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4 stars "Cyan" is a rather confidential band. Five releases for review and five commented ones in total !

They really deserve more exposure, believe me. If you are a Genesis fan (anyone out there ?), you surely will like this band. When you listen to "The Sorceror", a king of magic operates. Their leader, Rob Reed is really a good keyboard player and the sounds he produces will definitely remind you the Banks's ones. But "Cyan" is absolutely not a Genesis clone.

The songs are quiet, melodic and almost fully keyboards-oriented (although there is some guitar work). Actually, this release is a one-man album : Rob Reed. He plays all the instruments.

When you read the story available on their web-page, it is almost a miracle that this release will see the light. The band was formed in 1984, even will split before having released their first album. Only a demo was recorded. Amazingly enough, Nick Barrett (Pendragon) had got hold of this tape and offered it to a fan. This guy wrote to Rob in 1991 and he was convinced to rework the original tracks and to complete these with new songs to have sufficient material to release an album. So, thanks to Nick (who was fan of Cyan), we can listen to this album. Nice story.

As nice as the music of Cyan can be. Just listen to "Man Amongst Men" which features more guitar than average and which sounds almost lile a ...Pendragon song ! Extremely melodic, peaceful. A jewel of harmony. The second highlight of this album.

The most Genesis related track is probably "Nightlight". A rocking instrumental more guitar-oriented. Great play : inspired and so passionate (Latimer's style). "Snowbound" is more commercial but very pleasant ot listen to. The beat reminds me "Camel" but the synths again are really close to Tony Banks.

This is an anecdotal album, but so beautiful. It features brilliant instrumental music and sweet vocals. So symphonic...

Four stars for this treasure.

Report this review (#137789)
Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Originally formed in 1984 by Rob Reed,CYAN split soon after,but in 1991 Rob continued their work,after receiving a letter from a fan of their early demo tapes.Totally based on his own forces,Reed re-arranged some of the old material,which -along with some new tracks- would compose the first CYAN album ''For king and country'' in 1993.The album is one of the most well-crafted UK neo prog releases,but it obvious lacks in originality.''For king and country'' follows the same path with PENDRAGON,that means an accesible form of neo-progressive rock with tasteful compositions,heavy use of keyboards and great guitar soloing.Reed's voice also resembles to PENDRAGON's Nick Barrett,while the album is split between instrumental compositions and vocal-tracks.For a one man-effort ''For king and country'' is a fantastic effort with strong musicianship,emotional fillers and a deep atmosphere and it comes strongly recommended by my side...3.5 stars.
Report this review (#146587)
Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Time for a review of Cyans debut (or should I say Reed's debut ?) For King and Country. On this album we find the track it all started with for my interest in this band. This was the 4th track Don't turn away because it was on a sampler and I was quite impressed with that song. When I bought the album I hoped the rest would be at least as good and that's what I will expound in this review.

The opening track is immediately more or less the highlight, not too surprising as it is the epical one. Not just because of that of course but it is a truly great composition. Second is the nice instrumental Call me, a melodic tune. Third is I defy the Sun, a short average track. Then my familiar song takes its turn, I still love it after 15 years ! Another shorter track, called Snowbound proves to be the second instrumental and since Rob Reed is actually a keyboardplayer, this the dominant instrument in this track. Next is another long one, called Man amongst men, good song but not as good as the opener The Sorceror. Nightflight is the 3rd instrumental of the album. I really like these on this album, all of a very good level. Last is the title track, a typical neo progressive song but not of the best kind. It's nothing special really, but fortunately it can't ruin the album for me anymore.

The first 7 tracks were good enough for me to come to a 4 star conclusion (3,6).

Report this review (#160733)
Posted Monday, February 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Not too colourful, perhaps

Cyan was formed in 1984 as a one-man band by multi-instrumentalist Rob Reed (also the brain behind another band named after a colour - Magenta). The initial active period of the band did not last for long however, the project was shelved after the recording of a demo and before any official album had been released. But this was not the end of the band as it was resurrected in the early 90's after Reed had received encouragement from fans including one Nick Barrett of Pendragon-fame (who would also guest on a later Cyan album). The present album was Cyan's official debut release and consisted of re-recorded versions of songs that originally appeared on the demo from the 80's plus some new songs. The style is somewhere in between classic Symphonic Prog of the 70's and the Neo-Prog scene of the 80's; Camel and Pendragon often spring to mind while listening to For King And Country.

