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KYROS / EX SYNAESTHESIA

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Kyros / ex Synaesthesia picture
Kyros / ex Synaesthesia biography
SYNAESTHESIA is a band from United Kingdom. The music is written by a 20 years old multi-instrumentalist Shelby Logan Warne who incorporates influences from acts such as from FROST, PORCUPINE TREE and MUSE. They have released with Mike Holmes of IQ their first self-titled CD on GEP in 2014. It's at the BRIT School of Performing Arts and Technology that Adam began experimenting with Progressive Rock. All instruments are played by Adam with the exception of guitars by Nikolas JON and Ollie HANNIFAN. The line up includes also Robin JOHNSON (drums) and Peter EPISCOPO (bass, backing vocals).

The band was the support of IQ at their 2013 Christmas Bash in De Boerderij, Holland. The music of the band combines the sounds of modern Progressive Rock with the Synth-driven styles of alternative rock with catchy riffs and plenty of experimentation.

In 2015 the band changed its name to KYROS, partly due to other bands claiming the Synaesthesia name, but mainly to underline that this was a new beginning.

:: biography provided by rdtprog ::
:: 2015 update - thanks to David (yam yam) ::

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KYROS / EX SYNAESTHESIA discography


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KYROS / EX SYNAESTHESIA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.85 | 283 ratings
Synaesthesia
2014
3.94 | 107 ratings
Vox Humana
2016
3.85 | 55 ratings
Celexa Dreams
2020
2.89 | 9 ratings
Recover
2021
4.20 | 34 ratings
Mannequin
2024

KYROS / EX SYNAESTHESIA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

KYROS / EX SYNAESTHESIA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

KYROS / EX SYNAESTHESIA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Celexa Streams
2021

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

3.25 | 4 ratings
Beta
2015
4.33 | 3 ratings
Cloudburst
2016
4.40 | 5 ratings
Monster
2017
4.50 | 2 ratings
Rumour
2020
4.67 | 3 ratings
Four of Fear
2020
3.92 | 4 ratings
The End in Mind
2023
3.50 | 2 ratings
Illusions Inside
2023
3.00 | 1 ratings
Ghosts of You
2023
4.00 | 2 ratings
Esoterica
2023

KYROS / EX SYNAESTHESIA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mannequin by KYROS / EX SYNAESTHESIA album cover Studio Album, 2024
4.20 | 34 ratings

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Mannequin
Kyros / ex Synaesthesia Crossover Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
Prog Reviewer

5 stars It is always nice finding a release from a group you have never heard of, and not only enjoying it, but fully loving its thrill. I am always on the search for new music, and most often than not like what I listen to. Both old and new music resonates within my ears very well, and I can at times develop a small obsession with a record or a particular track. However, on rare occasions, I will be flat out head over heels for an album that I end up loving so much that I fully resonate it being a flat out masterpiece. Lately, that album that has become addictive for my young ears is Kyros' Mannequin.

Kyros has become a new joy for me this year, likewise with Dir En Grey and David Sylvian. Spearheaded by Shelby Warne, they have become a little known, but still very praised English modern prog group ever since their debut of Synaesthesia. I recently binged the band, and it is honestly so fun to hear how each release of theirs is very high in quality. Even their cover album of RECOVER is a joy to hear. However, I think Mannequin is where the band has truly peaked.

Maybe it is recency bias, but this record is just immaculate. Ever since Celexa Dreams the band has taken a page from It Bites' book on making synthy, prog rock music, similar in a vein to the early neo-prog scene of the 80s. However, they fit things in a more modern soundscape, and cranking the whole 80s inspired pop sounds to an eleven, making music that feels like a mix between Sparks' № 1 in Heaven, IQ's Tales From the Lush Attic, and Kate Bush's Hounds Of Love. I am probably one of the bigger advocates of pop within prog music, so having all these sounds that radiate an energy similar to the big hits of the 80s is like candy for my ears.

Yet the 80s inspiration does not feel forced and overly commercial. Mark my words, this is nothing like Simulation Theory or Forbidden Desires where the synths feel bland and the music feels overly commercial. Nah, we get tracks that can nearly reach the 8 minute mark, with elements of metal creeping in, and more alternative aspects going into full force. I doubt you'll hear something like Technology Killed the Kids IV on the radio.

