Silver Lining - "The Inner Dragon"
(from Musea Records 2004, FGBG 4558.AR)
From Aural Innovations #29 (October 2004)
The Inner Dragon is the debut album from Silver Lining, featuring the musicianship of ex-Indelspeen members Nicolas Mourachko (guitar) and Pascal Indelicato (keyboards), with Michel Mourachko on bass, Annie Morel on violin, and Acid Dragon Magazineís Theirry Sportouche narrating (and I think doing some of the singing as well). This album was a pure pleasure to listen to from its opening plaintive piano notes to its majestic finale. The Inner Dragon is gorgeous, melodic symphonic progressive rock in the tradition of Camelís The Snow Goose. The musicianship is excellent, especially Annie Morelís exquisite violin, which is what really tends to set this album apart from other similar efforts.
Iíve read some criticism of Theirry Sportoucheís narration in English with his thick French accent. Honestly, I get tired of hearing critics complain when singers from non-English speaking countries sing in their own language, and then complain when they sing in English with an accent. I love the sound of other languages, and I love the effect that accents have on English, and I think Sportoucheís voice and narration adds a wonderful flavor to the music. And thatís coming from someone who doesnít usually like spoken word on albums!
The songs range in length from around two minutes with The Feast to nearly 10-minutes with my favorite track, Opaline (which is a particular showcase for Morelís magnificent violin). But this should be listened to as a whole, for indeed, it is a concept album, revolving around a Tolkeinesque story that is actually a metaphor for life, friendship, lost love, and death. To some, that may sound silly, especially since lyrics about forest sprites and dragons where one of the things that made progressive rock the whipping boy of so many critics in the 80ís, but the emotional and evocative music carries the theme well, and it never seems intrusive or out of place. Songs like the aforementioned Opaline and Morning Dew with its (perhaps unintentional?) nod towards Gentle Giantís Two Weeks in Spain soar with a sense of excitement and adventure, and songs like the title track and The Desert Gates take a more introspective approach (while still remaining firmly within the realms of progressive rock).
Sometimes I like my music to be really challenging, but other times itís nice to just sit back and listen to something as refreshing and easy to listen to as The Inner Dragon. With its flawless musicianship and emotional delivery, this album is a winner all the way.
For more information you can visit the Silver Lining web site at: http://perso.club-internet.fr/acidrago/silverlining.htm.
Visit the Musea Records web site at: http://www.musearecords.com.
Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald