I think, I'd better not begin the talk about labels and companies, those made the discs with our favourite music Progressive Rock with a leading, in my view, firm. It should br considered quite thoroughly. However, the label of "Cyclops", todays feature, is certainly among the three strongest objects. They call themselves "The premier British Progressive label", and that's right. Virtually, all bands gathered here perform are really Progressive, but of various quality. On the whole, most bands of the label can be put into the category already known as "Neo Prog", that differs from the Classic Art Rock by easily approachable and melodic structures, with fewer arrangements. Frankly, I would classify Wishbone Ash, that were outed after the 1991 year from a major "MCA", just as Proto-Prog, of a high quality, though.
The firm "Cyclops" was founded in early 1994, and the first band to be taken under its roof and issued on CD was Grey Lady Down (read the Short reviews on them). Probably, one of the naive, free from their own original ideas, this band has now become the bestseller for the label. Love is evil... As for me, I haven't heard a more shameless and cheap imitation of Marillion than GLD! Using all the methods, devised by the leaders of the Progressive Rock in '80s, they simply all of them to the limit, and enjoy an unforeseen result. This band in its new albums keeps on "borrowing" ingenuously the ideas of other respectable modern performers, which will be our topic later. Anyway, GLD plays a typical shabby Neo, but still (though, so-so) Progressive, and has its safe niche apart from incoming money.
The epitet "premier" regarding to "Cyclops" would be therefore hardly justified, if it weren't for the label's other serious acts. The reviews on any album made by Xitizen Cain who're also based in this company, you may have read in both sections (though, quite obscure the very first Xitizen Cain album was released by Italian "Mellow Records"). Other noteworthy bands are as follows: Echolyn, Finneus Gauge (Echolyn's offshot), Mastermind and Lands End. Swedish Sinkadus musically is also one of the outstanding groups, but with their native lyrics: for the present I can't rate that sort of Progs. Some performers here are also good: B.Lynne, Vulgar Unicorn, Parallel 90 Degrees. All these bands also have to do in a way with Neo, though the quality is variegated. Perhaps, many of them we will gibe a look to in reviews, since beginnings Proggers do need the Neo phase to continue to grow.
At present "Cyclops" has grown significantly and Prog-bands from the most diverse countries prefer it to others. However, this factor is sometimes explained by the tolerant stand of the firm's management toward the quality of a demo tape or master-disc, from which CDs are recorded, giving preference to the very material. Thus, it should be noted, that a good number of the programs under the label's flag have less than audiophilic sound, bearing in mind that they don't produce any early programs, only those from 1994 on. Nevertheless, for some it's good chance. Officially "Cyclops" is (are! - Vit's joke) a division of concern "GFT". All active bands are situated exactly at "Cyclops", while the headquarters are just one of the biggest independent distributors of Rock albums. And though Progressive Rock takes an important place in "GFT" postal catalogue, the company also distributes the other genres of Rock, including various Metal and Hard. Fortunatelly enough, they don't deal with pop music.
VM (Vitaly Menshikov): October 1998