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Numen - Cyclothymia CD (album) cover

CYCLOTHYMIA

Numen

 

Neo-Prog

3.88 | 77 ratings

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Numaios
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.

Numaios | 5/5 |

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