A Mighty Finale - The regal bastard, the final instalment in Nad Sylvan’s vampirate trilogy reviewed by Alan Hewitt.
So, we reach the final instalment of this enthralling trilogy of albums. A coming of age in some respects for Nad as an artist, the story, like his own has unfolded before our eyes in words and music so how does he bring it all to a suitable conclusion? Let’s see shall we…
The album gets under way with I Am The Sea, as much a reference to Nad’s own Swedish roots as anything else, salt is in his blood - a supernatural travelogue this one, the sea is the sea of the soul, darkling one moment, shining bright the next, a superbly dramatic opening track.
Maintaining the travel theme, we next find ourselves in Oahu, and here we revisit the past, the time when adventurers first discovered those golden islands but it is a living memory from our central ageless character - the Regal Bastard of the album’s title, who has seen several lifetimes come and go in his own tormented lifetime. Driven by a swaggeringly piratical rhythm this one features some impeccable percussion from Nick D’Virgilio and equally meaty bass from Jonas Reingold, you will find your feet tapping to this one - don’t resist, go with the flow!
Whoa (Always Been Without You) reflects on that unanswered part of ourselves which you always feel is acting as an unseen judge of our actions - conscience? Soul? Who knows, but whatever it is, Nad has managed to capture the essence of that nagging doubt and how it can drive you mad at times. Lyrically taut and passionate, this is a superb piece of song writing.
Meet Your Maker - a suitably dramatic title eh? Even more so when you realise the twist in keeping with the essential story of the trilogy, the “Maker” is not him upstairs, oh no my friends, it is that dark and devilish anti hero - imagine the anti hero of the Anne Rice novels brought vividly to life in words and music - that unseen shadow which you sometimes catch sight of out of the corner of your eye- blink and its gone.. A metaphor for relationships gone wrong because one party drained the other of life, happiness, you decide, this one is cast in epic Prog style with rhythms that Yes and Gentle Giant would be proud of and yet remaining uniquely Nad’s own .
We finally meet the protagonist of the album in the next track: The Regal; Bastard. I can’t help but think of Genesis’ Can -Utility & The Coastliners when I hear this one. Not musically, oh no, the music is a million miles from Genesis but there is a thematic similarity to the song - a latterday Court Of The Crimson King replete with characters drawn from a nightmarish world that Melvyn Peake would have been proud of - I love it!
Leave Me On The Waters reintroduces the theme of travel although we have been travelling throughout the album - through time, dimensions etc, the sailor on the seas of fate continues his journey in this exquisitely drawn piece
The album comes to a serene conclusion after all the high drama and indeed melodrama, with the sublime Honey I’m Home, which reminds me of vintage Styx for some obscure reason. A celebration of home which is so much the sweeter to come home to wherever we may have been,
But of course, dear friends, this is not merely an album; it is a performance and so as with all good performances, there have to be an encore or two and this is no exception.
First of these is the suitably titled Diva Time. We all have our own diva moments, but this is not about those irritatingly false people obsessed with their own self worth. No, this is an invocation to stand up for yourself when the world is trying to put you down. Gaudily swaggering, this one cuts a swathe through the opposition like a knife through butter a withering sidelong musical glance, putting everyone in their place!
The biggest surprise for me however comes with the album’s final track. I have long been a fan of the work of the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats, and for Nad to set one of his finest poems to music was a true delight. The Lake Isle Of Innisfree a truly remarkable way to bring this wonderful album to a close.
So, there you have it, the Trilogy is concluded, the Vampirate has come home… for now. I suspect that there will be more adventures to come at some point for our hero but for now let us enjoy the musical wonders that these three albums have brought us. Nad has come a long way since this journey began, but that’s life writ large in words and music - bravo Nad, a superlative effort!