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Synaesthesia / Kyros - Vox Humana CD (album) cover

VOX HUMANA

Synaesthesia / Kyros

 

Crossover Prog

3.91 | 80 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Vox Humana' - Kyros (68/100)

Progressive rock has had its ups and downs over the past few decades. Although this is arguably the same for every genre of music, well, ever, you would think a style that's purportedly meant to advanced its genre forward would never run out of steam on its own. Nevertheless, as a fan for most of my life, I've seen it gain and lose traction. The last big resurgence in prog rock happened around the turn of the decade nearing 2010. Haken, The Tea Club and Leprous were relatively fresh to the scene and taking no time to blow me away. 2011 would see Leprous put out the best prog rock album of the current decade with Bilateral, as well as the last solid album for Dream Theater. Sure, it's always still been easy to look at things cynically in comparison to the 1970s, but there's always been quality material if you know where to look.

By the point of 2016, I'd say that progressive rock has arguably slumped back into its dormant state again, but it's not stopped fresh artists from playing against the times and releasing fresh prog of their own. For all it's worth, I'm pretty blown away that a band like Kyros are so young. Where most of the progressive dialogue is taken up by old giants, Kyros is making waves without leaving their early 20s. Though that detail may not be so impressive in other genres, I can't help but feel some more young blood is stepping up to take the torch for themselves.

Somewhat in the vein of Haken or even The Tea Club, Kyros follows suit with the current frontrunners by combining elements of classic progressive rock with the new. While I've always felt that the more decidedly "modern" bands like Radiohead and The Dear Hunter were more relevant to the contemporary dialogue, as a longtime fan I'm always impressed to hear old tropes (moog solos, multi-part suites etc.) brought to life again with a fresh glean. Closest to Haken than anything else I can think of, Kyros constantly teeter on that verge between rock and metal. These days I'd say that line is more blurred than ever in the context of prog, but I doubt many will notice how casually this band struts across styles. There's a ton of professionalism here and I'm consistently wowed by the level of presentation. On the other hand, I think the only time when I felt I was hearing something "new" was on "Technology Killed the Kids II", where they combine the sacred and profane by drawing it the distinctive womp of brostep into the prog melange. Although it's arguably the freshest thing that Vox Humana has going for it, it was one of the only parts I felt really didn't work in the album.

Barring that, it's pretty clear Kyros have borrowed their identity from a number of bands that imprinted themselves in the progressive dialogue a decade before. Despite the monstrous hour-and-a-half length of Vox Humana, I found it surprisingly easy to get into, and simultaneously came out of it with few distinct impressions other than: a) I enjoy it, and b) it hits every predicted note of what prog rock should be without actually progressing an inch beyond what's been done in the past. I may simply be cynical regarding the present state of prog as a whole, but it does fee l like Kyros represents the most promising good and the restrictive limitations of modern prog simultaneously. Vox Humana expresses a ton of skill and ambition without appearing to take much in the way of risks. Of course, if bombastic, ambitious prog is your thing, that Kyros haven't pushed the envelope much shouldn't matter much. For all it's worth, they've got a grasp of the genre rivaling musicians that could have been twice their age.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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