For a band basically aping the poppier elements of progressive rock, Slyde are a hell of a lot of fun. Returning from a two year hiatus, the Canadian rockers are no strangers to their local rock scene as well as having had the opportunity to play with complex metallers Protest The Hero. So after two years of downtime, what do this group of technical-proggers have to offer you might be wondering? Well the answer to your question is latest effort and self-professed ‘concept EP’ Back Again, which the group have said “Explores the links between environmentalism and the wider world, with a sci-fi twist”. So with that question answered, we move onto the next question… Is Back Again a welcome return?
Fading – Galloping along at Iron Maiden-like pace, Fading opens things up and upon hearing vocalist Nathan Da Silva’s voice, it is clear he has hit upon a unique mix of Rush’s Geddy Lee and Coheed & Cambria’s Claudia Sanchez. As an opening track we get everything that makes the band such an interesting prospect in under 4 minutes as technical guitar riffs go head to head with video game-like keyboards to create a fun but frenzied assault.
Join The Parade – The band hit upon a huge groove to start things out here and soon Da Silva makes his return spewing hooky harmonies over Sarah Westbrook’s synthy backing. It shows off one of the catchier choruses on the EP as well as ultizing a slap bass sound to give the track some extra funk.
Divide – We start with an intro riff reminiscent of Reroute to Remain-era In Flames before another earworm chorus kicks in. Duelling guitars and keys fill out an action packed mid section before returning back to the chorus for what will surely be a live favorite full of singalong opportunities.
Back Again – The title track takes things down a notch and offers the most progressive cut on the EP. The bands lyrics touch on the ‘Pale Blue Dot concept’ of Earth as a tiny speck in the vastness of space and Da Silva offers the main hookline of “We won’t be coming back again”, while the rest of the band fill the space behind him with sparse instrumentation. The track eventually explodes midway through with squalling solos from both Westbrook and Da Silva before coming full circle and winding down for the finale.
For a relatively unknown band, Slyde have certainly learned enough from 2112 and In Keeping Secrets… to make a fun, technical and lyrically challenging record. Sure, Back Again isn’t a sound that will be unfamiliar to most modern prog metal fans but there is something about Slyde’s take on the genre, with it’s winding keys and compelling structures that make them something worth keeping an eye out for.
Back Again is out now.