Split Vision


Wild Kingdom, 2004


REVIEW BY: Chris Harlow


Capitalizing on the "I really dig these mp3's" sensation that I've been feeling since I first learned about the band Maryslim earlier this year, I readily plopped down the cash to buy the band's sophomore effort, Split Vision, from an independent dealer. I blindly toss cash into purchases like this when I know a band's pedigree is solid and the mp3's sent to me by a friend of mine in Germany were only an appetizer for what I knew might be a sure bet.

A few facts -- the band is from Stockholm -- a location that is currently spitting out "real" rock and roll bands, playing creatively and passionately, at a rate as quick as the dollar's recent decline in the world markets. Secondly, the Wild Kingdom label is an offshoot effort of Calle Schewen's former White Jazz Records company -- a label that has introduced me to many artists that rate high on my list of current favorites. Lastly, the band's guitarist Kent Axén played in the Diamond Dogs for a spell which just adds another element of sure appeal.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Oh yeah. Of equal importance, perhaps…..did I mention that I really liked a couple of mp3's I had heard from Maryslim's self titled debut album?

Right away, the first track on Split Vision, "Walk Alone" offers up a veiled reincarnation of Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold" solo in various places throughout the song. By mere mention that I'm saying guitar solo in "various" places speaks to the fact that the song arrangements on Split Vision are varied and not repetitively boring.

The vocalist, Mats MF Olsson, reminds me a lot of Goo Goo Dolls vocalist, Johnny Rzeznik, but in a much more consistently impassioned way as he actually seems to sing with more meaningful purpose. Complementing his vocals instrumentally are a slate of 12 songs that are largely upbeat melodic rockers -- the kind that are totally accessible as genre beaters. Easily, I can envision metalheads tolerating the Split Vision songs as much as I can see the casual listening post-teen female getting into these songs.

And it's not only Olsson that treats the songs on this album passionately. Listeners will surely pick up on the tightly placed guitar work -- in particular, the riffing of Axén during the last minute of "Something to Rise". Full of energy, closed eyes will suggest that it could as easily be Slash ripping his way through the solo.

Maryslim really only attempt to throw the brakes on the tempo one time with the performance of the last track on the album, "Bring It On." This shows the band at their worst as the ballad really hits no noticeable groove. I'm guessing even the band knows this as the track is conspicuously buried as the last track at the end of the album.

As equally distinctive in a positive way, the first single, "B.T.L." is definitely the legitimate choice from this album. By comparison to the other tracks on Split Vision, Olsson's voice comes through with a darker and more introspective tone before he starts ripping off the same addictively airy anthemic-type choruses which steer the song back into the vocal formula that has makes this album so appealing.

All in all, Split Vision is really good stuff and has become my most recent testimony proving that downloading and file-sharing coupled with resourceful indie labels and small label music stores not only can function together but thrive in creating awareness for music that really matters.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2005 Chris Harlow and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Wild Kingdom, and is used for informational purposes only.