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LYRIAN

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Lyrian biography
UK act LYRIAN started out as a trio consisting of John Blake (vocals, guitars), Alison Felstead (vocals, bass) and Paul W. Nash (vocals, guitars, keyboards, percussion, woodwinds) back in 2006. All of them past or present librerians. By 2008 they had an album worth's of material ready, and after indexing them released their debut concept album Nightingale Hall.

One year later Edgar Wilde (drums, percussions) joined the band, and this now four men (or, according to their homepage, halflings) strong band began working on their sophomore production. Planned as a double concept album, with the winter of 2011 as the projected time of release.

Lyrian official website

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Nightingale HallNightingale Hall
CD Baby 2008
Audio CD$10.90
$10.56 (used)
SakurairoSakurairo
Import
Pioneer 2005
Audio CD$21.29
$20.66 (used)
Love Da Nyan-AtashiganekoninaLove Da Nyan-Atashiganekonina
Import
Pioneer 2005
Audio CD$14.27
$12.98 (used)
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LYRIAN discography


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LYRIAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 18 ratings
Nightingale Hall
2008
3.43 | 25 ratings
The Tongues of Men and Angels
2011
3.63 | 20 ratings
The Jester's Quest in the City of Glass
2016

LYRIAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

LYRIAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

LYRIAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

LYRIAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Four Short Songs For Saturnalia
2006
4.67 | 3 ratings
Sick Roses
2011
4.20 | 5 ratings
Evagor
2014

LYRIAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Nightingale Hall by LYRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.50 | 18 ratings

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Nightingale Hall
Lyrian Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Lyrian is an intriguing prog-folk outfit from Oxfordshire, England, catching my attention in large part due to an ongoing fascination with medieval forms of prog, whereby modern instruments are used within 600 year-old parameters that have withstood the test of time and sound even more vibrant today. Gian Castello's two rare albums form the proudest segment of my voluminous collection, as I find myself transported back in time to a land of pastoral settings, castles and knights, damsels and dragons and minstrels and madrigals. Recent works by Faverola, Resonaxis, the Merlin Bird, Bededeum, Fauns, Ion, Minimum Vital, Motis, Shine Dion, Ton Scherpenzeel and Wurtemberg keep the flame going and might as well toss in Blackmore's Night while we are at it. They go hand in hand with Gryphon, Amazing Blondel, Malicorne, Holderlein and Ougenweide, as fine examples of the communion of past, present and future.

Their debut disc "Nightingale Hall" is definitely a mood enhancing voyage, as opposed to an overt technical display of dizzying chops, creating a misty foray into a mystic past, often minimalist in arrangement, yet heavy on creativity. Featuring lifelong friends John Blake and Paul W. Nash as main singers, instrumentalists and composers, they are joined by Alison Felstead on bass and vocals to create a rich tapestry of sonic magic, laden with fairy-tale fantasy and symphonic splendor. An opening "Prelude" sets the stage with various effects (it is a prog album after all!) and segues into the sweeping title track, a 17 minute suite that effortlessly glides through various phases of serenity, heavily dependent on the elegance of the piano and a lustrous guitar phrasing that is loaded with effects a la Steve Hackett. The stark male voice evokes a fragile lament, as the lush church organ booms forward, unrelenting. A soft pastoral section introduces an acoustic guitar-led bucolic and melancholic passage, twinkling brightly amid the gentle flutters of a distant flute. A flimsy filigree, a soothing pretense only to reboot the lilt in harder terms, drums marshaled and determined (they may be programmed), while the slippery guitar carves resentfully. The majestic organ once again takes over the realm, guiding the arrangement into a third expanse, a somewhat gloomier one, yet still playfully caressing their instruments. The bass sounds synthesized, a trait that proves the claim that Lyrian has covered Ultravox' epic and classic Gothic masterpiece "Vienna" and can be seen on YouTube. The bass similarities are striking and technically interesting as the ancient and modern unite in harmonious delight. Nevertheless the delicate folk tendencies are overpowering and utterly satisfying, with occasional swells of orchestrations that are straight out of classical symphonies. Crows caw, heavenly voices cry and the church organ plays the final farewell. Amazing!

