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Asylum Pyre - Natural instinct? 4/5

Reviewed: 12-18-09


1. Taken away to the asylum
2. The Asylum Pyre
3. Laughing with the stars
4. Coral's riff (Now hell)
5. Don't waste it
6. Love ecstasy
7. Different sides, same thoughts
8. Jester of the power
9. Whispers of the jester
10. W.W.A.W. (bonus track)

Asylum Pyre is a new French band and 'Natural instinct?' is their full-length debut, which is self-released, but it has a solid production. The band features female vocalist Carole Alcantara, who has been a part of many other bands, but most have yet to pass the demo stage. She definitely has experience though, and her vocals, which alternate between soprano and normal (mid-range), are very well done. There are also some male vocals, both of the clean and rough type, but the majority of the vocals are from Carol. Sometimes both the female and male vocals are present at the same time however, creating some terrific harmonies, while other times the vocals are performed in an alternating manner. Basically, there's a wide variety of vocal types and methods on this CD.

The band's musical style is quite diverse, and I'm going to avoid listing any band comparisons, as I don't want to lead you into thinking this band is something they're not. The truth is, their music is complex and they wander into and between various styles, including atmospheric metal, progressive metal, symphonic metal, gothic metal and power metal. Yep, we get it all with this CD, but that means that the music takes some time to understand and appreciate. With exception of a few songs, the band doesn't really settle into a particular rhythm or melody, and instead offers up interesting twists and turns that demand your focus. This is not a CD that should be listened to in the background, and when the volume's loud and it has your full attention, is an emotional and captivating experience that I'm finding to be refreshing.

Some of the songs on this CD are slow, but many pick up the pace (there is a satisfying amount of speed), and there are some extra-catchy hooks, which greatly highlight some of the songs. There are also some wonderful piano parts and plenty of nice melodies, which usually aren't predictable and quickly morph into the next musical segment. Special mention must be made of the beautiful track 5 "Don't waste it" (a wonderful slow song where Carol truly shines) and track 7 "Different sides, same thoughts" (an 11-minute ride that totally pulls you in). All of the songs are excellent though, and despite the fact that this is a complex CD, it's still memorable and I can easily call it a very promising start for a special new band.




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