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Numen - Cyclothymia CD (album) cover

CYCLOTHYMIA

Numen

Neo-Prog


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rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars Here's a Spanish 90's Neo-Prog band with a sound heavily influenced by the British Neo-Prog scene of that time with an emphasis on melodic songs structures, a more than adequate vocalist and solid instrumentation. This album is supposed to be their darkest album, but it doesn't sound that dark to me. "A Cosmic Prayer" show some beautiful keyboards and piano parts, a clear Marillion influence at the end of the song. The title track is a 14 minutes epic that starts slowly with some nice keyboards/ piano lines and a Pink Floyd guitar style passage. Then there is a break with electronic music that brings things down before getting back to a faster pace. "Lady of the Winds" is in a more lighter mood that strand out for the first time for his Spanish influence with some acoustic guitar and also for the female chant "La La La".... This is recommended to the Neo-Prog fans that enjoy solid melodies, 3.5 stars
Report this review (#2189094)
Posted Sunday, April 28, 2019 | Review Permalink
TCat
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
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.

Report this review (#2189223)
Posted Monday, April 29, 2019 | Review Permalink
3 stars Spanish prog band Numen was born as a four piece formation in 1992, in 1998 Numen released their debut CD entitled Samsara, a concept album about all the things that surround the man as an integrating part of Cosmos. This first album got very good reviews all over the world, but two years later Numen was dissolved as a band. Its members were engaged from that time to their personal projects. After a long period of inactivity, the Numen members reunited, on one hand to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the release of Samsara in 2013. And on the other hand to publish a new album, this was released in 2014, named Numenclature. At the end of 2014 guitar player Antonio Valiente left the group and was replaced by Marcos Bevia. Meanwhile Numen started a new musical project, resulting in the release of their third studio-album entitled Cyclothymia, at the Chilean prog label Mylodon, on CD (6 tracks), and vinyl (5 tracks).

1. The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (6:48) : First dreamy with voice and soaring keyboards, then a bombastic eruption with a tight beat, it sound like pleasant Neo-Prog featuring nice work on guitar and keyboards and decent English vocals. Gradually the music turns into more mellow with a strings sound and twanging guitar, culminating in an emotional vocal outburst with howling guitar and very moving electric guitar (evoking Rothery but the fiery wah wah gives an own touch) and bombastic keyboards, a strong end.

2. Some Faith (a CD bonustrack) (5:09) : The second song starts with dreamy piano, passionate vocals, the work on the distinctive volume pedal guitar colours the emotional atmosphere wonderfully. Halfway more strong electric guitar (from sensitive to fiery) and soaring keyboards, finally tender piano runs and soaring strings in dreamy climate, like in the first part.

3. A Cosmic Prayer (7:05) : First a slow rhythm in a sumptuous climate, then Neo-Prog rules, with obvious Marillion hints: an accellaration with a tight beat, melodic guitar work and pleasant vocals. We can enjoy wonderful electric guitar runs and spacey synthesizer flights, then again a tight beat and finally a dreamy ending.

4. Cyclothymia (14:53) : This epic titletrack begins with tender piano and dreamy vocals, embellished with synthesizer flights and a mellow organ sound. Then a spacey climate with guitar and keyboards, gradually the music becomes more lush. Next a shifting mood with fat synthesizer sound, sound effects, a bit ominous climate, but very compelling. Halfway suddenly a dreamy atmosphere with piano, followed by a bombastic outburst with powerful Hammond and a propulsive rhythm-section, a captivating sound. Then a tight beat with flashy synthesizer flights and guitar riffs, the voice of girl, now the music turns into a slow rhythm with sensitive electric guitar leads and lingering vocals, very emotional. Finally first howling guitar runs and then dreamy piano, this is a wonderful epic, Numen in its full splendor!

5. Lady of the Winds (5:38) : The intro features the voice of child and sound effects, then a dreamy climate with soaring keyboards, soft synthesizer flights and warm English vocal. Halfway again that voice of a child (lalala) in a cheerful mood, followed by a wonderful colouring with keyboards, a delicate synthesizer solo and classical guitar runs. Simply beautiful, to me it sound like the Spanish answer to Dutch pride Kayak, very melodic, harmonic and tasteful.

