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(58:58, Progressive Promotion Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Scarlet Walking 7:46 2. Paralyzed 4:48 3. Remember Me 10:20 4. Rainbow 6:08 5. Faded Snapshots 8:20 6. Peal of Thunder 3:16 7. Secret Place-1 18:20 LINEUP: Larry B. – vocals Manuel Schmid – vocals Marek Arnold – keyboards; saxophones, clarinet Ralf Dietsch – guitars, mandolin; vocals Denis Strassburg – bass; programming Clemens Litschko – drums With: Susan Kammler – oboe Herman Schade – viola Dan Stein – vocals
Prolusion. The German band CYRIL was formed in 2010 by former members of melodic rock band Gabria, who at that point desired to explore a style of music a bit more sophisticated than the one they had taken on in their former band. They released their debut album "Gone Through Years" in 2013. "Paralyzed" was released in the late spring of 2016, and is their follow-up production. Just like their initial CD, it was issued by the German label Progressive Promotion Records.
Analysis. Cyril describes their music as melodic progressive rock, which is a rather fitting description. Their take on the genre is melodic indeed, rather accessible as well, but without entering into the territories explored by your typical or not so typical neo-progressive band. Some similarities appear here and there, but not to the extent that Cyril is a fit into that particular context. Some websites have coined the phrase crossover progressive rock, and this band fits well into that context as those websites define it: Progressive Rock with a distinct orientation towards a segment of the mainstream rock scene. In this case we're dealing with a band that typically alternates between gentler and harder edged passages, the former dominated by plucked guitars and piano, the latter with dark toned, dampened guitar riffs and organ added to the proceedings. The lead vocalists are given prominent roles in the mix, and will often carry the song by way of quality vocals that come with a smooth, but distinct, emotional nerve. For variation, there are also some instances of saxophone solo runs, combined with either the piano in the calmer sequences or guitar riffs in the harder edged ones. Personally I was most taken by one of the two main exceptions to this description however: the track Rainbow, which revolves around a kind of Latin/Spanish guitar motif, complete with flamenco tendencies, what I suspect is a slight nod in the direction of a certain classic track by Al DiMeola and Paco de Lucia, with delicate keyboard and piano details an unexpected, but pleasantly functional, addition to the instrumentation, with a smooth Spanish guitar meeting melodic rock section for the vocalists to provide the lyrics. The concluding epic-length piece Secret Place-1 is almost as alluring, with mystical, ambient and world music oriented interludes, prolog and epilog, delicate and firmer, harder edged passages catering for the main vocals, and with an ongoing wordless backing vocal presence of the kind that always makes me think about jazz. With effective use of both string instruments and saxophone and probably clarinet and oboe as well, as these instruments are also mentioned in the album credits.
Conclusion. Those fond of sophisticated yet accessible and most of all melodic progressive rock should take note of this band and this album. While perhaps not as challenging fare as any of the classic progressive rock bands, this contemporary take on the more accessible side of the genre is well worth a listen, and perhaps especially by those who have a tendency to enjoy progressive rock of the kind that might also interest a more mainstream oriented audience.
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