[8/10] Recommended to this scribe by Dan “I wear Agalloch pajamas to bed” Barkasi, In the Silence are a Sacramento, CA-based dark metal ensemble with what appears to be, limitless potential. Before we get to that, it should be noted that Barkasi baited yours truly by comparing these gents to Katatonia, which is essentially like dropping scraps of food on the floor for a dog…the dog (and I) will both go for it every time. And no, In the Silence don’t sound like the mighty Swedes, although they could pick far worse bands to emulate…
For a self-released, self-financed (duh) debut album, In the Silence hammer the dark metal angle home rather easily on A Fair Dream Gone Mad. Subtle nods to Opeth are prevalent, but not dominating, as are spacious, atmospheric motifs that are part-Tool, part-sinewy Goth. Previous experiences with bands operating under both the “unsigned” and “dark/Goth” banner have revealed a little too much influence-on-one’s-sleeve-wearing, yet In the Silence manage to carve an identity of their own without resorting to downright thievery.
In the Silence hum and rattle largely in part because of guitarist Josh Burke’s clean vocal approach. Responsible for some of the albums high points on “Serenity” and the magnificent “All the Pieces,” Burke is a rare find in the dark metal world – he doesn’t growl, and he doesn’t croon. And when the songs require him to play it safe and reserved (see: “Your Reward”), he’s able to do just that, and rather effortlessly.
A startlingly mature album that belies the band’s relative inexperience and fresh-face, A Fair Dream Gone Mad will more than likely be the best unsigned album to come our this year. Better yet, it’s certainly one of the more alluring dark/atmospheric albums to hit in 2012 as well. Definitely a band worth rallying behind, if only because North America needs a band to close the gap Europe has on us in this field. Totally recommended.