I can even extend further on the music itself, as the elements stated before, the prog rock, the synthpop, and the metal all surprisingly mesh so well on here that the first time I heard this album it felt like I was a caveman discovering fire for the first time. When I first heard the more djenty section on The End in Mind, it was so crazy and a little scary, but it just flowed so well in the song that, while it caught me off guard, felt so natural. The End in Mind in general is my favorite track off here. The energy of it is so lively and fun that whenever it plays I just cannot help but bop along to it.

Oh but the real highlight here is Shelby's voice. She always had pretty great vocals work on previous albums, but I think after she transitioned did her voice really become masterful. She just sounds so happy, that I just cannot help but have a smile on my face whenever I hear one of the songs off this album. I even find myself singing along on occasion. Seriously fun stuff. Though as such, I think maybe the only quote on quote "bad" songs here has to be Showtime and Digital Fear, but they do not weigh down the album at all even without Shelby's amazing voice due to them still being highly enjoyable.

A little late for this album, but even still I think it is a highlight of this year's spectrum of music, right next to Charcoal Grace. It's fun, lively, poppy, progressive, and everything you can hope for in a modern day escapade. You won't regret checking this one out if you love prog music, I can assure you that.

Best tracks: Illusions Inside, The End in Mind, Liminal Space, Technology Killed the Kids IV

Least best tracks: Showtime, Digital Fear

 Mannequin by KYROS / EX SYNAESTHESIA album cover Studio Album, 2024
4.20 | 34 ratings

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Mannequin
Kyros / ex Synaesthesia Crossover Prog

Review by David_ProgCritique

4 stars If you're familiar with the 80s and 90s, some of the sounds in 'Mannequin' should sound familiar. Indeed, the British group Kyros has chosen to draw on synthetic sounds which were legion in those years, and to mix them with progressive rock with a more contemporary touch. We will also find other genres in this abundant and intriguing disc, but the whole maintains a coherence based on solid writing and high-end production.

I sold you some 80s synths...it's a failure on "Taste the Day" , a little melodic sweetness with an acoustic ambiance, which doesn't at all predict what's to come. And from "Showtime", we are there: synthesizers, bass, percussion, brass, etc? an impressive instrumental demonstration of the group's abilities to play complex music but which does not forget the melody. This title would have worked perfectly as theme music for an American series from the 80s like "Miami Vice".

Listen to this drum sound full of reverb that opens "Illusions Inside", I find a taste of "Drive", the hit by The Cars . And the rest of the title remains in this slightly nostalgic 80s vein served by synthesizer sounds, bass shots or very fitting choirs. We push the cursor again with the extraordinary "Esoterica" which is bathed in electronic madness supported by a very "straight" Rock rhythm. The beginning made me think (I will certainly be the only one to have this reference) of the crazy 80s electro punk of Sigue Sigue Sputnik . The title then develops on a "Genesis-ien" type terrain until leading to a pop/dance chorus worthy of the greatest hits of the 90s. It is constantly changing, whether in terms of sounds, rhythms or tones, but always falls back on these legs for a piece that is ultimately quite accessible.

What if Stock , Aitken and Waterman, rather than churning out sound mush on hits, had started a Progressive Rock band? Well it might ultimately have sounded like "The End in Mind", whose instrumental complexity (this bridge?) contrasts with the apparent simplicity of its vocal melody.

Return to instrumental music on "Digital Fear" which evokes Blockbuster Original Soundtracks from the 80s like "Blade Runner", and takes the form of a tribute to Vangelis .

A little leap in time with "Ghosts of You" which takes us to the end of the 80s, beginning of the 90s when the music scene was dominated by New Jack Swing sounds. The title is embellished with a Rock solo of the most beautiful effect, and can even recall Prince 's New Power Generation at certain moments.

The synths are largely out on "Liminal Space", again a 1986 hit released in 2024, on which we also find unexpected brass parts.

As in each of their previous albums, there is "Technology Killed the Kids". The "IV" this time, epic of more than 7 minutes which constantly varies the atmospheres. The most Proggy track on the record (along with the next one), fascinating to listen to, but impossible to describe... Of substantially similar duration, the last track "Have Hope" displays the same ambition: complex rhythms, fiery solos, demonstrations of instrumental mastery, refined melodies, for a result that is not immediately accessible but impressive.

