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Numen - Cyclothymia CD (album) cover





3.88 | 77 ratings

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3 stars Numen is a Neo-prog band founded in 1992 from Spain. The band went on hiatus from 2000 to 2013. During their time together, they have released 3 albums including the album "Cyclothamia" which was released in March of 2013. Their line up has remained the same from their first album, except for current guitarist Marcos Bevia. The other band members are Cesar Alcaraz doing vocals, Manuel Mas on keyboards, Victor Arques on bass, and Gaspar Martinez on drums. This album is available on CD, vinyl and download. The album is made up of 6 tracks with a total run time of 49 minutes.

"The Man with the X-ray Eyes" start off the album with a song in 2 parts. There is long instrumental introduction with a good mix of keys and guitar, each contributing a lot to the song. After 2 minutes, the vocals start. The vocals are decent enough, but they have a bright feel to them as does the music, which has a definite neo-prog sound with a touch of a symphonic feel provided by the synths. Where the first part is upbeat, the second part is slower with a more romantic style. The vocalist and the guitars add a nice bit of emotion. The lyrics have a dark undertone to them, but seem to be tied to religion or spirituality.

The next track is not available on the vinyl version. It is a slow ballad style track called "Some Faith". With this ballad, the vocalist's accent is quite strong, but the delivery is still quite appropriate for the neo-prog style. The variation in melody keeps things from being standard, but other than that, it is quite a straightforward song. "A Cosmic Prayer" shows that the lyrics aren't necessarily religious as they are spiritual as connected to the universe and the Earth. The melody and the music don't seem to be as interesting this time around as they don't seem to connect very well, almost like they are stumbling over each other. The guitar and synth solos that come along later are okay, but the high pitched synths are a bit annoying and sound dated. The meter is also a standard 4/4 meter, but broken up in a way that give it a more complex feeling.

The title track "Cyclothymia" comes next, and appears to be the centerpiece of the album at over 14 minutes long. It begins with a synthesized piano and vocals to a slow and pensive style. The melody is nice enough, but soon that high pitched synth comes in for a short time that pierces the ears and soul, not in a good way. Between the stanzas of this first vocal melody, there is an atmospheric break led by the guitar and some spacey effects. There is a combination of later "Marillion" and "Pink Floyd" influences, but overall, the band is not quite convincing enough to pull the sound off that well. At least they do show some promise with their ideas, the execution just isn't quite there yet, especially for a track of this size. Around the minute mark, the attitude of the music darkens somewhat as electronics surround the sound effects of sirens and heart monitors. Halfway through the track, the music suddenly gets more upbeat and dramatic as the extended instrumental section continues. At 10 minutes, things move to a slower rhythm and there is a nice guitar solo before the vocals come in with a different melody. Symphonic effects from the synths and the vocals are much more emotional in this part of the track. It all ends with a nice piano solo.

"Lady of the Winds" begins with a haunting sound of a child singing "Rain, Rain Go Away" before a lush instrumental intro brings in the vocals. The lyrics seem to be a dedication to someone's daughter. The return of child vocals singing "La la la"s also support this. The song is mostly straightforward, driven mostly by keyboards and synths with an acoustic guitar solo stuck in there. The last track is "Footprints" and is another long track just over 9 minutes. It is introduced by a flowing combination of piano and guitar, the rhythm is a standard beat and the vocals are soft and emotional. The melody and feel of the song is quite simple. Things later become more atmospheric, but there is what sounds like a march cadence with electronic percussion that sounds out of place. Things intensify a little as the guitar builds things up. The music doesn't really accomplish a climax like it wants until a guitar solo comes in after another vocal section. The track doesn't quite move one as much as they were trying to do. Again, the and shows a bit of a weakness pulling off the authenticity of a longer track, almost like they are in a hurry to get it over with, thus losing the believability they need to generate the emotions that they are striving for.

So, overall, the album has it's high points and low points. There are places that the music soars, and other places where it doesn't quite reach the pinnacle the band wanted to achieve. They do have their hearts in the right place, and there is some promise, but, at times, the music is a bit clumsy and not quite believable. It's also not heavily progressive, but there are elements in there that definitely make it a neo-prog style that approaches a symphonic prog feel at times. Anyway, it is decent, but far from perfect. There is definitely a lot of promise here though for future endeavors.

TCat | 3/5 |


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