Nad Sylvan
Spiritus Mundi
Ltd. CD Digipak, Gatefold black LP+CD & LP-Booklet, Digital album
It started in 2015 with 'Courting The Widow'. Continued in '17 through 'The Bride Said No'. And now we reach the climactic conclusion to Nad Sylvan's impressive vampire trilogy with the album 'The Regal Bastard'. And the man himself is very excited about it all.
“This album is very coherent. It really does excite me, and I am sure my fans are gonna freak out when they hear it.”
Work on 'The Regal Bastard' began in August 2017, when the vocalist began to record.
“What I tend to do is put down my ideas, and then send these to the proper musicians, who are then free to develop them in their own ways. I can then cherry pick from what they subsequently send me.
“I have had to take a number of breaks, though, from working on this album, due to other commitments. So, it's never been a case of me devoting all of my time to the project. But what this has done is allow me to return to it refreshed after time away, and able to take a different perspective on it all.”
Sylvan has written most of the songs here himself, although he has collaborated with noted Swedish producer Anders Wollbeck.
“We co-wrote two songs for 'The Bride Said No', namely 'When The Music Dies' and 'Crime Of Passion (The Vampirate's Anthem)', and this time we have again worked together on two tracks. One is 'I Am The Sea'; and the second is 'Diva Time'. The latter is actually a bonus song on the CD version of the album. In fact, it has nothing to do with the storyline at all, and should be treated as totally separate to what you'll hear on the rest of the album.”
The process of getting the material ready for 'The Regal Bastard' involved not only coming up with new songs from scratch, but also revisiting ideas which Sylvan has had in his head for a while. There's especially a track called 'Whoa', the notion for which came to me when I was in Italy last summer, so again this was a song I had in my head for a little while and just had to get sorted.”
'The Regal Bastard' is very much Sylvan's vision, and he has firmly taken hold of the reins in the studio.
“I have written, arranged, produced and mixed the album. That's not been an easy job to take on. But I know how I want everything to sound. I understand the way the music should be constructed and how it must flow. So, there was nobody better to undertake that task.”
Once more, Sylvan has pulled together a tremendous array of musical talent to bring his inspiration to life.
“Almost everyone who worked on 'The Bride Said No' is back with me again. Steve Hackett plays guitar on one track, Guthrie Govan on two, while Tony Levin does the bass on a song. Jonas Reingold plays bass on much of the album, and Nick D'Virgilio handles the drums. And I also have the same female singers working with me once more, these being Sheona Urquhart, Jade Ell and Tania Doko. And on 'Honey I'm Home', there's a big choir section, with all of these singers involved. And I also have Nick Beggs joining in on this part of the song.
“Actually, I am delighted with 'Honey I'm Home'. It's such a great way to end the whole trilogy. If you think about it, I began 'Courting The Widow' with a song titled 'Carry Me Home', so with this new track, it's all about finally making it home, coming full circle. For me, this is a beautiful piece of music. And Steve Hackett does a superb guitar part here; because, there's a water effect used here, it does seem like he is playing inside a waterfall. It sounds stunning.”
Keeping his powder dry, Sylvan is not prepared to reveal exactly how the story unfolds and reaches its finale.
“All I will say at this point is that the tale does have a satisfying conclusion. Is there room for me to return to the story at a later date? Well, yes should I wish to do so, then I have left myself that option. But I haven't left it all open ended.”
As for the album title...
“It refers to the king's illegitimate son. So, I have gone for the literal meaning of the word 'bastard', rather than it referring to someone who behaves in a nasty manner. I suppose you can interpret it in the latter way if you want, but that's not what I have in mind.
“I actually have had the title 'The Regal Bastard' ready to use for some while. In fact, I was even thinking of calling the second album in the trilogy by that title, before settling on 'The Bride Said No', which had been in my head for about 30 years. And anyway 'The Regal Bastard' works so well in this context.”
The album artwork has been created once more by Marcela Bolivar, who did such a wonderful job on 'The Bride Said No'.
“Marcela had already done the painting we used for 'The Bride...' before I ever came across it. And this seemed to work so well with the content of the album and the title that I bought the rights to use this as it stood. But this time I had a firm idea of what I wanted on the cover, so I explained this to Marcela, who came up with what people will see.
“It's very elaborate. But I don't want to give too much away at this stage. All I will say is that it is amazing, and is everything I hoped it would be.”
And Sylvan wants one day to bring the trilogy to life in a theatrical production.
“I would have to carefully select songs from all three albums, and make sure they work representing the story. But that is my dream. It would be very expensive, yet if I can get the financial backing to do it, then I'd love to bring it to life in this fashion.”
So, what can fans expect from 'The Regal Bastard'? How does it differ from the previous two albums?
“For me, this is the best of the three records. I honestly believe it will delight the fans. It is maybe not as riff heavy as the others. I would describe the sound as coming from the notion of pop going prog, with r'n'b elements in there as well. It is very soulful. But that suits my style. I am a vocal chameleon, and you'll hear that throughout. It is the finest possible way to bring the trilogy to an end. Everyone involved has significantly contributed, and helped to turn my vision into reality. I cannot thank them enough for their involvement. As I said earlier, it is such an exciting album and one people are going to love. I am sure of that.”
Malcolm Dome
London, April 2019