In the same vein as what Voyager proposed with 'Fearless in Love' a few months ago, namely the successful marriage of synthetic pop and progressive metal, Kyros skillfully integrates Synth Pop elements very marked 80s to its Progressive Rock of an ambitious nature. The result at times evokes Yes , Frost* , Depeche Mode , Haken or Rush to name just a few groups, and more generally a whole section of popular music from the 80s, a period during which the synthesizer dictated its law. In the end, 'Mannequin' constitutes one of the nice surprises of the start of 2024, which will hopefully see many more.

Review originally posted on www.progcritique.com.

 Mannequin by KYROS / EX SYNAESTHESIA album cover Studio Album, 2024
4.20 | 34 ratings

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Mannequin
Kyros / ex Synaesthesia Crossover Prog

Review by BBKron

4 stars Kyros, a UK progressive pop band, lead by the vocals and keyboards of Shelby Logan Warner, has embraced 80's style synth-pop on this, their 5th album. But this is synthpop re-imagined from a decidedly bold progressive rock perspective, for a style that sounds new, but is also quite familiar as well. Very catchy beats and melodies collide with edgy vocals and prog flourishes throughout. Starting off with a more gentle acoustic pop song (Taste the Day), the album moves to an energetic synthpop instrumental (Showtime) before the main features and core of the album take hold, an impressive display of progressive synthpop brilliance for the next 6 songs. Unfortunately, the album falters on the final 2 tracks, when the band goes much darker and heavier (more prog metal) on Technology Killed the Kids IV, which apparently is a continuing series from previous albums, but which does not fit or work at all here, and completely ruins the vibe and feel of the album. The final track, Have Hope, is hyperactive and disjointed, and although has some nice moments, is too much of a chaotic mess. Up until those final 2 tracks, this is a really great album, but have to downgrade it due to the poor finish. Best Tracks: Esoterica, Illusions Inside, The End in Mind, Ghosts of You, Liminal Space, Digital Fear. Rating: 3.5 stars
 Mannequin by KYROS / EX SYNAESTHESIA album cover Studio Album, 2024
4.20 | 34 ratings

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Mannequin
Kyros / ex Synaesthesia Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

5 stars KYROS mixing the sound of IQ, ARENA, PORCUPINE TREE with alternative and synths for the spiritual descendants of SIMPLE MINDS, OMD, DURAN DURAN, MUSE, Steve WILSON and PURE REASON REVOLUTION.

"Taste the Day" begins acoustically, an innocent nursery rhyme base with synth buzzing in the background, opening before the segue "Showtime" launching an energetic synth-pop-rock sound; DURAN DURAN, funky trumpet in the background, cinematic of a video console game, all on a swirling melodic instrumental that sets fire. "Illusions Inside" for the first track and powerful hard synth-rock sound; singer Dominique Gilbert gives the vocal charm with Shelby on this musical structure; the new wave sound of the 80s enhanced with a powerful groove, the reverberating synth reminiscent of SIMPLE MINDS, the riff of NINE INCH NAILS, PRODIGY. "Esoterica" continues, the best thing about the album is the concept; a flashy sound on 'The Invisible Man' by QUEEN, the tune takes on a lascivious nightclub atmosphere where bodies bob; a hint of PURE REASON REVOLUTION, a lively piece with well-arranged vocals, a crazy gem to dance without moderation; Canyo's airy sax touch is striking, future electronic-rock-pop-prog that doesn't bother with vintage prog markers. The funk riff is delightful and the ending is perfectly progressive. "The End in Mind" changes tone with a light air rising over frenzied drums; energy, a heavy riff, a bursting break with bass synths, burlesque madness one moment and gripping melody the next; on the verge of a symphonic disco djent with an invasive groove; another ambient break on a synthetic DREAM THEATER where Jordan would have taken John's place. Back after this crazy moment to the surfing tune of MUSE, to try to explain that creation is important.

