CYRAX – Pictures
Inventive progressive metal here through the Italian five-piece Cyrax, as their second album "Pictures" throws down all dynamic nuances possible in terms of styles and left-field outlook to create a unique, intriguing 9 track output. Classical flairs in the instrumental and choral sections careening headlong into semi-thrash like Symphony X maneuvers for "The 7th Seal", industrial/ electronica nuances against some flamboyant bass parts and very Faith No More-ish vocal patterns on the follow up "Cockroach", or the dramatic Mercyful Fate /theatrical angle for the multiple male/ female vocal inflections on another highlight "Oedipus Rex" show you that this isn’t a typical progressive metal outfit cut from the old guard.
The three part "Shine Through Darkness" has a distinct kick for the second half of the record – the first part containing occasional keyboard parts that possess playful accordion oriented fluidity against alternative melodies, the second part’s instrumental see-saw battles from guitar to keyboards and drums, while the 3:39 conclusion has this heaviness and groove factor that pulls the whole arrangement together. All 5 players create material in an organic manner, adding on the spices and time changes where they feel best, but never over playing for the sake of showmanship or ‘look at me now’ prowess.
The sky is the limit for Cyrax considering their wide array of outside influences. I love the solid snare snap and grittier tones for all the instrumentation, and the vocals are weird enough to provide that extra spice that can sometimes gain credence from the non-progressive metal stragglers. "Pictures" has a lot of alternative and classical appeal, done tastefully and never in a bombastic fashion – but at heart is a progressive metal release through and through.