6. Footprints (9:30) : The final song delivers an obvious Marillion atmosphere (Misplaced childhood era) with fragile electric guitar and tender piano work, and soft bass runs. Then a slow rhythm with dreamy vocals, a bit melancholical. Halfway the music turns into more bombastic and compelling featuring a howling guitar solo and emotional vocals, then propulsive guitar riffs and drums beats, very pleasant Neo-Prog. In the final part lots of moving guitar soli, along orchestral keyboards and emotional vocals, culminating in a bombastic eruption, to end this strongly build-up composition in style.

To be honest, during my first listening session I was a bit confused about Numen its new album, because of the huge contrast between the guitar sound (Rothery and Hackett inspired) and the vocals, more Spandau Ballet rooted than Fish or Gabriel inspired. I had to get used to his voice, you can hear English is not his native language, but he puts a fair amount of strong emotion in the music. Gradually I was more and more pleased with Numen its Neo-Prog sound featuring tasteful and varied arrangements, a pleasant colouring by guitar and keyboards and some nice own musical ideas. This promising Spanish formation showscases its potential on this new effort, I am looking forward to their next effort.

My rating: 3,5 stars.

Report this review (#2190065)
Posted Friday, May 3, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's been a long time since I've heard this Spanish band from Alicante, a city next to the Mediterranean Sea. At that time they called my attention due to the treatment of their musical ideas. After several years, I've come across them again. After listening to their first two albums, I must say that Numen, in my opinion, was a very promising band in a mainly marillionesque style. But why this? Mainly because they focus on melodic and thematic ideas above other considerations. It seems obvious that each song of theirs is an picture painted with delicate brush strokes. The set of each drawing creates a whole in a holistic way that is itself unique and personal. They do not need more or less. In other words, the music of Numen seems to be thought from head to toe. Focusing on this latest work called Cyclothymia (wow, the title is an invitation to get involved in an emotional journey), the details are there, some in sight and others waiting to be discovered. Cyclothymia is an album that will require several listenings and, surely, will never cease to surprise us with some hidden details. Without going any further, the drums accomplish its function in the service of the songs; at no time it is imposed to show unnecessary filigrees. However, their arrangements are refined and colorful, just like Ian Mosley does in Marillion (nobody at this point will doubt the quality of this drummer). The bass performs a work that fits into each of the needs of the tracks and the most appropriate groove. Its color is thick and beautiful; it is in its place supporting all the superior musical framework. Many of its lines create a well thought counterpoint with the melodies created by the voices. The guitar and keyboards display a palette of colors that remind me of other bands like Camel, Pink Floyd or Arena. The range of frequencies they occupy, along with the voices, is very delicate and can easily become saturated; in general, this does not happen, what makes the different parts of the songs has enough room for the silence. Finally, the voice culminates the proposal that we find in this album: six very lyrical tracks of an obvious emotional charge. Making melodic music seems like an easy task, but it is not at all. There is nothing more difficult than doing something simple and honest that reaches the heart for its beauty, and Numen achieves it. Simply for this, you can forgive any fault (all of them are small, by the way) that may be in the production of the album, but, particularly for me, they do not displease me.
Report this review (#2201462)
Posted Friday, May 10, 2019 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Reviewer
3 stars According to the great god which is Google, 'Cyclothymia -- or cyclothymic disorder -- is a relatively mild mood disorder. In cyclothymic disorder, moods swing between short periods of mild depression and hypomania, an elevated mood. The low and high mood swings never reach the severity or duration of major depressive or full mania episodes. People with cyclothymic disorder have milder symptoms than occur in full-blown bipolar disorder.' Numen state this isn't a concept album as such, although it does explore moods which may become a burden and torment. Numen released their debut 'Samsara' as long ago as 1998, but were dormant for a long period, getting back together when discussions were held the fifteenth anniversary of that release, and this is the second since then, following on from 2014's 'Numenclature'.

The musicians on the album are C'sar Alcaraz (vocals), Marcos Bevi' (guitar), Manuel Mas (keyboards), V'ctor Arques (bass) and Gaspar Mart'nez (drums), but this was the first album to feature Bevi', who replaced Antonio Valiente, and I note according to the website he is no longer in the band and neither is Alcaraz. However, they are continuing as a trio with additional musicians. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens here on in, as the vocals are a key part of this neo progressive/ crossover unit.