"Digital Fear" continues, ah this pleasure of stuck titles; the John Carpenter-style instrumental, a space heroic- fantasy moment with digital sound, on the cinematography of 'Blade Runner', in fact eyeing VANGELIS until the final NASA voice. "Ghosts of You" but what is PRINCE doing here? A fruity funky pop air, a hint of EARTH, WIND & FIRE, Phil COLLINS for the danceable, confusing piece, don't they go too far? The break starts with Michael JACKSON with Eddie's solo, a 90's sound, diversified to the end so you always have to listen. Segueing into "Liminal Space" which is stunning from the start with its title indicating an uncertain space of transition; jewel title pushing the proguous and administering the new sound in his face; an airy trumpet, brass, where are we going, but in today's dazzling synth prog; reek of SIMPLE MINDS, MUSE for a captivating musical alchemy; the radio edit title which clears up our preconceived ideas about what current prog is. "Technology Killed the Kids IV" robotic intro, cool vocals; the linking title on each album takes the listener to the uncontrolled land of prog; a thunderous chorus, melodic synths, lit drums, a swirling, inventive and immensely progressive track; the TOWNSEND-style riff with the musical wall; the latent heavy doom break, a Japanese note, overboosted prog metal, extreme, without boredom; the finale, this choppy sound, reminiscent of stuck K7 tapes losing their soul, a delight. "Have Hope" concert hall synth intro! A melody that slips with the incursion of an extreme heavy sound; the dichotomy is blatant and plays on the fusion of genres between complex rhythm and various explosions, devastating solos and intense orchestration. Orgasmic musical chaos. "Esoterica" in radio edit for the pleasure of dancing to prog, where the sounds remind me of boosted YES from the 80s.

KYROS plays maximalist prog synth-pop rock, vacillating between ELP at the start, YES, RUSH, FROST*, HAKEN, VOYAGER recently and new-wave groups such as DURAN DURAN, INXS, SIMPLE MINDS, DEPECHE MODE and PRODIGY with hints of Devin TOWNSEND for the fury, others for FRANKIE GOES if they had continued, still others for the synthetic alternative.(4.5)

 The End in Mind by KYROS / EX SYNAESTHESIA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2023
3.92 | 4 ratings

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The End in Mind
Kyros / ex Synaesthesia Crossover Prog

Review by sepia_blob

4 stars The End in Mind is the latest single by a modern UK band Kyros, that is: Shelby Logan Warne on vocals, keyboards, Robin Johnson on drums & percussion, Peter Episcopo adding bass and some vocals and last but not least Joey Frevola on guitars. It is also the first music by the band in three years. Containing only one song, the total length of this EP is 7:52. The End in Mind is a relatively short ride (by prog world standards) into different places. The verses have that quirky feel to them especially with sparse xylophone addition, the vocals are quite poppy but catchy (or trying to be). The heavy part is introduced to us at two and a half minutes and from there onwards, it is a contrast to everything before in this song. It showcases the playing ability of the band, with those heavy sounding bass passages and hard hitting guitar riffs with synth pattern dominating in the quieter parts here and there. At five minute mark we return to the main theme of the song (a bit modified this time), almost 30 seconds later we get a guiar solo, played fast. Near the 6 minute mark we once again return to the verse. The vocal writing is fun. The heavy part is brought again near the 7 minute mark and stays till the end of the song. Is that some sort of a teaser for another song in the last 10 seconds of the track?

Overall, The End in Mind (7,5/10) is a good indicator of a new creative period for Kyros. The experimentation in the pop prog sphere is obvious. Personally, I'm not a big fan of the poppier side of prog, but I understand band's choice. It shows ambitions and capability to change the approach to writing music, develop their skills, expand their fanbase-audience.

However, experiments can be unsuccessful... Anyways, time will tell whether the band made the right decision.

 Celexa Dreams by KYROS / EX SYNAESTHESIA album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.85 | 55 ratings

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Celexa Dreams
Kyros / ex Synaesthesia Crossover Prog

Review by altered_beast

4 stars Prog Wave? Fantastic album! If you are a fan of Tears for Fears this album is a no brainer. One of the best Progressive Rock/New Wave hybrids I can think of that is not a Tears for Fears album. What's most surprising is this is 2020 and emulates the 80's perfectly only with a Progressive Metal surge in the guitar work. Lots of deja vu moments as this album will remind you of everything from Peter Gabriel & Genesis, to Duran Duran and The Fixx or something of that sort.

