SILENT MEMORIAL - Cosmic Handball

Silent Memorial - Cosmic Handball

9 songs
66:29 minutes
***** ***
Limb Music


Silent Memorial are a band from the Swiss capital Bern that was founded in 1996 in order to play contemporary progressive metal. After a demo in 1997, their debut Cosmic Handball came one year later. Apparently no label was showing interest in it, so that the record was only released in some Asian countries. The band ceased to exist shortly thereafter, only to start again nearly ten years later with three founding members to have their comeback album Retrospective published by Limb Music, who also decided to re-release the debut which is already a decade old.

Retrospective was certainly not a bad album, but somehow I prefer the debut where the band is acting more unconventionally. The Dream Theater parallels are still partly present, but other parts show the band more complex and playful, where Carpet Diver stands out as the album’s highlight. Another positive aspect is the music’s more pronounced heaviness. The original vocalist also sounded more gritty than the new one. The numerous multi-layered vocal parts are splendidly arranged. The nearly inscrutable stylistic variety that Silent Memorial is practicing should amaze every fan of progressive rock music. Especially the last two tracks, both running more than ten minutes each, are full of fantastically executed musical intricacies that make listening a sheer pleasure. The musicians have set themselves no boundaries and don’t care about established rules. Only the shorter Lovely Galaxy has turned out too harmless and can’t hold up with the rest of the album.

Silent Memorial managed back then to create a flawless combination of old and new school progressive metal. The production isn’t too bombastic, which should not really be considered a mistake on a retro release. Retrospective was a well crafted album, but Cosmic Handball sounds pleasantly crazier, just like its unusual title.

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