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Asylum Pyre: Natural Instinct?

Asylum Pyre are a symphonic metal band hailing from France and have recently released their debut album Natural Instinct? . In the band are Julien Peuch (bass), Carole Alcantara (vocals), Hervé Schiltz (guitars), Tony Decaillon (keyboards), Johann Cadot (guitars, vocals) and Emeric Amaudeau (drums). While the music of Asylum Pyre sits squarely in the symphonic metal spectrum the band also touch on power, progressive and gothic metal genres. Asylum Pyre makes a bold statement with Natural Instinct? both musically and lyrically. The album's striking cover shows a woman seemingly at one with nature melded together with a tree while the back of the CD booklet shows an angry man swinging an axe attempting to chop it down. Coinciding with the cover art the band cover environmental issues such as the destruction of coral reefs (Coral's Riff), the tragedy of war (Different Sides, Same Thoughts) and the fragility of our planet (Don't Waste It!). The lyrics are intelligent and well thought out so following along can add to the enjoyment of the album.

Now that you know a little of about the lyrical themes, it is time to talk about the music. The members of Asylum Pyre are very good musicians and give first class performances throughout Natural Instinct?. What really stands out are the symphonic arrangements which permeate this disc. Keyboards are a very important ingredient in the band's sound and are used extensively creating lush atmospheres and intense musical passages. Of course what would a metal band be without guitars and Asylum Pyre are no exception. The songs are laced with plenty of riffs, sometimes venturing into speed metal territory. At times the riffs seemed slightly restrained and I would have preferred a little more crunch but this is only a minor complaint. Another integral component are the male and female vocals which can be compared to Nightwish as Carole Alcantara has an operatic style similar to Tarja Turunen but also sings with restraint ensuring her vocals do not become over bearing. Johann Cadot's vocals are a little rough at times but overall does a good job. He has a deep voice that contrasts nicely with Alcantara's angelic delivery and even delves into some occasional grunting. All of these elements combine to make some pretty powerful music.

Some of my favourites include the symphonic/power metal combination of "Coral's Riff (Now Hell)" featuring one of the best guitar solos on the CD where every note bleeds with emotion and the classically influenced "Don't Waste It" with its lush keyboards and strong melody. Also listen for the complex vocal arrangement in "Love Ecstasy" and the majestic prog of "Different Sides, Same Thoughts" where gentle acoustic guitar and edgy electric riffs are held together with a sweeping orchestral arrangement.

This is an excellent first effort from a band that shows tremendous potential. It is very surprising the band remains unsigned as they deserve to be heard. Hopefully that will be rectified in the near future.


Track Listing:
1. Taken Away To The Asylum (3:06)
2. The Asylum Pyre (5:31)
3. Laughing With The Stars (3:54)
4. Coral's Riff (Now Hell) (7:20)
5. Don't Waste It (7:08)
6. Love Ecstasy (4:29)
7. Different Sides, Same Thoughts (11:14)
8. Jester Of The Power (8:15)
9. Whispers Of The Jester (1:47)
10. W.W.A.W. (extracted from demo – 2008) (6:25)

Added: May 6th 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1710
Language: english

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