Released: 2010, Indie
This is one of them more interesting and unique projects I have heard in a long, long time. Lyraka has written and arranged and composed a type of cross-fertilized metal that I don’t think I have never heard before. Bands mixing different styles and influences is nothing new, but Lyraka have really created something special.
When I first got this It had Italian Power Metal written all over it, the Ken Kelly cover art, the song-titles, even the band name! That’s a good thing because I love Italian Power Metal, so my expectations were high going in. However it goes to show you probably can’t (or shouldn’t) judge a CD by it’s cover.
Lyraka essentially is the brainchild of Andy DiGelsomnia and his partner in crime Jasmine Lyraka who is credited with “Concept, Story, Characters, Screenplay and Website”. The pair from Burlington, Vermont have created a Metal Opera for lack of a better term. The neat part is that instead of a typical neo-classicalyy based speed metal sound, like so many Metal operas, Lyraka go way back the 70’s for the roots of the sound. Imagine Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Rainbow all mixed together and then blended with some Power Metal and add lots of instrumentation, orchestrations and longer arrangements. It’s so odd and so good!
The songs are certainly not composed in a typical fashion. A song can start with some really groovy Rainbow styling’s and then rip into a blazing solo and then drop down into some piano or violins, or maybe a hint of saxophone, acoustic guitar, then speed up again…it is a very dynamic and interesting listen. It’s not schizophrenic by any means, the songs have continuity and integrity, it’s not just adding dissimilar parts for effect, the songs are well composed and great to listen to. There are only six cuts but each of them has many components are on the longer side.
Lyraka have hit upon something special. Others see that as well because they have recruited some pretty heavy hitters as guest vocalists on the album, namely Tommy Heart and none other than Graham Bonnet! His vocal work on a few of the tracks is great, it’s good to hear his voice again.
The production is great, and the package while independent is solid. I would have liked to see the lyrics printed and maybe a picture or two or maybe even some additional artwork. The website is very elaborate detailing the story and characters and I would have liked to see that in the booklet. They are working on Vol 2. So I expect things will continue to get bigger and better. If you think you had heard it all and are looking for something that is certainly metal but quite unique, I highly recommend Lyraka.