an important foundation of understanding each other and getting it when one of us doesn’t have the energy to work on music. We know how it feels when you question yourself as a musician.”

This is not just another lockdown project. It’s a personal matter of deepest importance for the two, almost reluctantly shared with the rest of the world. Englund, ever the laconic Swede, grins: “It’s sad music alright. Yet this sad and wistful music gives us an energy we don’t get when we listen to AC/DC. It brings you to explore your inner self.” by Bjorn Springorum

This album contains no booklet.

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