Released: 2014, Indie
Periodically over the years I have written regional review spotlights on bands from my part of the world, Western Canada. It is time for another such mini-feature and this month we are looking at six bands; Device (Vancouver, BC), Kobra And The Lotus (Calgary, Alberta), Lucid Scream (Calgary, Alberta), Omega Crom (Vancouver, BC), Striker (Edmonton, Alberta) and Viathyn (Calgary, Alberta). Please enjoy all six reviews of these recent releases in this feature.
Four long years after the well-received debut album THE PEREGRINE WAY, Calgary’s Viathyn are back with their second full-length album. Not too much s changed over the intervening years, the line-up of the quartet is till the same and the band is still independent. Band founder Tomislav is well known in the Calgary Metal community as co-owner of a studio and long-time employee at a local music store and he must have got sick of people asking when the new Viathyn was coming out, however that time is now.
CYNOSURE is much in the same vein as the debut, Progressive Power Metal with lots of interesting touches. The album is nine cuts long and runs well over an hour so you know there are some more advanced compositions happening that stretch into the six and seven minute range without ever sounding too long. The songs are very well written, some good time changes mixed with a variety of tones and tempos.
If one listens carefully there are many little flourishes to add some extra delight to the songs, like the final moments of ‘The Coachmen where they pay musical reference to Savatage. Well, actually it is a snippet of Edvard Grieg’s ‘Hall of The Mountain King’ (one of the most instantly recognizable passages in all of classical music) but it is way cooler to reference Savatage in a Metal review. Aside from flirting with some classical stuff, the band also employs some folk style elements as well. Viathyn have reduced the use of these folk elements from the previous album, but they still exist. I am hearing a bit more of stuff like Wuthering Heights and Blind Guardian and less Korpiklaani. It is a subtle difference but I feel the overall end result is that CYNOSURE is a faster, darker, heavier album.
The drumming is exceptional very busy, which I like, lots of fills, lots of action but never overstated. The guitars are predominantly fast but the band certainly add some nice slower parts like in the middle of ‘Edward Mordrake’ for some juxtaposition of sound before slamming it back into high gear again. I feel this natural head-banger will come off well in concert. Vocally, there are a few styles, clean with the occasional injection of a gruff sound as well. The vocals of Tomislav are a bit farther back in the mix, I’d like to hear him really assume more of an imposing vocal style, however that is just my preference. I really like the singer of a Metal band to be right in your face like a Sebastian Bach, but the vocals on CYNOSURE are perfectly balanced with the busy instrumentation. All of the musicians are top-notch and everyone gets a chance to shine in the long technical complex songs, bassist Alex Kott gets to shine on the cut ‘Shadows In Our Wake’. The lyrics fall somewhat into the metaphysical realm each a mini-suite from a different perspective of a storyteller.
CYNOSURE is a challenging, technical and mostly fast they don't leave behind the 'power' in Power Metal. Musicians and straight-up Metal fans alike will find something to enjoy in this very rewarding album. I’ve listened to it several times and still find new and interesting parts that catch my ear, one sign of a good album. If you are looking for a great new Progressive Power Metal band in the underground, that could be the next big thing, seek out this album.