TRYTAN - Sylentiger
After years of lying in obscurity Trytan’s second album Sylentiger finally has received a proper remaster and reissue. This album was released in 1990 on R.E.X. Records, however it arrived two years too late to capitalize on the wave that their debut album Celestial Messenger created.
Initially Trytan fell into the category of “they sound like so and so, or such and such band.” Much like Whitecross or Barren Cross, Trytan had to overcome not just being labeled a “clone” of an immense secular artist. (Granted, at the time the artist they were compared with, Rush, was flirting with rock geriatrics, Presto, seriously.) Trytan were a proggy metal band with a vocalist guitar player (Lary Dean) who plays like jazz rock fusion player Alan Holdsworth and yet sounds quite similar to Geddy Lee.
Ok who am I kidding; Lary sounded a whole lot like Geddy, period. Admittedly this was the draw for me back then, I am an admitted Rush fanatic. Yet when this album was released this style of metal was on the outs in favor of the melodic metal sounds of Los Angeles or blues based rockers from elsewhere. Honestly I ate this up but the music did have distinctly different vibe from the first album.
The songs on Sylentiger are a bit more straightforward, while there is some musical exploration the vibe is distinctly more head-on. As memory serves Lary had said that people “complained we sound too much like Rush” and after this album came out the complaint was that they “don’t sound the same as the first album.” Go figure.
For this reviewer, Sylentiger is definitely a more metal album than Celestial Messenger but plenty of textures, rhythmic structures and depth of sound exist here to satisfy even the most discriminating music aficionado. The key to any album are the songs themselves and Sylentiger has them in spades!!
Whether it’s the highly infectious “Deadly Masquerade” with its swirly melody amidst several tempo and time changes, its ear candy of the first order. The title cut itself opens with a bustling keyboard intro that would shake the house with its atmospheric gymnastics as it bows to the driving guitars, bass (provided by Steve Robinson) and drums (delivered by Jim Dobbs). The key here is the melody which demands an immediate replay after.
“Here to Stay” and “Playing With Fire” clocking in at over 6 minutes each have such energy and memorable melodies it’s a wonder that this album had languished in obscurity for so long. Both tracks build up to such hooks that their length is not even an issue. Delivering such musical enjoyment is simply not an every day event. Each musical offering highlights the jazz fusion playing of Lary Dean and are a delight to the ears.
With creamy textures and swirling ambience “Life Goes On” and “Waking the Giant” provide a more concise avenue of whimsy that deliver on the desire of solid songwriting. “Waking the Giant” is such a great track it produces wonderful bits of air drumming on my part (hopefully not while I’m driving). The double time of the guitar over the drums gets me every time.
The strong accolades aside, there are a few tracks which still don’t quite measure up, album opener “Take Cover” or track three “Beyond the Night” feel slightly anticlimactic. And the inclusion of Leslie Philips “By My Spirit,” while a good song, has always felt a little out of place to me.
Those mild criticisms aside, the remaster brings so much more life to this recording. Of course the bass is more defined, but I hear drum parts I don’t remember hearing before. With an urgency and energy, not to mention clarity, the remastering of Rob Colwell helps to define this lost gem of classic prog metal.
If you are willing to go deeper than the initial “they sound like Rush” you will find a creative work of the highest order. Trytan’s Sylentiger has not tarnished with age if anything it has resurfaced to take its place amongst the classics of Christian Metal, period. Retroactive is issuing this on vinyl (first time ever!!) and a Gold Disc Edition CD. I will be grabbing the CD myself. A brilliant release.