The overt early Genesis tones of "The Summerhouse" hearken back to forgotten times, a world of tingling keyboards, whistling synths, acoustic guitars and light percussion, the brittle voice coming through the sunshine, as if good ole Anthony Phillips had shown up with his geese and ghost, 12 string not far behind.

Another whopping epic track is the 15 minute + "He Who Would Be Valiant Be", showcasing an uncanny ability to coalesce ancient stylings with modern musical accouterments, a rather original pairing in my humble opinion, making this theatrical endeavor highly entertaining. The boisterous synth patterns both lead, rhythm and bass, form a wide berth for the squirrely guitar to peel off some delirious solos, Gregorian chanting in the background, I mean this is a futuristic voyage back to the Middle Ages. The crestfallen minstrel hushes his lips as he retreats into the shadows, the velvet curtains now openly drawn, the magical lute laying on the banquet table amid the goblets and platters. The voice 'weeps for England', as the men march out the drawbridge, beyond the moat and the banners are flying high. Expressive musical genius!

The ringing of "The Chimes" announce the 'heroit' , the tribute in payment due to a lord or king upon the death of a vassal, a mournful and forlorn piece with twinkling keys that sound closer to harpsichord. Suddenly half way through the gentle gauntlet, the haunting pace revs up into a colossal procession with booming drum patterns and howling synthesized orchestrations, including a few tortured solos that sound like Billie Currie (Ultravox) revisited. I am thoroughly impressed!

Ah, yes my liege! Romance was created back in the 1100s with the incredible 'chansons de geste', songs of heroic deeds all aimed at eventually obtaining the heart of the damsel in question. "The Lovers Under the Trees" follows that wonderfully romantic premise, amorous flute and suave guitar strings, as the troubadour chants the poem of love and adoration. There is a reason the band is called Lyrian, as the lyric poetry overtakes the arrangement, creating a cycle of epic foundations, the screeching electric guitar attaining new paroxysms of intensity. The booming drums (though programmed) add a density of modernism that speaks volumes (the band members were once librarians!) to the band's vision and style.

The subtle flute and fluid guitar combine majestically on the sweeping and serene "Winter Song", a brief pastoral voice that seeks to emulate the barren beauty of the fields of temporary white. It sets the ideal table for another grandiose finale, this time a 13+ minute affair, "Lucifer" is its name. The piece starts out rather happily, a shrill voice that sounds at times like Ian Broudie of the Lightning Seeds, gaining in impetus as the organ layers begin their assault on the senses" Soon enough the eventual arrival of the axe guitar chops away at the flow, introducing a darker gauntlet, a moat of infested imagination, floating codpieces that wink at madly fluted Aqualung, choir and voice quivering. The angelic howl returns, as the night fades into the ghostly night, the somber bell rings the arrival of the inevitable knight, the chevalier of darkness.

Admittedly, this will not be everyone's cup of hydromel (mead), so be forewarned! If you don't get the premise, do not bother going on this crusade, it's beyond your ancestry! I just love this style of 'fairhead' prog. Love the 'pitchkettled' artwork

4.5 Thrush Manors

 The Jester's Quest in the City of Glass by LYRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.63 | 20 ratings

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The Jester's Quest in the City of Glass
Lyrian Crossover Prog

Review by sussexbowler

4 stars Pleasant keyboard-led Medieval storytelling, using the musical instrument effectively to create the mood of the period and of the story.

Drawn into this by the excellent 'Flight of the Enchanter', I was not to be disappointed by the overall album, which contains much variety within the constraints of the instruments used'

Atmospheric and gentle, a story is narrated in an unflustered manner, providing unexpected visualistations of a journey.

If there's one thing missing, then it's angst and drama, because the story unhurriedly and gently unfolds itself.

Comtemporary instruments are reigned-back to create the perfect mood, but this still remains modern music, beautiful modern Prog., no less.

