January 11 this year was a busy day, seeing as Sylvium was due to headline at the Celebrate 2014! gig at Starsound in Utrecht.  Busy as we ever were, not just due to learning a whole new setlist, but also a new song planned for the recording of our second album. And new songs that aren’t recorded yet, simply because they’re still a work in progress, are always a tough cookie.

Even though it was to be a happy environment with two other superb bands, Adeia and Minor Giant, I’d not have the best of weeks and so the drive to Utrecht wasn’t a fun one.

Setup and rolling our gear in after all arriving at two in the afternoon kept my mind off of things as I focused on making sure my amp was set up, seeing as Adeia’s guitarist Wabe was using the speaker cabinet. The whole affair of this gig set up by Freia Music and Layered Reality Productions made this day become one where I had enough opportunities to be distracted by my band mates, our crew helping with the setup and the other bands talking to them about their love for music and other things.

After devouring the Chinese food that was ordered in, we moved into the rehearsal room ( where we work out all our material as well) and started getting ready to do the gig. Whereas I usually watch the venue fill up with people, I decided to distance myself this time and remain as zen as possible. I wasn’t feeling comfortable and I was afraid it was going to show on stage. Taking the time to remain backstage calmed me significantly. I eventually moved out into the venue to enjoy what the other bands had in store that night.
Adeia took the stage first, blowing me away with their massive sound and their unique position that they hold in the Dutch Progressive Metal scene. Not a lot of prog metal bands can incorporate a classic sound that well, but Adeia have proven otherwise.

11950681744_5a9a109774_o         11950240975_bff5d0dd95_o

Minor Giant was up next, playing a stunning set of music best described as the Dutch Transatlantic. After the loud set by Adeia, this was a welcome change in sound, as well as a joy to behold two keyboard players instead of one!
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Then, it was our turn!

And just then, Antal keyboard rig decided to break down.

As Antal sat down to fix his computer ( from which he triggers his soft synths), we waited for about fifteen minutes as we were unable to get any sound out of his rig. But finally, Murphy’s sense of humor ended along with the suspense that was killing us and soon we were on our way into the setlist.

140111-03 Sylvium 038 [Gijs Koopman]         140111-03 Sylvium 003 [Richard de Geest]

The new setlist proved a golden one, with the first half a combination of songs from ‘The Gift of Anxiety’ and two tracks from the ‘Purified’ EP. The crowd was enthusiastic about the songs played and confidently we continued.
The new song, Fade In/Out, was up next. Responses were positive, although we’re still working out the arrangements on that track as we speak to keep it as tight as possible. But we got through it! We ended our set with ‘Heaven’, ‘Weathering’ and ‘Falling’ before setting off into the night once more.


140111-03 Sylvium 039 [Antal Nusselder]          140111-03 Sylvium 019 [Greg Geurtsen] 140111-03 Sylvium 011 [Ben van Gastel]         140111-03 Sylvium 047 [Band] 140111-03 Sylvium 048 [Band]         140111-03 Sylvium 033 [Gijs Koopman, Ben van Gastel, Richard de Geest]

The gig was a marvellous thing to do. Even though I’d had a crap week, performing that night was the required exorcism, so to speak. I’ve been been told by Tom, our esteemed friend who is currently cutting the footage shot at the gig for a DVD ( and is also the lead vocalist of Mind:Soul, a great band you should all check out!), that the footage looked awesome. Beside that, the review we got on progwereld by Mario van Os was so positive, it had me smiling for days. So on to the next gig!


Musicmix: Sylvium

Sylvium: the Gift of Anxiety

“Surround” (6:57) and “Weathering” (7:53) debut the first vocals on Sylvium songs, and in both cases, the voice of Richard de Geest fits into the music superbly. “Surround” starts in a more stripped down way, which did remind me of the older Scottish band, The Blue Nile, with the strong powerful voice delivering the lyrics over a relatively sparse backing. The track soon builds in intensity, but that voice remains the centerpoint. Great guitar riffs, keyboard flourishes and the continued excellence of the rhythm unit ensures a memorable track. The final track, “Weathering”, has a very gentle introduction with nice drumming, bass and another of those simple piano melodies. The voice is slightly more insistent on this track as it gently pulls you into the music. This is possibly the most memorable track on the first few listens and will certainly embed itself in your mind. The second part of the track allows the musicians to highlight their skills, before a more ethereal sound takes over to take the track out.

The Gift of Anxiety is a simply stunning album that immediately grabs your attention, and for the 41 minutes of its duration, carries you along on a wave of aural soundscapes before gently allowing you to settle back into the here and now. After a moment, you realize the next thing to do is to start the album over again. Both “One to Buy” and “The Experience will last Forever” sticker adorn the front of this release and it is an album that should fill a little space on everyone’s CD shelf.

Objects In The Rear View Mirror…

First off, I’d like to apologise for my absence from this blog. Several things kicked off in January, among them a Sylvium gig ( which I will talk about in a different post), a roleplaying event I host yearly with several of my best friends for which I not only am a writer, but also the audio guy and working out new songs with Nur Armata.

But it is with sadness that I relate to you that Nur Armata have decided to call it a day. As much as we were extremely prolific in the past weeks writing new material and working this out during a very powerful and superb sounding rehearsal, finding time and energy to plan another rehearsal and/or recording session to work on the finished material proved impossible. Combining the band with personal life, family ( two of us have children) and work unfortunately ended the band prematurely. In hindsight, this was something that had happened before ( way before I even joined the band in January 2012) but it still came as a surprise to me.
Even though this was a decision made a while back in February, I am still disappointed in the demise of the band. The songs we had were powerful and great, the chemistry felt superb to me. I always hate saying goodbye to a band I was fond of.

I wish Andrea, Patrick and Henk nothing but the best in their next musical endeavours and perhaps, in another time and space, we will get together and work out that music we had. Because the music proved magical.

so, what does this mean for Ghost? Well, that remains to be seen. At the moment I’m very busy writing new lyrics and vocal lines for Sylvium’s second album that we plan to release this year, so I’ve decided to focus on that first and get to recording Shifting Mirrors when I’ve worked out several things. It might mean I can actually release the album in 2014 instead of 2015 ( as related in my previous post) but I don’t want to jump the gun and later recant again after finding out it didnt’work at all. I’d rather make sure everything is well written, recorded and mixed to the best of my abilities and released for your enjoyment at a time when I can also support the album on a tour. But that’s just one of my many planned schemes.