In Motion, Rumor, In Vantablack, Phosphene, & Sentry all being tracks that emulate 70's driven Progressive Rock and 80's New Wave mixed in a soup. In Vantablack being the most impressive track of all.

In Vantablack being an unpredictable epic roller coaster. You get Prog, Wave, and Metal going back and forth. You won't hear a song like this on any other album. This song alone may be the price of admission.

Having grown up in the 80's and having listened to many albums that tried to do something similar to this I am blown away by what this album accomplishes. Sure there were Prog albums with New Wave in it. Saga, King Crimson, & Twelfth Night come to mind. Even Rush to a much lesser extent. New Wave acts who had albums with strong Prog influences Simple Minds(early), Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark(early), Japan, Talk Talk, China Crisis, The Cure, etc. Roxy Music helped pioneered both genres. Tears for Fears being one of the most successful and prominent Progressive Pop bands to ever walk the earth. I think this album is the best Prog Wave album Tears for Fears never did.

Definitely not for purists. Many Prog fans actually prefer this over 80's Neo-Prog while others the complete opposite. To each their own I guess. This was one of my favorite albums of 2020 and I definitely never expected to hear anything like this ever again unless it was a Tears for Fears reunion.

 Celexa Dreams by KYROS / EX SYNAESTHESIA album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.85 | 55 ratings

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Celexa Dreams
Kyros / ex Synaesthesia Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

5 stars KYROS is a group born under the 1st name of SYNAESTHESIA with Adam WARNE at the helm; a gifted young man who mixed musical structures from IQ, FROST, ARENA and above all from PORCUPINE TREE. He combined modern alternative sound with forward synths until he changed his name to KYROS (revival plus other bands claiming the name!) Bringing more experimental sounds, from the alternative avant-garde in my opinion, based mostly on energetic riffs mounted on a prog new wave rock base; a kind of creative breeding ground with atmospheres smelling good 80's pop on progressive drifts, a dream of imagining SIMPLE MINDS, DURAN DURAN or ORCHESTRAL MANEUVRES IN THE DARK getting into prog in their time; from MUSE and Steve WILSON in the background. A rather radical change which may put off some fans of the dino-prog genre because the sound here is much more modern and playful. This album is the 3rd CD, the 6th if you count their EPs and singles. The title speaks of course about this little miracle molecule supposed to treat depression.

'In Motion' opens the way with a pop-prog-new wave track from the 80's; a dancey and funky borderline track with keyboards and bass forward, the percussions completing the fire; electronics are put on the pedestal and one wonders which band we are listening to; It's confusing and the solo sax finishes us off until a very SIMPLE MINDS comeback in fact even from DURAN DURAN. 'Rumor' starts from the same very dancing, energetic bases and also with very strong sounds, especially at the percussion level; the chorus hooks immediately, the keyboards become airy, clear, crystalline, Adam's voice syncopated which can put you in a trance; I find here that KYRIOS allows itself to explore even more danceable sounds than what LEPROUS has dared to do recently, but much better personally than the mistakes of NO-MAN. 'In Vantablack' tumbles with one of the two flagship songs more than 10 minutes away: we are irremediably far from SYNAESTHESIA who flirted with PORCUPINE TREE, ARENA or IQ; here the atmosphere is much more cheerful, lively and less introspective; this title takes you on the road with the whole group and the relentless progenitors of the origins can only be amazed by the gradual drift that this title transpires; a few touches of FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD or her son over there, the synth-trumpet that asks you questions, a low limit disco, then a mid-term drift that becomes pornstar, crazy, intoxicating, which makes your hair stand on end of your hair (I hope you still have some !!), in any case this drift is purely orgasmic and asks only to be listened to as soon as it ends; the final fits more into a neo-prog concept with piano and soft voice which reminds me of certain melodies typical of GENESIS there; the final return is more symphonic and raises questions about the direction of the group which has just released one of the most beautiful pieces of the year 2020, bluffing and astonishing! 'Ghost Kids' for a chained interlude, one of the strengths of this extraordinary group, and a sidereal atmosphere followed by a guitar solo from elsewhere, and we continue on 'Phosphene', a slow ballad which rises in crescendo with voice forward, a step forward to reconcile, a trompe l'oeil title filled with musicality, heavy, dense and overwhelming; a title that allows you to rest your ears without getting lost.