Keeping in mind that Reed is doing everything by himself here including guitars, keyboards and lead vocals, this is really impressive. There is no doubt about his considerable talents which is proven by this and also several future releases (both under the Cyan moniker and under other names). I believe that Reed is primarily a keyboard player, and there is an emphasis on the keyboards in the sound of Cyan, but his vocal and guitar skills are clearly more than adequate (guitar sound often remind of that of Mike Oldfield). Though, while a thoroughly enjoyable listen, there is very little that really stands out as such here for me. Indeed, it is often hard to distinguish between the eight tracks on For King And Country - they are all of them good songs, but nothing here is really excellent or truly memorable. The tone is rather mellow and melancholic throughout, yet melodic.

It is interesting to speculate about what could have happened if this album had been released in the mid 80's instead of in the early 90's - would Cyan then have been a more recognized band? It is very hard for a one-man band to make it, and indeed, for the next album, Pictures From The Other Side, Reed did form more of a real band around himself. This was the right move to make, if you ask me. Regardless, we should be happy about the fact that Reed didn't abandon music after the initial demise of Cyan and came back to give us this and further albums.

While by no means truly original or very distinctive, this is certainly a worthwhile and thoroughly pleasant listen.

Report this review (#415223)
Posted Sunday, March 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Rob Reed proves himself a capable multi-instrumentalist on the debut album by Cyan, which has a neo-prog sound reminiscent both of classic bands in the genre - a bit of Jadis, a smattering of The Lens, and a healthy dose of Jewel-era Pendragon - as well as those artists who had a key influence on the formative years of the neo-prog movement. (In particular, some passages of the album remind me of a significantly more keyboard-focused version of Steve Hackett's sound, circa Spectral Mornings or Defector). Not surprising, when you consider a lot of the material on here is rerecorded from a demo tape originally put out in 1984!

Reed isn't quite equally capable on all instruments - his drumming is acceptable but not special, whilst his vocals really aren't great and probably constitute the greatest weakness in this release, with the vocal passages inevitably letting the album down. That said, he's an adept enough guitarist to slip in some nice solos here and there and his keyboard playing on the album is excellent; usually, it is the keyboards that save the instrumental passages. It took a few listens for this one to win me over but on the whole I think it's a decent debut, though ultimately not a top tier release even in the context of Reed's own discography, let alone the wider prog scene. Recommended for hardcore fans of both the early 80s neo-prog scene and of Magenta, who of course are in many respects the successor band to Cyan.

Report this review (#612126)
Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
3 stars 3.5 stars, really. I finally found Cyanīs first CD after a long time looking for it. I was quite surprised by its qualities, specially considering it was Robert Reedīs first release and he was playing and singing everything. So donīt expect the excellent symphonic sounds of Magenta or Christina Boothīs vocals. This is a work based mostly on a demo tape he recorded back in 1984. With that fact in mind, I must say For King And Country does remind me a lot of that period of time: the timbres of his synthesizers, specially. As Robert Reed is the sole player and singer here I must admit he does a fine job. Ok, he is not the best of singers and the electronic drums are annoying sometimes, but thatīs just the only let downs on the entire CD. And his work on the guitar and, specially, on the keyboards is nothing short of brilliance.

If you want a comparison, For King And Country harks back to Pendragonīs The Jewel and Kowtow period (yes, lots of mid-70īs Genesis-like synth sounds). Even his vocals here are reminiscent of Nick Barrett. Better still, the synth sounds are as majestic and creative as Clive Nolanīs. And we should never forget to mention his excellent songwriting: the guy was already doing a fine job at this department. Although not a masterpiece and with not real highlights, the CD flows evenly with good tunes all the way, some instrumentals, some with vocals, but all good ones. Sometimes, like in Nightflight, the music gives hints of what he would be doing in his future band Magenta.

All in all a very consistent album that will please anyone who enjoys 80īs neo prog. It was a nice surprise, I still think that Cyan reached its peak with the excellent The Creeping Vine, but this debut was a worthy and promising start that, fortunately, was fulfilled on Reedīs future works.

Report this review (#1600553)
Posted Tuesday, August 23, 2016 | Review Permalink

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