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Articles Home » 2008 Articles » Silence - 2008 Open Road
Silence - 2008 Open Road

ARTIST: Silence
ALBUM: Open Road
LABEL: Kivel Records
YEAR: 2008


LINEUP: Ben Venet - vocals, lead guitar on 'Anywhere' * Bruno Levesque - guitars, keyboards, bass, backing vocals

Guests: Valerie Paul - lead vocal 'Flowers Of Pain' * Aurelie Nogue - lead vocals 'Anywhere', backing vocals * Thomas Bissot, Stephane Dellemmes, Pierre Douzal, Eric Dupre, Olivier Roman Garcia, Christophe Godin, Denis Paufique, Kenny Serane, Vince Vericaigne - guitars on 'Anywhere'

TRACK LISTING: 01 Light Always Seems Brighter In The Dark * 02 Time Keeps Running * 03 Far From You * 04 Never Look Back * 05 Forgive Me * 06 Endless Nights * 07 On My Way Back Home * 08 When Friendship Turns To Love * 09 Flowers Of Pain * 10 If You Don't Need Me Anymore * 11 Jealousy * 12 Voices * 13 The Best * 14 Anywhere



French musician Bruno Levesque has been around for awhile now. He's been in a few bands, but Silence has been his 'baby' since 1997, and eleven years and four albums later, he returns with album number five along with a new singer and a new label. Since his last project 'Nostalgia' released on the defunct Vinny Records label, Bruno Levesque continues to forge ahead with his own music with Silence, which has been described as a cross between deeply melodic AOR and new country! An interesting mix indeed, which includes bits from On The Rise and Khymera. We did review that 'Nostalgia' album back at the tail-end of 2004, and I recall really liking it. Masses of keys and killer guitar melodies! That same recipe is here again on 'Open Road', but the style of music has changed ever so slightly - more modern, touches of the aforementioned 'new country' which gets a thumbs up from yours truly, plus the production is ever so lush, with ambient keyboards and lovely clean guitar melodies and counter-melodies. Man I wish I could play what Bruno is playing in my own home studio! However, the exception to this are the drums which strangely sound underdone. New singer Ben Venet hails from Belgium, and is a member of top jazz fusion band The Jayhawkers, but with Silence he's walking the open road with Bruno alongside him.

The Songs
Fourteen songs onboard here, clocking in at well over an hour.

'Light Always Seems Brighter In The Dark' is a bouncy and bubbly opener, with a modern zest. The acoustic/electric combination works well with the subtle synth layers. The TNT flavoured guitar solo spot was a surprise, pulled out of the magicians hat instead of a white bunny rabbit!

'Time Keeps Running' without doubt is one of the best tracks here. Gorgeous structure, Khymera in style, with a lovely chorus and guitar melodies to die for. There are only a few guys on the planet that can play passages like this, Dann Huff and Robby Boebel from Frontline are two prime candidates!

'Far From You' might move at a slower space, but is high on melody and richness. The depth of melody really is astounding. A great track, but by now that drum sound is starting to annoy me.

'Never Look Back' is a great melodic rocker with an unusual flavour through the verses but the chorus and the Ronnie Le Tekro inspired solo spots, plus the zingy guitar melodies are near perfect.

The intro 'Forgive Me' is guaranteed to get the foot stomping in good ol' hoe-down tradition, but it don't last for long, as the song turns into a quasi melodic rocker with all the country-ness squeezed out of it like a month old dish cloth!

Bruno and Ben must have had a few late sessions to come up with a song like 'Endless Nights' - one of two songs that focus on nightmares, voices, bad dreams. Not the usual lyrical content of sex, drugs and rock n roll!

'On My Way Back Home' is the other true AOR track on the album. I've heard this one so many times now, as it is posted as a track on their Myspace page. Sounds much better listening to it on CD.

Though the songtitle sounds a bit dodgy, 'When Friendship Turns To Love' pokes an inquisitive nose in the direction of new country whilst still keeping a toenail in the AOR camp. The chorus unfortunately is particularly weak.