The album is very songs based, with little real room for the band to spread their wings musically, and there are times when they could add some freshness and life into the music as can become a little cloying and almost suffocating. They have been heavily influenced by later period Marillion, which isn't exactly a high point in my opinion, yet also bring in elements of Pink Floyd which manage to rescue it somewhat. There are times when the band seem to be struggling, and instead of creating a moment of reflection it is almost as if the band don't know how to move to the next stage. Solid and interesting without ever being indispensable, this is a melodic album which is well-produced and played but never really moves into top gear.

Report this review (#2281999)
Posted Saturday, November 16, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow! I thought this Cyclothymia was a metal prog album, but I was wrong. The cover is simply an symbolic extension of the main track. Track number 4 is the best track without any doubt. 14'30' of sincere music with a thrilling message. All the elements involved reinforces the idea of highs and lows in the human life time and his mood. The rest of the album is good enough to get it since you will enjoy a great number of subtleties in every play. This album needs a lot of listenings to extract all its juice. Don't judge the music by the cover!
Report this review (#2288023)
Posted Wednesday, December 18, 2019 | Review Permalink
BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Once again I'm confronted with an album that has been garnering a lot of high praise from other reviewers that falls shockingly short of the expectations laid out before me. The song structures are simple, I hear little virtuosity from the instrumentalists, the Neo Prog "hooks" used to try to win over the listeners allegiance feel so scripted and cloying as to make me wonder if the players had any fun at all in laying down these tracks, the sound engineering is quite flawed--which might be made possible by the dated instruments chosen to transport the band's ideas and sound (especially the keyboards), and the music laid down to support the vocal sections is often rather dull and anemic.

The opening song, 1. "The Man with The X-Ray Eyes" (6:54) opens strongly--as a great instrumental--but then takes an unexpected turn toward homogeneity with the entrance of the AMBROSIA-like vocals. Why he gets so melodramatically emotional in the second verse I have no clue but it's too much, over the top, for me. (12.75/15)

2. "Some Faith" (5:01) opens with solo electric piano before lead singer César Alcaraz enters. Synth washes and lead electric guitar make appearances before drums and bass join at the end of the second minute. Nice section after the first guitar solo, but then it becomes Disney soundtrack (I'm reminded of the original Aladdin film). The lead guitarist shows some flair in his final solo around the 4:00 mark. (8.5/10)

3. "A Cosmic Prayer" (7:04) opens with some cool keyboard sound and fast cymbal play before a series of power chords enter to introduce a series of chords. When the song's rhythm and tempo is finally established, the strangely effected vocal enters. It often feels out of sync with the instrumental music--as if it doesn't even belong to this song. The music is so purely rock 101 support and the vocal so mismatched. At 3:35 there is an instrumental interlude that is nice--with pleasant guitar and synth soli and interesting chordal and tempo changes--but then we have to go back to the anemic main theme. (12/15)

4. "Cyclothymia" (14:30) The title song and album's longest epic hits all the right buttons but lacks excitement and soul. It's prog-by-the-numbers. It opens with ominous solo electric piano arpeggi (supported by background synth washes). César enters singing in a lower register. This is better though still wobbly and having trouble with pitch and pocket. Nice FIXX-like guitar chord play between the vocal sections in the fourth minute. Though there is a distant electric guitar soloing nicely in the background of the second verse, the music is just so soulless. The instrumental middle section starting in the seventh minute is nice--some power and creativity expressed here both musically and with added samples and tapes--but then it shifts into a disappointing and overly simple piano- and organ-based URIAH HEEP-like section at the eighth minute. It does recover its allure a bit once it reverts to slower tempo, and then as the music builds and fills with the emotionally-delivered final verses. Kind of SYLVAN-like here. nice finish. (24.5/30)