'Technology Killed The Kids III' a sequel to 'Vox Humana ', also chained, a plus for this album and for the group, which makes you dream of listening on stage, SF track at the start, calmer track, intimist alerting on the dangers and abuses of the web; a sudden musical rise with heavy riffs which suddenly reminds me of certain titles of the master ZAPPA, a few notes of NINE INCH NAILS even, a little more hard XTC with this well-chiseled chorus, a little even of GENESIS 'Duke' or 'Abacab', the end becomes spellbinding with a machine gun riff which denotes and makes you forget the rhyme imagined at the beginning. An occasional explosion of heaviness, creativity and unpredictability I read somewhere, that's it. 'Sentry' arrives with an ethereal, airy track, mixed voice, heavy rhythm but definitely pop, a bit of RUSH that we have forgotten too much as a progressive flagship group, HAKEN of course in its prog drifts and a lot of fruity notes VOYAGER, melodic prog-metal surfing on TOTO, DEPECHE MODE and ETERNITY X, even also a few touches of OCEANSIZE, electro-pop-prog all that! 'Two Frames Of Panic' leaves him on a purely Bellamyian sound with MUSE right in the ears! The style also draws some notes on the QUEEN rock opera which in fact prolongs the resemblance, the instruments are put forward with always this debauchery of rhythms syncopated a little in the final genre of fireworks.

'UNO Attack' continues on the same line with forward synths then incisive guitar limit djent at times; my god what sound anyway; here a frenzied instrumental track which synthesizes even more everything that may have been created in recent decades, in fact I would even say distill instead of synthesizing because we have here the best in concentrate, so it is no longer a simulated university or a bis-repetita from another group, or even a fusion, just a musical distillation to give music of the gods. 'Her Song Is Mine' ends the album with a romantic and nostalgic piano ballad, a voice out of context, an end of film title, er end of CD or digital album, both soft and ready to go in more explosive regions; a title which brings us back to the concept album, a song which can remind a little of the end of the film 'Brazil' with its innocent little ballad; a title taken apart which denotes but which here puts the PROG in the spotlight for the musical opening, just go for the last souvenir on a little JAPAN to make you think, just before the very pompous and airy final chorus. Please note the following silence also comes from the album!

KYROS extends its musical ranges and no longer offers only memories of groups in which we were able to bathe, he composed here an impressive innovative sound synthesizing and distilling the substantive musical marrow. An exciting experience with new music which adds to prog in general another drawer, that of electro-pop-new wave- prog. Sound that may remind you of RUSH, GENESIS, KINO, SIMPLE MINDS or DEPECHE MODE, passing by Steve WILSON or MUSE, it's still amazing. This openness can only be applauded even if I deeply regret the sound of SYNAESTHESIA. Finally, this album after deciphering may simply be one of the best releases of the year, no matter what because this synth-pop synthesis brings a new prog drawer into the ever-growing world of PROG.

 Vox Humana by KYROS / EX SYNAESTHESIA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.94 | 107 ratings

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Vox Humana
Kyros / ex Synaesthesia Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Kyros is the emancipation of Synaesthesia, a tour de force debut from prog wunderkind Adam Warne that simply shook the foundations back in 2014 when the album was released, garnering both adulation and high marks for an artist barely 20 years old at the time. Great vocalist, songwriter and keyboardist, Adam provides a modern as well as retro sound to the music he writes and that first album was easily one of the finest in recent memory. While basically mostly Warne on all instruments and a crew of session players to fill in the gaps, the decision was made to incorporate those guests, drummer Robin Johnson, bassist Pete Episcopo and guitarist Sam Higgins into a full-band effort, adding Joey Frevola on guitar as well. Thus, Kyros is a way more guitar-centric vision, though still quite keyboard-led but fully reliant on bombastic melodies, huge arrangements and shimmering appeal. No soft ballads here, my friends. Adam's voice has also grown into an ability to modulate according to the needs of the piece, a most welcome progression. 'Vox Humana' is a splendid 2 CD masterpiece that proves to be a violent upgrade on the previous experience, a bruising ride set off by the turbo-charge ignition of the 30 second title track, leading into the pulsating 'Technology Killed the Kids', an extended reworking of an instrumental track found on Synaesthesia, that now gets the full song treatment, a very cool concept about how modern equipment can actually be detrimental, or just outright mental. The beefy twin guitar attack makes one shrivel in abject fear, swerving from spooky (the menacing bass ramblings) to angrily despondent, garnished with choppy riffs, shaking synths and tectonic drumming from the incredible Robin Johnson. Warne sings with raging abandon, making this quite a revelation, offering dynamics, melodic disposition and immediate charm.

