EVERGREY vocalist Tom S. Englund teams up with piano virtuoso and multi-instrumentalist Vikram Shankar once more for an atmospheric walk through Scandinavian melancholy and cinematic soundscapes: SILENT SKIES will release their luminescent label debut, “Nectar”, via Napalm Records on February 4, 2022.
Both artists set themselves free from limitations to captivate their listeners with a soulful ten-track offering, produced by Englund and Shankar themselves and mixed/mastered by Jacob Hansen at Hansen Studios.
Infinite, heartfelt Nectar enchants with tender instrumentation and deep-reaching lyricism, combining reminiscence of the likes of producers and composers such as Olafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm, and Ludovico Einaudi, and bands ranging from Sigur Rós to Anathema. The balance between haunting instrumentals and vocal intensity that complement each other in perfect harmony walks a delicate line where listeners are treated to the best of both worlds.
With Gothenburg’s EVERGREY being known as one of the most prolific bands in prog metal, Englund is by far no stranger to the scene. After partnering with North Carolina, USA-based piano player Vikram Shankar – who had already worked with greats like Anneke van Giersbergen – this fateful encounter, now known as SILENT SKIES, set its first milestone with the release of their spine-tingling debut “Satellites” back in 2020.
Two years later, this fruitful collaboration returns with “Nectar”, which marks the sequel of something that’s far more than just a side project of Englund’s. Rather, it’s the brainchild of two highly talented individual artists with deep knowledge and many years of experience, whose creativity and spirit culminates in an exceptional form of musical expression.
Shankar’s sensitive yet intense piano tunes merge with the poignant vocal interpretation of Tom S. Englund to take the listener on a touching, melancholic ride that wanders through the darkest facets of life, while always leaving a spark of hope to hold on to. This otherworldly sonic collaboration is graced by the outstanding contributions of Leprous’ cello player Raphael Weinroth-Browne, who appears on nearly every track of the album to spice up the stirring sound even more.
SILENT SKIES’ sophomore full-length sets off with the soulful, ethereal “Fallen From Heart”, immediately creating a tapestry of sound to get lost in. Tracks like delicate “Taper” or shimmering “Neverending” are dominated by the yearning vocals of Englund but never fail to give Shankar’s instrumental virtuosity the well-deserved space to shine bright like the first sunray welcoming the day.
Beautifully honest “Let It Hurt” addicts with its remarkable chorus hitting on point and blends cinematic strings and piano with hooky modern vocals. Darker realms lure with heart-breaking “Leaving”, combining gloomy ambient and infectious pop influences, and dramatically accented, heart-beating “Cold”, with its lingering electronic elements that build a tangible, gripping maelstrom of emotions. The instrumental title track “Nectar” closes this new chapter of SILENT SKIES but leaves its audience with a long-lasting impact and the key to a door that’s worth entering over and over again.
Photos: (c) Patric Ullaeus