5. "Lady of the Winds" (5:31) opens with child singing "rain, rain, go away, come again some other day" before VANGELIS-like theme opens the instrumental music. Vocal enters dully and with pitch issues at the end of the first minute. Nice instrumental support, but this vocalist is not up to the task of professional enhancement of the music he is given. Music takes and odd direction in the fourth minute, kind of campy, before Spanish guitar solo. Were there no singing or lyrics to this song, it would be free to explore some exciting instrumental expression, but, as it is, the song is like a classic rock support for the vocal. The new AMBROSIA? (8/10)

6. "Footprints" (9:27) opens with piano and some oddly effected electric guitar establishing a rather ominous, almost sad, emotional tone. When César enters with a frail, warbly voice, I am suddenly confused: what kind of emotion is the band trying to convey here? It's a nice, engaging musical foundation--not unlike Chilean prog band AISLES--but unpolished. At 3:40 there is a clean break and switch into more spacious instrumental section. This is nice. With the climax of "Cyclomythia" and the instrumental opening of "The Man with the X-ray Eyes," this is the best part of the album. When César rejoins, they almost make it work, but then things just fall apart after the music leaves the hard-driving guitar-based section to become more theatric for it's climactic end. (16.75/20)

This album shows potential but the sound, song constructs, vocals, and energy injected into the music all need improvement. I wish the band could benefit from some different input from other producers to bring this same music up to modern standards.

C/3.5 stars; a nice addition to a prog lover's music collection--especially if you like Neo Prog or prog-related acts like Ambrosia and Journey.

Report this review (#2288137)
Posted Wednesday, December 18, 2019 | Review Permalink
friso
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The neo-progressive genre has lots of bands releasing albums and very few top tier bands. Numen is a neo-prog group from Spain with an honest bid for that short list of stronger neo albums of the year 2019. Stylisticly I would place the band the closest to Pendragon because of the mild progressive leanings, the generally uplifting vibe and plain vocals by a not-too-gifted, yet very motivated singer. Also the production gave the band an above avarage and full-bodied sound.

The fifteen minute title song 'Cyclothymia' stands out as much darker than the other songs and makes for the most interesting listen. Other highlights on the album are the keyboard solo's by Manuel Mas who really has a knack for finding sweet spots with sound and melody Take for instance his moments early in the titlse song and his atmospheric twist in 'A Cosmic Prayer'. Some of his chord progressions are well crafted. The guitars of Marcos Beviá are clearly inspired by Gilmour and Hackett, yet his lines sound more like improvisations than thought out melodic lines. Still some very competent playing. Vocalist César Alcaraz is a singer most will easily sympathize with, but I guess his pronounciaton of the English lyrics and his obvious hardship in performing the material is this record's main weakness. This together with lyrics that are better not given too much attention. All compositions have some great ideas and I especially like the darker twists of Numen. The overal quality of the album is fairly consistant and it has a pleasant playback and lenght. The album cover looks like one of those heavy psych albums of the late sixties and I guess this album is as much a slightly flawed masterpiece as most of the albums it resembles. That won't bother most listeners of the neo-prog genre, because listeners of Pendragon, Marillion and early Arena will surely find something to enjoy here! Three and a halve for this one.

