Some bands seemingly come from out of nowhere to make a statement, and that’s the feeling I get from Silent Saga. The band currently is based in Hamburg, Germany by way of Brazil where vocalist Sabrina Todt and multi-instrumentalist Renato Angelo moved from in 2014. The band as it is, formed out of the Brazilian band Amazon, who has shared stages with heavyweights in the genre such as Nightwish and Epica. In 2016, Todt and Angelo added Alex Mancini on guitar and drummer Daniel Sapcu to form the current Silent Saga lineup. The band’s material on Rise has been previously released on three ep’s, Ball of Vanities, Immortal, and The Path. For all three, production was handled by Sander Gommans (After Forever), Ivo Van DIjk (Xystus, Karmaflow), and Amanda Somerville (Avantasia). Other interesting pieces of information on the songs are that some musicians from the former band Amazon were involved, with producer Sander Gommans adding some guitars and guitar solos, Andre Pedral on bass, and drums by Marcos Frassao, who recorded them in Brazil.
As I’ve written reviews, I’ve noted many times how sheltered I must be from good music as I’ll often get bands that are so good I should have heard them before receiving an album to review. Silent Saga fits nicely into that category. Rise (and by default their ep’s) is a great album for those who appreciate symphonic, power metal. The previous band Amazon from which Silent Saga formed shared the stage with legendary bands Nightwish and Epica and after listening to Silent Saga, one can easily see why. Vocals from Sabrina Todt are outstanding and what one would expect, smooth and beautiful at times, forceful and powerful at others, working well with the complex arrangements that delve at times into the heavier side of metal and into the hard rock arena at others. The guitars, while perhaps not as dominant in the sound as I would like work well in the arrangements and there are some great riffs and solos. My one quibble with this genre and a bit with this album is that things are a bit too clean and polished from a production standpoint and the guitars not as prominent as I would like to hear them but all of these things are likely fixed in a live setting and really are more of my personal preference.
On “Ball of Vanities”, the album opens up with some symphonic string elements and keyboards point to an imminent guitar and drum opening, which does happen and while a bit predictable, it is an element that works. My first impression was around the guitars as the riff seems a bit harder than I expected and then the galloping drums during the verse sections contrasted nicely with the quieter piano sections. I’m not a big fan of the keyboard sections, but the one later in the song introduced a nice, heavier guitar section that again surprised me a bit.
The keyboard intro for “Three Lives” did throw me off a bit, but then the chunky, driving guitar and drum rhythm instantly changed my opinion of the song, especially as it continues through the song. The song picks up pace and Sabrina Todt shows some great flexibility in her vocal styles, adopting a fast spoken approach at times when the more melodic singing doesn’t fit the aesthetic of the song. While the guitars are more prominent here in this song, they come even more to the forefront for someshort sections later in the song and bring a welcome change.
From what I can tell, The Path would be the most recent of the ep’s released by the band and while they were all released within months of each other the title track for the ep “The Path” almost makes it seem like the band has matured their sound over that short time. Following a short keyboard and symphonic intro, the guitars really take over the early parts of the song and do nearly break into a thrash section before halting for the verse section, where clean guitars and bass drive things along. This song has a bit of an Evanescence feel to it, provided you throw some thrash riffs into it.
As a band, Silent Saga, have talked about not shying away from tough subjects and “Suicide Note” would definitely be an example of that. The band describes the song as a “warning in form of music” as it is written from the point of a person who feels alone, “Dreams had left me a long time ago, Now there’s only sadness and a time to die alone”. Within the song itself the drum rhythm really comes to standout among the elements and there are some guitar elements here and there that remind me a bit of something from a Deep Purple or Rainbow in the way the guitars and keyboards interplay.
“Immortal is one of the other noteworthy songs for the band, for a couple of reasons, one is that they made a video for it and to me the other is the emphasis on the guitars. Instead of a keyboard opening the song has a melodic guitar opening that changes into a complex and dark riff accompanied by rapid fire double bass that Todt’s vocals layer nicely over the top. In this song, the keyboards take more of a supporting role than in other songs but even in some of the faster obvious metal-influenced sections the symphonic element of their sound complements the fast guitars and drums.
Silent Saga have put together a great collection of tracks from their previous ep’s and demonstrated an impressive complexity and maturity in songwriting that brings together great vocals and symphonic elements with heavy metal in a way that sets the bar very high around expectations for new material. The melodic hooks and metal elements heavier than expected make this an album worth checking out.
Written by John Jackson
1. Ball of Vanities 04:31
2. Three Lives 05:21
3. The Path 06:03
4. Suicide Note 04:48
5. Prisoner of the Sea 04:37
6. Sins 04:08
7. Immortal 03:58
8. Time 05:17
9. New Horizons 05:46
10. Bittersweet 04:00
Renato Angelo – Keyboards, bass, guitar
Sabrina Todt – Vocals, flute
Alex Mancini – Guitar
Daniel Sapcu – Drums
Record Label: Independent, March 2018
Video for ‘Ball of Vanities’
Video for ‘Immortal’
Video for ‘The Path’