Sylvaine
Nova


5.0
classic

Review

by Tyler White STAFF
March 9th, 2022 | 35 replies


Release Date: 2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The balance of dreamy and abrasive

It is unbelievably rare to come across talent like Sylvaine. Katherine Shepherd, the multi-instrumentalist mastermind behind Sylvaine, continues to display her surreal ability to compose and balance the beautiful and the harsh with her newest record, Nova. From the lavishly constructed orchestral compositions and the reverberated, delicate chord progressions to the abrasive, distorted riffs and the powerful drum beats, Sylvaine creates a record that is surely to be acclaimed throughout the years in the post-metalgaze scene.

In a way, Nova feels like a wave of sound, rising and receding in a gracious manner. The record opens with a primarily a cappella track, featuring beautifully layered melodies that glide along each other, subtly accentuated by the accompanying clean guitar chords and orchestral harmonies. This minimalistic beauty gives way to an explosion of energy, filled with blast beats and tremolo guitar riffs and high screeches. Yet, the melodic tranquility is still present within this sudden shift. Within the heavier driven guitars lies a rather harmonious riff that exudes a peaceful aura while Sylvaine’s siren-like vocals remain soothing beneath the screeches and intense drum beats throughout “Mono No Aware.” This trend of elegance amidst the metallic overtones prevails throughout the proceeding tracks, reaching a climax in “Fortapt.” With this nearly twelve-minute behemoth, Sylvaine manages to craft an immense composition. “Fortapt” is full of serene sections contrasted by powerful moments amplified by screams and slightly tinged aggression in the instrumentation, yet never sacrificing the beauty of Nova.

After this ultimate apex, the record begins to descend from its explosive high back into its calming atmosphere. Although “I Close My Eyes so I Can See” maintains much of the previous use of screams and distorted guitars, it almost feels more contained, leaving a far greater passage of cleaner melodies and beautiful string layers that accent the primary instrumentation. However, with the closer “Everything Must Come to an End,” Sylvaine perfectly encapsulates the very essence of beauty, peace, and tranquility. In the final eight minutes of Nova, Sylvaine eliminates the drums and allows the guitars, orchestration, and vocals to work with each other and build upon each other’s chemistry. As the track grows, the vocals and chords slowly begin to amplify and feel fuller, creating an ebb and flow. Ultimately, this leads to the final moments of the record, leaving behind the vocals and allowing the music to create a serene soundscape completed with lushly composed strings and breath-taking chord progressions that provide a peaceful end to the album.

What more can I say about an album as magnificent as this? The beauty of the composition, the intricacies of the harmonies and melodies, the contrast of the peaceful and the chaotic; it all complements each other to create a record like none other. Nova not only defines itself as a brilliant album in its scene, it defines itself as an exquisitely crafted album in all of metal. It defines itself as the perfect balance between beauty and chaos.



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user ratings (124)
3.7
great
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Dewinged STAFF (3.9)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
tyman128
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2022


4546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up as my AOTY, I absolutely adore this album

Thanks to Jesper for helping me out with proofreading!

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2022


32064 Comments


Reading your review made me realize I spelled her name wrong every single time on mine lol

Loving the fact that you love the album my man, great review!

PortalofPerfection
March 9th 2022


3252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet review man, really captures the feel of the album.



It's just too hard for me to separate this in my head from Alcest who, imho, does this sound better (and did it first). The overall soundscape is acutely similar.



But of all the Alcest-emulations I've heard over the years, this is the best. And she manages to do just enough to separate herself out that it comes off much more like an appreciative echo than an unashamed copy.

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2022


5524 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

hell yeah sweet review, double the rev double the hype etc

i think this is more consistent than atoms aligned but also lacks an 'abeyance'

tyman128
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2022


4546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

appreciate it y’all!

@portal, this is one of my first full records I’ve gotten fully into in the genre, so I’m not super well versed, but I absolutely adore this album so I need to really check more

budgie
March 9th 2022


36505 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i have high hopes

Purpl3Spartan
March 9th 2022


8717 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good stuff



Nice rev Ty

tyman128
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2022


4546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

appreciate it purple!

hope you dig budgie

PortalofPerfection
March 9th 2022


3252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You'll love Alcest man. Just start with the debut and work your way through the discog. There's high and not so high points but it's all good stuff.

tyman128
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2022


4546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.7

I’ll be sure to give them a jam!

Purpl3Spartan
March 9th 2022


8717 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Alcest good yeah

botb
March 12th 2022


18003 Comments


Need to listen to this more but I was very impressed with first listen

Azog
March 17th 2022


1070 Comments


Not so sure about that 5, but yeah this was nice.

arf
March 17th 2022


494 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

best new alcest album

trickert
April 7th 2023


200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album made my top 3 of the year last year, and I'm listening to it even more now.

Hawks
July 26th 2023


89540 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

She keeps getting better and better. Whole discog slayz but this is the pinnacle. At least so far. m/

PortalofPerfection
July 27th 2023


3252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My man Hawks jumping right in on all the good shit lol

Hawks
July 27th 2023


89540 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This band slayz bro. Heard her stuff a while ago and have been hooked ever since. m/

PortalofPerfection
July 27th 2023


3252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I Close My Eyes is eternal jam material.

trickert
September 15th 2023


200 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I had to pick this up on vinyl. Just a killer record.



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