Report this review (#2299404)
Posted Tuesday, December 24, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars Long time ago I discovered this Spanish Prog rock band that was very useful at that moment to be interested in a style I didn't know at all. Almost 20 years after that encounter, I've bumped into them again. I must say that the feelings have been the same as the first time. With Cyclothymia, it's like to visit a musical museum. After all this time the band has produced a well crafted album one more time. They still know how to use musical brushes to paint coloristic canvas where you can dive in. Each song is so different from the other ones! You listen to Cyclothymia song and you feel so overwhelming by the drama that lies under the lyrics... after this you feel reconforted with a Lady of the Winds, a folk and NA song. Finally Footprints invites you to reflex about how our lives are threads of a immense fabric, like the canvas that is the basis of this picture.
Report this review (#2301751)
Posted Saturday, December 28, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another return! That of the Spanish quintet NUMEN, originally from ALICANTE in the south-east of SPAIN and who had published his first album "Samsara" in the last century, exactly in 1998. Important thing to explain this renaissance, the group was put to sleep for thirteen years from 2000 to 2013. There was the release of a second album "Numenclature" in 2014 with the original formation but since the guitarist Antonio VALIENTE left his little friends and was replaced by Marcos BEVIA. So what does NUMEN offered us in the year 2019? Well a progressive neo album! Yes but still? Let's move on, César ALCARAZ sings correctly even if we sometimes realize that it is a Spaniard who sings in English, the amplitude of the octaves he has, partly erases this little discomfort.   NUMEN opens hostilities with "The Man with the X-Ray Eyes", easy to translate that one! Neo with a symphonic tendency, which even if the Iberians do not invent anything, remains pleasant to listen to, a piece where the synthesizers of Manuel MAS lead the dance with zest and prettiness and well supported in the second half by the lyric six-string guitar and brilliant by Marcos BEVIA (9/10). "Some Faith" the shortest title of the album introduced by the piano, before the intervention of the guitar, is certainly also the most basic, the most happening everywhere, in short the one that fascinates me the least (7/10). "A Cosmic Prayer", a whole program!, is the piece where the Spanish-English diction of César ALCARAZ turns out to be the most troublesome insofar as it is a much sung piece, too bad because Manuel MAS is still positively involved (6/10). Non place at the top of the album, the title track "Cyclothymia", incidentally the longest of the opus, pure chance of course, a track where the two soloists already mentioned shine brightly, where Cesar sings the best and where the rhythmic pair, Victor ARQUES on four strings and Gaspar MARTINEZ on drums are also highlighted (without them nothing would be possible of course), in short a superb piece of symphonic progressive, which offers us in its mitan and in its last quarter of the sounds from elsewhere (crowd noises, police sirens, voiceovers, laughter, slamming car doors ....) thanks to PINK FLOYD and Alan PARSONS for having created, invented even in their time these musical ersatz which allow us today to fully appreciate progressive music (10/10).   "Lady of The Winds" starts with stormy noises and a childish voice and turns out to be almost as fascinating as the previous piece, lit up again and again by Mister MAS, the only track where the guitar is clearly and advantageously perceived acoustic, the improbable marriage between rhyme of youth and symphonist, with unfortunately a little abrupt end ..... (8/10). The conclusive piece "Footprints" which approaches ten minutes is also a remarkable symphonic piece, magnified more than the other pieces previously heard by the sieur BEVIA and where César ALCARAZ sings there excellently, like what everything is possible ..... with a end there too a little too steep (9/10).   In summary a very good album if you checked the box "symphonic progressive".
Report this review (#2304403)
Posted Saturday, January 4, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the third album of this Spanish Prog band coming from the warm coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. Their two previous albums left me a good impression since I am a newprog follower and they hit the right buttons to take notice of them. Despite of the fact that Antonio Valiente left the project, you cannot find any loss of creativity in the current album. Marcos Bevià, the new guitar player, seems to fit in with the particular universe of Numen.

Going to the point, Cyclothymia is made of six tracks, each of them with a particular color that sometimes reminds me of the classics, especially Pink Floyd in the 70's and Marillion in the 90's.

The first track is a musical gesture to the sci-fi movies from the 60's, but the message seems to have a second interpretation thanks to some jokes in the lyrics. The instrumentation is kind of orchestral and the structure made of two different parts, the first one more humouristic than the second one that transmits a sarcastic message.

The second track, Some faith, is a ballad that has to do with the title of this album. The lyrics are kind of disconsolate. Here you find those harmonies that remind me Pink Floyd. The four track, Cyclothymia will reproduce this feeling again. The interaction between the vocals and the guitar is really pretty. A grand piano is the base of the song.

The third and the fifth songs are the most positive and brights songs. Both of them have a typical song form with an instrumental interlude in the 3/4 of the tracks. The keyboards and guitars solos are pleasant. The lyrics uplifting.

The fourth track, Cyclothymia, is a rollercoaster of emotions, full of color and timbres. The message is the plot that supports all the musical structure. It's not a mere yuxtaposition of ideas, but a discourse that evolves in a cyclothymic way. It's the best track of the album and the soul of it.

This works finishes with Footprints, a neutral song in terms of emotion. Completely Marillionesque, made of three different parts. The first one is in the Floyd style. The second is an instrumental part with sketches and ideas brought by the synths, the guitar, the bass and even a vocal echo. The last part increases the tempo and its vitality.

