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byron - A Kind of Alchemy CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.65 | 27 ratings

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3 stars Romanian band byron seems to be gaining a good reputation here on ProgArchives but nobody is reviewing the group's fine albums. A Kind Of Alchemy was their second studio release in 2009, and their first with new bassist Vlady Sateanu. I don't know if it's due to Sateanu's influence but this album is quite funk orientated, although byron's unique fusion of disparate genres still dominates. They haven't simply tried to recreate the same sound as on their debut album; they have progressed and are developing their sound although the focus remains on leader Dan Byron's well-crafted songs. Album opener THE NIGHT, a subdued piano ballad that shifts unconventionally with explosive choruses, exemplifies his erudite style of songwriting. Dan also shows he has the charisma to be a great front man as he snarls and scats his way through heavy rocker ZEITGEIST, while new guy Sateanu's bass adds bite to the energetic rhythm section on tracks like the funk-pop DIGGIN' A HOLE.

A LITTLE BIT DERANGED is the album's first killer track and features Costin Oprea's angular guitar licks, with able support from Cristi Matesan's taut muscular drumming. Dan lets loose with a rare flute solo on this song, which has ''hit single'' written all over it due to its catchy chorus and female backing vocals. The mini-epic A POEM WITHOUT AN END is another of the album's highlights and it gets things firmly back in prog mode. Its eight minutes are shaped by 6fingers' jazz-tinged electric piano (6fingers is the band's oddly named keyboard player). THE SONG THAT NEVER WAS is a Dan/6fingers collaboration and despite its short length it manages to cram in some striking key and time-signature changes. It's another good song, with maybe a hint of a Romanian folk influence.

These guys have a promising future and this is an interesting, richly varied album. However I would recommend that readers start with byron's debut album, Forbidden Drama, which I think contains stronger material. There's no need to take my word for it though; just visit byron's bandpage and click on the link to their official website where you can listen to their music for free.

seventhsojourn | 3/5 |


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