'Cloudburst' is the maxi-single and while much more immediate than previous and upcoming material, it has a huge cinematic quality, a chorus to die for and some earthshaking instrumentation. The style is closer to accessible crossover prog acts like Frost* or It Bites to be sure, certainly appealing but nevertheless intricately made. Things get decidedly proggy on the sensational 'Persistence of Vision' which has a classic soft/hard dynamic made famous by bands such Porcupine Tree, rhythmically calculating and endlessly exciting to say the least. When the mood gets heavy, the sulphurous guitars sizzle like molten lava, the keyboards roam like the wind, as both the bass and drums keep everything firmly encased in rhythmic governance.

With a title like 'The Lamb, the Badger and the Bee', don't expect a pop song about frivolous subjects, quite the contrary. This mellotron/synth heavy affair is volcanic, aggressive and guitar pounded into submission, turning on a dime with dense variations, fixating on obsessive details, flicks of wrists and switches. The immediate drum work is quite impressive as well as the huge central melody sung with apathetic zeal from the intricate Mr Warne. Poly- harmonic singing reminds us that someone must have listened to Gentle Giant and decide to add a little snippet of vocal folly.

The bass-propelled 'New Paradigm' instils more bombast, as if that was possible, with towering synth/mellotron expanses, carved by heavy guitar riffs and an avalanche beat. The vocal is pained and sorrowful, desperation in the air, rage barely scratching the surface and assured delirium ahead. The choir work is stunning in intensity and placement, making Adam shed a tear or two, lips trembling and heart bleeding. A bold mid-section that has a vocal and an electronic beat , more like Depeche gone Mode, completely surprising and unexpected. A nearly 9 minute epic, this is another highlight among many highlights on the first CD.

Maintaining the manic pace on disc 2 , the 'Mind Electric' rekindles frozen images of mechanical spirits, dangling soundtrack-ish images that shake the foundations, as Warne feels suddenly 'confined and confused', looking to 'unlock your mind' with a uber-high pitched vocal snippet before the monstrous onslaught slams through the speakers. Hydra-drumming and gangland guitar slashes combine to influence the hysterical vocal, frenzy and panic clasping hands in sheer fear. Nasty and futuristic. Sign of the times?

As if a brief antidote of sorts, a slick and highly melodic guitar solo comes to reassure and relax, before evolving into a playfully complex entourage of sound and purpose, 'Speak to Me' has pizzicato strings, soaring bass lines (Pete is quite talented) and shearing drum blasts. The almost classic synth chorale is pure symphonic prog and adds a lot to the creative vision of the band.

Adam seems to like the word 'persistence' (see above) as he now offers up 'Persistence of Perfection', a phenomenal track with a melody that will drop you to your knees in abject submission. Big, bad and beautiful in every single way, the arrangement offers a colossal beat, immediate beauty, winks of insanity, slippery synth warbles and a sense of incredible resolve. Wow! This feeling is maintained on the ensuing powerhouse 'Monster' , which simply shuttles the musical earthquake further, displaying some intricate guitar shavings that explode all over the room. The voice is synthesized to add cruelty and gore, hushed voices kneeling in full distress, as Adam states 'you are a monster'. Gulp!

Finally, some respite after an hour of explosive tunes that seemed at one point relentless and eternal, the lovely 'Hounds' certainly starts out all pastoral and serene, yet with a sense of foreboding and imminent danger, as if Adam is playing with your senses (his art and passion, seemingly). He hits a high note and then everything goes tornado, swizzle stick guitars and lemon synthesizer zests fool around with odd-ball electro drums. Macabre and gloomy as if some na've nightmare set to carnival music, 'The Darkness Grove' acknowledges a sense of guilt and menace that permeates the entire disc. Cemetery pealing of bells, echoing synthesized specters, radio hisses and a voice from beyond the pale.