All in all, if you're a newprog fan, you shouldn't miss Cyclothymia. From time to time some new gems appear in the enormous river call Prog rock.

Report this review (#2304536)
Posted Sunday, January 5, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars The band Numen Coming from Alicante was founded in 1992. Cyclothymia is his third studio work, preceded by Numenclature (2014) and the debut Samsara (1998).

With Cyclothymia or prior to its launch, there were a number of changes: first, guitarist Antonio Valiente was replaced by the current Marcos Bevia. The rest of the members remain constant over time; César Alcaraz (voices), Víctor Arques (bass), Manuel Mas (keyboards) and Gaspar Martínez (drums).

Second, since Cyclothimia, Numen signs with the record label Mylodon Records.

"The album talks about the moods that human beings can go through, in the cyclical sense of the word. Anyway, we want people to be able to make their own interpretation and can take the lyrics to their field. It is a very eclectic work, with very different themes between them, with the importance of always to the melody "- commented Gaspar Martínez.

So, therefore, is how Numen faces this 2019: working on a lyricism that serves as both poetic and environmental support, and that operates as a vehicle for musical scores. It is, indeed, dark, although at first glance it may not seem so (because the artwork is a beautiful color). However, once we dive into the round, we can verify this idea that Martínez has wanted to convey to us.

Cyclothymia reminds me of a series of groups set in progressive rock and sometimes in the Neo-Prog; like Unreal City, Huis or Marillion.. But above all, Cyclothymia remembers Numen, with that incisive and delicate pointillism that the quintet has worked as a sign of identity.

'The Man with the X-Ray Eyes' is the beginning of the tour. It is a compendium of keyboard arrangements and rhythmic setbacks that occur with vocal parts, distorted in the first minutes.

With 'Some Faith' the classic side of Numen becomes evident, since the piano is also used to add compositional richness. I must say that the second minute reminds me of the keyboards of the song 'The Web' by Marillion (Script For A Jester's Tear).

'A Cosmic Prayer' presents, as the name anticipates, cosmic scratches, whose intricate nature evoke Rush in '2112'.

In 'Cyclothymia' the dark and melancholic mood that the quintet wishes to reflect in this round becomes more evident. I would say that the keyboards play a fundamental role in the work, either by brushing the rear as in the form of a main dish leading the entire sound network. The tempo changes are also noteworthy, and halfway again it changes third. In this part, the melody acquires a more direct conception and a dreamlike intonation in the last minutes.

'Lady of the Winds' develops the "British progressive" side, but without undoing the other aspects. I want to say that 'Lady of the Winds' also plays with other aspects and other instruments such as the acoustic guitar. 'Footprints' closes Cyclothymia with a dose of Neo-Prog Arena style, dotted with reflective notes.

In short, Cyclothymia is more than worthy work that deserves to be heard, since it will not leave you indifferent. Hopefully the hiatus that was years ago in Numen will not be repeated, and continue to delight us with new works.

Report this review (#2305146)
Posted Wednesday, January 8, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars If we can express something firmly, it is that Spain does not fade as far as progressive rock is concerned. And it is that there are few Spanish groups that have generated valuable contributions to this musical phenomenon, a situation more than interesting, taking into account the well-known fluctuations experienced by the style and difficulties that exist to prosecute a healthy vigorous scene. This new creative glow is Numen, a symphonic progressive band from Alicante founded in 1992, who since their genesis have oriented their style towards a musical structuring based on intense instrumental developments and a remarkable emotional charge as far as their lyrics are concerned.

Since "Samsara", his first album of 1997, works with neo-progressive touches of high beauty, through the dreamlike charm of "Numenclature", the second album recorded in 2014, the band has managed to offer a musical work of high quality. Therefore, it was foreseeable that his most recent opus, "Cyclothymia", would be in full sync with his predecessors, even more, this new album released this year under the Chilean label Mylodon Records, both on CD and in vinyl edition, come also complemented with new concepts, explained perhaps by the group's own maturity and the compositional strength of the band integrated by César Alcaraz (voice), Víctor Arques (bass), Manuel Mas (keyboards), Marcos Beviá (guitars) and Gaspar Martínez (drums ).

