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(46:17; Progressive Promotion Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. The Gate 5:45 2. My Own Reflection 6:45 3. First Love (A Lullaby) 8:20 4. Get Up High 8:42 5. A Sign on the Road 4:32 6. The Wasteland - Home Again 5:58 7. The Way Through? 6:15 LINEUP: Larry B. - vocals Manuel Schmid - vocals, keyboards Marek Arnold - keyboards, seaboard, saxophones Ralf Dietsch - guitars Clemens Litschko - drums, percussion Denis Strassburg - bass, programming with: Guy Manning - voice Andrea Strassburg - vocals Martin Schnella - guitars Robert Brenner - bass
Prolusion. German band CYRIL has been an ongoing venture for just about a decade by now, formed by members of rock band Gabria when that band folded and then going onward with a bit more progressive intent under a new name. "The Way Through" is their third studio album, and was released through German label Progressive Promotion Records in the spring of 2019.
Analysis. Cyril, as far as I can remember, is a band that on their previous albums have explored the more accessible parts of the progressive rock spectrum. I recall them as providers of good and engaging music with a foot or so inside a mainstream, melodic rock context, carefully flavoring their creations with progressive rock idioms into a tasteful and wholesome experience. Not too much have changed in the overall characteristics of the band for this third outing, although one might argue that they have taken a step further into more regular melodic rock territories this time around. Opening cut 'The Gate' is perhaps the most vital composition ion this album, a tight and well developed dance that see the band flirting and blending melodic rock with more energetic and tight neo-progressive rock, complete with swirling keyboard textures and tight, firm guitar riffs in the more energetic passages. This album does change both pace, intensity and form after this though, with a much stronger focus on AOR type songs and melodic rock songs in the compositions that follows. We are treated to a literal bounty of passages sporting floating keyboards, wandering plucked acoustic guitars and a liberal amount of saxophone soloing as well, in between energetic guitar and organ combinations and more atmospheric laden keyboards driven interludes - alongside more delicate vocals and piano or acoustic guitar section highlighting a more frail and fragile mood and momentum. The alterations and transitions between the gentler and the more spirited passages are well worked out, the vocals pleasant and melodic too, and the songs as such are easy on the ears as well as the mind. To my ears the greater totality doesn't quite work out though. Some of the instrumental sections generally feels a bit out of place in some compositions, and on the longer songs there are sections that are drawn out for too long, overly exploring what was initially a good set up or idea. These are details most listeners probably will not notice of course, as there is absolutely nothing wrong with the music as such, but when listening with an analytical mind, breaking down the compositions into more or less logical parts, some of the parts feel like they doesn't quite match the surroundings and even somewhat redundant at times. There's nothing major about any of these details of course, but minor points that in sum leads to songs being pleasant rather than more engaging experiences, at least for a slightly jaded music writer. Still, for those who tend to listen to music with a mind of a similar kind as my own, these are details worth mentioning.
Conclusion. Cyril's third album "The Way Through" is arguably the most accessible album by the band so far, with liberal amounts of melodic rock and firm, traditional AOR elements given liberal amounts of room inside their specific brand of melodic, progressive rock. Perhaps not quite as convincing as their previous productions for all progressive rock fans, but those with a strong taste for the most accessible and melodic varieties of progressive rock should still find this to be a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
Progmessor: October 3rd 2019
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