Gears of War #4: unintentional rhymes and frustration lullabies…

gt-100 gp-10 finished
While writing the teasers for Shifting Mirrors and making sure the art work was done, I’ve been busy writing new lyrics and vocal lines for the upcoming Sylvium album that we’re going to record this coming september. I’ll be talking more about that elsewhere, so watch this space for updates on that 😉

Also, I’ve been working out a new live rig out of necessity. As much as I love my GT-10, it’s dying a bit on me and I’m forced to look for an upgrade. So far, the plan that’s etched into my brain is getting my GT-10 replaced with a GT-100 while adding extra switches so I can quickly call up more effects on top of existing settings, while wanting to add a GP-10 to the rig as well. Being able to have synth sounds along my electric guitar effects is going to be mad. I’ll also throw in an extra delay that I have lying around to stack on top of existing ones and a chromatic tuner to effectively silence my rig whenever I need to.

There is a problem however: both the GP-10 and the GT-100 are multi-effects units and thus will most likely clash with one another, which either results in both devices simultaneously wanting to give sound to me or one dominating the other. So right now I’m in the process of looking how to hook these up with my amplifier along with one or two stompboxes to add specific effects, as well as awaiting an email from Roland to see if they know how to fix this. It took up most of my day trying to contact Roland whose website seems to be quite well at deflecting ( read: causing errors) incoming messages from users who want to know specific product related things.

This should’ve been fixed ages though though by retiring the GT-10, as its effectsloop is busted away. I’ve been running it through the front of my amplifier which isn’t ideal to be honest. I should just invest in a stackload of Boss pedals, Strymon effects and several other obscure brands I’ve been introduced with by friends and internet and get those all to run through a Gigrig system. However, I’d need a lot more money then. Anyone fancy sponsoring me? 😉 😛

In all seriousness though, if this thing should work out, it would mean I could add amazing sounds to my rig and still have a manageable and thoroughly enjoyable pedalboard. And in the end, it should be just that: manageable and enjoyable. Apart from that all, I’m looking into having a separate vocal effects unit I can use to spice up my vocals a bit, but that’s something for another time!




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!

From Here To Oberhausen

The road to Oberhausen isn’t that long for me, given I live about an hour and a half away from the city. Having brought my equipment with me ( and again instantly realising I’d forgotten my guitar stand again :P) we arrived in Germany. Before going to the venue, we found ourselves having to obtain a sticker that proved you could enter the city, as the Germans employ almost mad laws to bar certain ‘un-environmental’ cars from their major cities in the west. Oddly enough, my car was banned from the city ( even though other cars from the same buildyear as mine are allowed). After a bit of a discussion with the mechanic who checked my car, we realised that we would park our cars in a private parking lot and that the chances a ticket for driving into the city with a car that didn’t have the aforementioned sticker was awarded, were next to zero. We decided to take our chances and enter Oberhausen.

As we arrived at the venue, about thirty minutes later Haken arrived as well. The poor guys had been on an eleven hour drive to the venue, so they were royally knackered the entire day. Both bands hauled out their equipment and quickly began setting up the stage.

The venue was situated in what used to be an old West-German factory. Perhaps not the most modern of all places, but it could house about 300 people and had a great location in the middle of town. The stage was a bit small, but that was only a minor issue. At one point though, during our soundcheck, I recall telling the band that at one point I could fall through the stage as where I stood ( centre, in front of the drumkit) I felt the stage shake and groan under the stress of the noise we were making. The stage, however, held it together nicely 🙂

The gig came and went quite rapidly. Going on stage in front of a crowd which had never even heard of us ( half of the crowd didn’t even know there was a support act in the first place!) was a bit daunting, but we held it together and, apart from some minor hiccups, we played a great show. Haken afterwards blew the crowd away, even though they had only had a couple of hours of sleep. Kudos to the men for pulling that off!

After finishing both sets and cleaning out the stage, we all drove back home, content with the work done. Here’s to more gigs, whether they’re abroad or not!

Dutch prog rock band Sylvium in Oberhausen

Out Of The Blue…

Sometimes, life is all about getting kicked in the shins by Murphy, as he looms over you after you’ve keeled over, shaking his head in disapproval before walking away without ever explaining why. The past two weeks were not of a good kind, due to a variety of things that I won’t go into detail about; all I can say is that the situation is being contained and monitored properly. It’ll work out and that will do.

But today, that was different. No Murphy, no crap happening, nothing. Just a phone call from Ben, Sylvium’s guitarist, asking me if I were available this coming friday for performing as support act for Haken in Oberhausen, Germany.

It took a bit of tinkering with all my plans ( and mind you, I’m still not done figuring out logistics and whatnot) but so far, the board is green and we’re scheduled to perform with Haken. Just wow. I cannot believe the luck we’ve had with this chance, as they are without a doubt the hottest progressive metal band in Europe at the moment. To open op a show for them is a dream come true!

So right now, I’m working out logistics, as this weekend I’ll also be camping with friends as I always do when my birthday nears. Both events will occur, it just means a bit more driving is involved and after the weekend, I’ll be royally knackered. It’ll be worth it though!

Also, I was pointed out today that on Progwereld ( a superb Dutch review website on progressive rock & metal releases) in their top 20 best releases of this year, we’ve come in at #17 with ‘The Gift of Anxiety’. I am just still stunned because of this news, but in a most positive way! So tonight, once my logistical planning is over, I’m having a beer. Slainthe Mhath!

Wereldse 10

Live And Surrounded

Our first gig has come and gone and the band is still stunned by all the positive response we got so far with ‘The Gift of Anxiety’. Our live show was in front of a sold out crowd and they loved it 🙂 So I’m quite chuffed about the whole thing so far 🙂 For those of you who couldn’t be there, here’s a video of Sylvium live playing ‘Surround’ and ‘Falling’, both from our new release ‘The Gift of Anxiety’. Enjoy!