Cyclothymia is perhaps the darkest content album of Numen, given the remarkable thematic emphasis that inspires them, but it is not a conceptual album, although it is close to it, by virtue of the exploration that is done to these moods in the that the human being is submerged when life becomes a burden and a torment.

In the musical, vocal parts are conjugated very well achieved and of marked depth, in the typical lyrical style of Numen, with other more innovative instrumentals, expressed through the richness in the timbral and harmonic treatment of the work.

The mini suite that gives its name to the album is perhaps the maximum expression of this album, which goes into intricate sound passages, dominated by the presence of a wise use of keyboards that generate a symphonic neo-frenzy of particular beauty that results in a musical universe that represents the various moods that can be crossed by the human being, in the cyclical sense of the word.

After coping with an existence, which, like many bands, is marked by certain intermittences, the Numen film lives a new chapter, decidedly gravitational in the group's career.

Report this review (#2305725)
Posted Friday, January 10, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars The third album from this Spanish band.

The band is a quintet with a lineup of drums, keyboards, guitars, bass and vocals.

I have been a long term admirer of this band and my reviews of their two albums can be found somewhere else in this blog.

Neo-prog is their genre. Sort of..... OK, it is neo-prog.

There is a lot more to the band than just neo-prog. Their sound and music reminds me a lot about early Marillion.

This album is indeed very comparable with early Marillion. No, the vocalist does not sound like Fish. The vocalist in Numen has a totally different voice. The vocals are indeed great. But the music reminds me a lot about early Marillion.

Numen combines neo-prog and symphonic prog on this album. Which is a very good combination. The music is not massive technical. It still have a lot of intricate details, though.

The album is fifty minutes long and not a single tone outstays it's welcome. There is a lot of power and melody on this album.

The melodies and the music is indeed great and the album has a classy feel.

Numen is one of those gems in the neo-prog scene who deserves a lot more attention. I rate them as one of the best neo-prog bands in the world at this moment.

Report this review (#2306356)
Posted Monday, January 13, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Spanish formation Numen is by no means a newcomer, after all the band has existed for over 25 years. The first output was in 1998 with the album "Samsara", followed by "Numenclature" in 2014 after a long break. Now her third work "Cyclothymia" has been released on the Chilean label Mylodon Records. Six titles with duration between five and 15 minutes were recorded by the following line-up:

César Alcaraz - vocals Marcos Beviá - lead guitar / rhythm guitar Víctor Arques - bass Gaspar Martínez - drums / percussion Manuel Mas - keyboards / vocals / additional arrangements.

The Spaniards present melodic Neo-Prog, which seems to be influenced by British Neo-Prog from the 90s. Both keys and guitars set fine accents, especially their long track is convincing, the title song 'Cyclothymia'. The English-speaking vocals show that English is not the mother tongue of the front man, and it seems a bit shaky in some places, but overall fits in well with the concept. The melodies know how to please, Manuel Mas puts special accents on the keys. It is certainly not a bad idea for Neo Prog fans to deal with this quintet from Alicante. The album could have been called F34.0, because that is the ICD-10 code for the mood disorder cyclothymia. There are no mood swings on the album, this is consistently pleasant symphonic Neo-Prog without corners and edges.

