Italian dark folk act The Illusion Of Silence has a strong bond with Russia. After cooperating with Russian acts Kratong and Sunset Wings, this one man project now releases his debut full-length, aided by Alex Popov (Sunset Wings) and Johnnie from Kratong. Furthermore, the album is published by Russian label Sulphur Flowers. Finally, and that might be the ultimate reason why this is a highly credible piece of work, the album seems to be almost completely void of electronics. The list of instruments is impressive, ranging from piano over a string quartet to flutes, accordion and harmonica. This acoustic approach is something I can only applaud, obviously.
Most of the songs on this album are piano driven folk ballads, enhanced by strings and clean vocals. They don't have the bombastic atmosphere of most of the most well-known neo-folk acts like Arditi or Death In June but remain on a calm, intimate level. Some of the songs, including 'A Dream Lost Forever' and 'The Old Seaman', could easily be medieval chamber music. I can see this music being played in some castle at the end of another war. Other songs are mystifying, painting a gloomy, nocturnal and almost occult atmosphere. 'I Burnt My Bad Thought ' is one of those strange songs, and so is its follower 'Blooming'.
On the other hand, the cooperation between piano, strings and understated vocals, makes 'While You Were Away' quite a decent pop rock ballad, reminiscent of some works by Nick Cave or Jeff Buckley. That way, this act seems to cross over between modern bardism and medieval inspired neofolk, and that's something I really like. In all, this album is definitely a must-have for all you neofolk fans out there. It's one of the quietest in its genre, rather minimal but beautifully narrative and immersive enough to remain interesting. So check it out, I think we'll be hearing more from this act in the near future.