Valerie Paul provides the co lead vocal on 'Flowers Of Pain'. Both Valerie and Ben twist and turn their vocals over this predominant ballad.

There are a number of modern stylings to 'If You Don't Need Me Anymore', and it does change course a number of times through the playing time. I definitely thought the outtro on this song was kinda cool.. lots of spacey synths..

'Jealousy' contains many of the trademark elements that form part of the Silence sound, though this one didn't do a lot for me.

Some unusual instrumentation and vocal parts precedes 'Voices'. The impression is that the protagonist is slightly mad and hears voices in his head all the time. Hence, the angst in the music and lyrics.

The boys do a cover of Tina Turner's '(Simply) The Best', a track this album could've done without to be honest. Listening to it on all the Idol contests plus it was previously the theme to the Aussie Rugby League NRL competition.. a totally overexposed song.. lol!

The closer 'Anywhere' features an extensive guest list (see above). At first listen, lead singer Aurelie Nogue moves this song in the direction of The Corrs, albeit a very melodic one, but that doesn't last for very long. The abundance of lead guitarists on this track makes this more of a guitar fest. I was gonna say guitar w**k but that would be unkind.. lol! But actually this is a great way to unwind the album.

In Summary
A big album at 67 minutes, and one the duo should be commended for. But Bruno and Ben don't get away scot free. As mentioned, I wasn't that keen on the drum sound. The snare in particular sounded too tight and under-produced. Not sure what was going on there. It sounds earthy and organic while everything around it was wrapped in lashings of reverb and chorus. I guess this is the trade off between AOR and new country eh, with the latter winning out in terms of the rhythm section perhaps? The vocals of Ben Venet do take a bit of getting used to - well for me they did. I wonder what this material would've sounded like in the hands of Toby Hitchcock from Pride Of Lions or Aussie melodic rocker Rick Price for instance? Now there's a thought. In the meantime, there are a handful of excellent tunes to lock onto, and I come away from this album with the same amount of enthusiasm as I did after listening to their last album. Now with a good label in Kivel, hopefully Silence are here to stay.

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#1 | george_the_jack on May 31 2008 17:33:08
Fantastic album many light years better than the two previous! For me, deserves a place in the first winners of 2008! Top class AOR and melodic Hard Rock with the fantastic voice of Ben Venet (reminds me of Steve Lee). Excellent arranged and balanced with rockers and ballads with a great production that reveals the vocal capability and guitar technique! Buy it dead or alive! 9,3/10
#2 | marciotex on June 07 2008 01:05:01
really an amazing album... on the rise in the vein!
#3 | benvenet on August 14 2008 11:46:54
Check out the unplugged session: http://www.dailym...Bunplugged
#4 | benvenet on August 14 2008 11:50:39
sorry, wrong url... the right one is: http://www.dailym...Bunplugged
#5 | Jez on October 08 2008 03:23:52
I quite liked the 2 previous albums without going ga ga over them, but 'Open Road' is so much better in all areas. The vocals are much stronger and less accented, the songs are really strong, the sound and production is a vast improvement and I really like the acoustic base of most of the songs. My only criticism, if I have to find one, is that it maybe 2 or 3 songs to long (same problem as the last album) and it does get a little samey in places. Oh yes! and ditch the cover of 'The Best' which was a rubbish song to begin with. Highlights include 'Light Always Seems Brighter..', 'Never Look Back' and the never ending guitar fest that is 'Anywhere' that ends the album. Yes, this song is way too long, but it is good fun all the same and has a great poppy melody especially at the beginning, which remained stuck in my head for about a week afterwards. An excellent album overall and highly recommended from me.
#6 | swazi on February 07 2010 11:49:26
I've been spinning this one for the last few days, and I can only conclude that this is really really impressive stuff! Hopefully they will be continuing their great work and release a new one on Kivel Records.
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