Report this review (#2306564)
Posted Tuesday, January 14, 2020 | Review Permalink
5 stars Today we have in our hands "Cyclothymia", the third studio album by the Spanish neo-progressive band NUMEN, which was released by the Chilean label Mylodon Records in March of last year 2019. A year ago, so this review is quite belated, but hey, the thing is that every expression here poured is genuine and honest. Before going to the album itself, let's note that this quintet based in Alicante is currently made up of César Alcaraz [voice], Manuel Mas [keyboards], Marcos Beviá [guitars], Víctor Arques [bass] and Gaspar Martínez [drums and percussion] . This is the first NUMEN album with the presence of Beviá, the successor of Antonio Valiente. The origins of the band go back to the year 1992, being so six years later they managed to publish their debut album "Samsara", but two years later, the band disintegrated. Anyway, this dissolution was not final because the band resurfaced with everything to create and publish "Numenclature" in 2014. With "Cyclothymia", the NUMEN reaffirmed the creative vitality of this new era. Focusing specifically on this item, the band exhibits an exquisite and fluidly schematic display of modern symphonism, very obedient to the inheritances received from the new wave of the British symphonic prog of the 80s, and, incidentally, also from the second generation of the so-called neo-prog from the 90s onwards (GRAY LADY DOWN, COLLAGE, QUIDAM). There is also no lack of stylistic links with the modernized facets of the sound ideas of GENESIS, CAMEL and PINK FLOYD. The material recorded for this album was mixed by Rafa Camisón in Estudio 79, to be later mastered by Kadifornia Mastering. Let's see now the details of the repertoire of this album, okay? Lasting 6 minutes, "The Man With The X-Ray Eyes" opens the repertoire, a song that begins with a patently ceremonious prologue marked by multiple cosmic layers of synthesizer, to which a soliloquy with rhetorical authority is added. Once the full instrument block was installed, we came across a striking and crystal-clear motif that refers us to both the MARILLION of the 85-89 phase and the PENDRAGON of the early 90s. After lavishing generously on a nimble swing that allows the theme center hook to settle with enchanting power, the final section ends in a slow key, Floydian-style ballad. Following is 'Some Faith', a song designed to perpetuate the relaxed, lyrical sensibility with which the opening song had concluded. Being the keyboards at the nerve center of the melodic scheme and the evocative atmosphere of the song, the idea is to give it an extra dose of drama, especially in relation to the emotional vibrations of the song and the solid interventions of the guitar in its riffs, phrasing and harmonic additions. In spite of what could be concluded from its ritualistic title, 'A Cosmic Prayer' is a subject where the extrovert and the color predominate, although it also has a serene interlude that draws attention within the general scheme because it contains one of the best synth solos on the entire album. It is one of the most resounding songs on the album, it makes good use of its space of 7 minutes. The fourth song on the album is the one that precisely gives it its title and is also the most extensive with its more than 14 ¾ minutes in length, and of course, the band exploits its most lavish edges for the occasion. For the most part, a series of enveloping atmospheres are created and expanded to organize the dramatic melodic developments, the same that are clearly delineated as a hybrid between the MARILLION of the 80s and the GENESIS of the late 70s. Around the border of the eighth minute, the group creates a vitalistic instrumental interlude on an enthusiastic and moderately muscular groove. It all ends with a return to the original drama, adding a stylized parsimony that reminds us, to a certain extent, of the PINK FLOYD of the 87-94 phase. The piano epilogue is very eloquent in its serious parsimony, very expressive that the narrative of the song ends with a halo of solemn gravity.

'Lady Of The Winds' begins with blizzard effects and a song of childish elves, which opens the door to the expansion of a graceful and poetic atmosphere. The pastoral airs of the acoustic guitar and the floating character of the harmonies and ornaments of the keyboards fill the friendly atmosphere that rests solidly on a striking swing armed by the rhythmic pair. The song carries a serene and ethereal beauty that reminds us of a hybrid of the ASGARDs of the first album with the COLLAGES of the first three; We also noticed a retro look to the GENESIS with some hints of the folk facet of YES. The last 9 ½ minutes of the album are occupied by 'Footprints', a song that begins to flow soberly under the prog-symphonic ballad model in the style of MARILLION and PENDRAGON. After crossing the border in the third minute, the initial markedly introspective mood turns towards a more properly epic area; It is here that the keyboard layers and orchestrations become a little denser. Things do not take long to speed up to the point that the guitar finds fields of action for its leading expansions in the middle of Alcaraz's singing, and meanwhile, the rhythmic duo develops a more graceful swing. This being the case, the melodic scheme becomes dazzling: the introspective has already been left behind to speak of an extrovert and effectively attractive musicality. The real impetus for the song and repertoire to end with a lavish aureole and an unstoppable melodic hook comes to fruition. "Cyclothymia" is, after all, a solid album in its musical developments and very lively through the various melodic ideas that are exhibited from start to finish. The people of NUMEN have shown off their best on this album.

Report this review (#2307450)
Posted Friday, January 17, 2020 | Review Permalink

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