CYRAX - Reflections

Cyrax - Reflections

7 songs
33:17 minutes
***** ***


Cyrax are just about to release their second CD yet asked me for a review of a debut album. Italy’s metal scene has always been much better than many people give it credit for, especially when it comes to progressive power metal, which is exactly where this quintet can be located stylistically.

The first odd thing about Reflections is that is has been released on French progressive rock label Musea, which usually is not a place to look for metal bands. Also strange is the fact that the seven track album makes it only slightly over thirty-three minutes, which is a rather short length for a prog metal album. But there are only minor observation points. Once I made it to the musical part of the album, I can say that I was rather enthralled. The opener Doom Against True Hell starts with a programmed electronic part before it turns into a rather hyperkinetic slab of power prog metal. Cyrax are channelling the energy of old Helstar with a modern approach unafraid of more synthetic sounds. The album’s highlight is undoubtedly My Kingdom For A Horse which comes as an epic folk metal track. Normally I don’t like that genre so much, but the songwriting is so divine that I just can’t stop listening to the song. Especially the way the bass line, keyboards and vocals harmonise is absolutely sublime, and then we haven’t even tackled the chorus yet. The quintet shows once again their progressive side on The Moor Of Venice, where many different sounds coalesce in order to create a new breed of symphonic metal music.

Things proceed more or less in the same vein, even though there are differences to be made out. Thunderlight is for instance an instrumental extravaganza, and Last Call is the longest track, clocking in at just over six minutes and using every second to flesh out Cyrax’s epic side. The concluding Feel The Essence Of Blues is an oddity, to say the least. This is what happens when a progressive metal band tries their hands at blues, and while the result might have been disastrous, Cyrax manage to pull of something quite humorous.

Reflections is quite the extraordinary debut album by this promising progressive power metal band from Milan. Progressive metal, just like progressive rock, too often repeats the patterns of the pioneers that came before, thus making the adjective rather pointless. Cyrax are an exception to the rule as they can still manage to surprise, all the while not forgetting good songwriting. Now I am looking forward to the successor Pictures which should be out in Spring, and am happy that the wait won’t be a long one.

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