Three years after the release of Gone Through Years (2013, see review) Cyril found the time to work on the successor of their glorious debut. With band members like Marek Arnold, who is involved in many successful acts like Toxic Smile, Seven Steps To The Green Door, Flaming Row and UPF, it seems not more than a miracle that he found the time to work on a new Cyril album. During these three years, the band's line-up remained, the aforementioned Marek on keyboards, sax and clarinet, his partner in crime of Toxic Smile fame; the absolutely fabulous vocalist Larry Brödel, guitar player Ralf Dietsch, bass player Denis Strassburg and drummer Clemens Litschko. One of the bands Marek Arnold also participates in from 2010 to 2012, is Stern Combo Meissen, a very successful German band with their roots in the late seventies. Their vocalist Manuel Schmid could already be heard on Cyril's debut and while working on Schmid's solo album the idea of becoming a permanent Cyril member was opted. The result is that Cyril has two fine voices to bring their music to life.
After the concept of HG Wells Time Machine, that was brought on Gone Through Years, this time the songs don't have a concept, but tell their story individually. UPF partner Guy Manning has been asked to write lyrics for a number of songs, resulting in a more melancholic touch than the previous CD. Paralyzed first song Scarlet Walking immediately shows how both vocalists perfectly blend together. This close to eight minutes composition shows what a smooth progressive rock song should sound like. Besides the mentioned vocalists, the use of the acoustic guitar has become more prominent and the combination of the electric guitar solo and keyboards works into perfection. An impressive start for Paralyzed. The title track is next, Larry B. really shines on this melodic progrocker, his signature voice is one I absolutely adore. Especially during the smoother parts of the song his voice touches me deeply, a nice melodic guitar/keyboards part take the song to the end. Remember Me is an over ten minutes composition, bringing symphonic as well as jazz rock elements to the scene, although the vocals are amazing again, here jazzy sound of the clarinet fuses with powerful guitars and soaring keyboards, creating one of the heaviest compositions on the album. Rainbow on the other hand is acoustically based, with a classical guitar, piano and delicate percussion. Ralph's darker vocals are in the lead on this strong composition. Variation is one of the keywords when you listen to the album, with Faded Snapshots, atmospheric elements are added; long stretched sounds from Marek's keyboards are the base for this song, his clarinet parts lead to a section that has some similarities with Supertramp. The shortest song on the album Peal Of Thunder absolutely has potential to get some airplay. This is a more accessible composition, with strong vocal parts, catchy melodies and a smooth sax underneath. La piece de resistance is the final track; Secret Place Pt. 1, an eighteen and a half minute epic that will have some kind of continuation on a future Cyril album. Part One sees a long intro, a kind of soundscape that gently transforms in a vocal section. Part One highlights the acoustic guitar again, in combination with piano and subtle electric guitars. Due to the vocals and instrumentation on this song, a band like Yes must have been of influence on this final chapter of the album.
Although I am quite a fan of one of the aforementioned vocalists, Paralyzed leaves me in doubt a bit; the vocal orientated parts are absolutely amazing, but the long instrumental parts could use some kind of extra power. I guess I just wanted to hear some additional heavy guitars. Nevertheless this album; Paralyzed is a great album that blends melodic progressive rock with symphonic rock; Yes, Marillion and adds some jazzy elements as well.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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