A kaleidoscope of chaos, 'Boiling Point' is aptly titled, as its sheer sonic mayhem. Hysterical, oblique, slightly deranged, barely disguising a rant from a person who has crossed the Rubicon and entered the human asylum unwittingly. 'Deadly poison I can feel' he intones. Twilight zone and outer limits all rolled in one, the middle section unfazed and serene but only briefly before machine gunning drums salvo skywards like an ack ack gun gone haywire. More punishment comes with 'Ego', a 'me/myself and I, rant that streaks like a grating muffler on a freshly paved autobahn. Strong Steve Wilson feel here, a deeply psychotic, internalized and spooky mirror that is cracking or perhaps even already fissured.

No brakes on this baby, 'Dilate' keeps the foot on the metal pedal, adding huge swirls of bombast that would make Ayreon proud, an 8 minute epic ride that slips into more symphonic territory, armed with a glorious chorus and offers up a supreme guitar slice that is truly majestic and heartfelt. Adam once again shows off a voice that has matured immensely since the debut and is first class here and elsewhere on the disc.

This album is a heavy, unrelenting, manic and desperate bulldozer that smashes boldly forward, listeners beware! Very little respite and certainly no surrender, I was truly tired after listening to the whole thing, as there are very few down-tempo moments here to be found. Straight ahead heavy prog all the way through with occasional curtsies. I am still enamored with the debut but soon I might just be equally impressed with this. It needs a few more spins, in my view, to really sink in.

4.5 choir beings

 Vox Humana by KYROS / EX SYNAESTHESIA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.94 | 107 ratings

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Vox Humana
Kyros / ex Synaesthesia Crossover Prog

Review by bl6464

5 stars I usually don't write reviews, mainly due to lack of time. In this case, it is worth dedicating some time to highlight the extraordinary work of these prog millennials (which I thought was an extinct species :) ). I also learned this morning that writing reviews has an effect on the overall rating, so I am putting my 2 cents to inform this community of an extraordinary event.

This is by far the best prog album I have listened to in 2016, and arguably the best new prog band since IQ. In my opinion, It is the textbook definition of what a prog rock album should sound like. An incredible collection of beautiful melodies, carefully harmonized and constantly progressing to keep the creativity flowing throughout the album, avoiding being repetitive. Lots of keyboards, reinforced by great guitar, voices and excellent instrumentation. CD2 is the closest to Misplaced Childhood Side A that I have heard. One long beautiful song with all kind of musical variations and a spectacular finale.

Kyros (Previously Synaesthesia) is a new breed of prog rock. Hard to place into one category, I tend to associate much more with Neo-Prog bands like Marillion, IQ, Pallas, Pendragon, DeeExpus, Twelfth Night among others, however keeping their own personality and versatility of sounds. Definitely not Crossover as described on the header.

Vox Humana is an incredible musical achievement. CD1 has excellent songs as Cloudburst and Persistence of Vision. However, CD2 is much stronger and balanced. It is about an artificial human created by a scientific and all the implications of messing with human creation. The experiment goes out of control and the humanoid turns into a monster. The music and voices tell the story magnificently with several peaks and valleys emphasizing different elements of the script. First part of the album starts slow, building momentum from the beginning (Mind Electric) brilliantly transitioned to Speak to Me showing a phenomenal talent in keyboards and paving the path to Persistence of Perfection. After Monster, it transitions into a slower mood only to progressively grow to the last part of the album with Ego and Dilate, fully energized with an epic finale incorporating great keyboards and a superb guitar solo.

If you like IQ, Marillion (OLD) and other Neo-Prog bands in general, Vox Humana is a must in your collection. This is one of few albums that I place in the same league as Selling England, Subterranea, The Wake, Misplaced Childhood, The Wall, and Close to the Edge, just to give you an idea.

 Vox Humana by KYROS / EX SYNAESTHESIA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.94 | 107 ratings

BUY
Vox Humana
Kyros / ex Synaesthesia Crossover Prog

Review by 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.

Thanks to kev rowland for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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