As regards the singing, well it's the Jester after all, how else is he supposed to sound? It basically reinforces what you're dealing with here, story-wise. I didn't find it obtrusive after a while.

Gentle and pleasant, I more than rather enjoyed this album.

 The Jester's Quest in the City of Glass by LYRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.63 | 20 ratings

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The Jester's Quest in the City of Glass
Lyrian Crossover Prog

Review by dauinghorn

4 stars In a sea of "progressive" rock with autotuned vocals, overproduced and uninspired sounds, Lyrian stands out with a mixture of PG-era Genesis and British folklore with a lot of charme. Many nice keyboards sounds, over-the-top vocals that in my ears fits the production very well and interesting arrangements and narration. The fact that almost the whole band are librarians makes the project even more interesting. The whole story is included in the nice CD version of the album. I want more of this in Prog Rock anno 2016; Concepts and fairytales, folklore, fantasy and organic instrumentation. It is definitely included in my top 10 from this year (for now).
 The Tongues of Men and Angels by LYRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.43 | 25 ratings

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The Tongues of Men and Angels
Lyrian Crossover Prog

Review by Progulator
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Skirting the edges of classic 70′s prog and neoprog, The Tongue of Angels and Men delivers a very thoughtful journey into a theatrical world of music. What initially caught my attention about this album was heavy blend of early Crimson and Genesis with loads of theatricality and a strong bardic approach. The presentation of music and lyrics really made me feel like an intended listener, as if the band were presenting itself to me directly. John blakes jester like vocals, while far from refined, are thoroughly narrative in their sound. He comes across as a very interesting vocalist, in my opinion; his tone is thin and his voice is feelbe, but in such a way to where its got a creepy vibe and carries with it the menacing sincerity of an old man telling you a haunting and ancient truth in a dark room. In terms of the instrumental performances, Lyrian's music is not the virtuoso type at all, but they offer a pretty enjoyable prog rock palette which includes pipe organs and synthesized woodwinds, always presented in ways that obviously and unashamedly avoid anything close to a modern rock sound. In the end, Lyrian delivers an album with a sound that seeks to take you back to more ancient worlds while maintaing a sound which very, very British. While some of the instrumental sections can be a bit long winded at times without offering strong instrumental hooks or flash, the extremely enjoyable vocals and narrative make the album worth a listen. Not a masterpiece, but a solid effort.
 Nightingale Hall by LYRIAN album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.50 | 18 ratings

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Nightingale Hall
Lyrian Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Paul Nash and John Blake have been friends since their schools days and the idea of coming up with a band and their own compositions was circulating since late-70's.However this project got late some 30 years, when Blake, Nash and Nash'es life partner Alison Felstead eventually formed Lyrian in Oxfordshire, UK in 2006.It took not very long for Lyrian to compose some new and fresh material along with some re-worked lyrics and music from Nash/Blake's early days that resulted to the first album ''Nightingale Hall'', released on their own Medieval Records.

This is a concept work, that deals with the story of a country house, from its erection till' its fire distruction.Musically the band shows some love for the early GENESIS days, when both symphonic and folk elements were major part of their music.So what the listener should expect from ''Nightingale Hall'' is some well-crafted musicianship, which switches from light Symphonic Rock to acoustic British Folk with careful structures and a dreamy atmosphere.Four out of the eight compositions are over 10 minutes long and they are exactly fitting the above description.Lyrian offer a good blend of acoustic textures with a bit too melodramatic still very clear vocals along with symphonic organ-arrangements and nice electric guitar work in the vein of HACKETT and LATIMER.It is always great to see a new band alternating between mellow, romantic parts to long dramatic instrumentals with some grandiose keyboard work with such comfort.Throughout the album Lyrian manage to create a very fairytale-atmosphere, very close to the concept, what is not among the positives are only a few overstretched ideas and the sound of drums, which seems like they have been programmed.

Attractive blend of modern Symphonic and Folk Rock by a band I trully consider talented.Keep an eye on Lyrian, meanwhile their debut remains a recommended release, especially if you like atmospheric prog adventures with both softer and richer moments.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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