The Way Through is the third release of German melodic progressive rockers Cyril. After two already impressive albums; Gone Through Years (2013, see review) and Paralyzed (2016, see review) Cyril proceed with another complex story. This time about a patient in intensive care, living between life and death. Like the previous album, Guy Manning wrote the story. The band itself remains intact with Marek Arnold as keyboard and sax player, Ralf Dietsch as guitarist, Dennis Strassburg as their bass man and Clemens Litschko as drummer. Larry B. returns as their lead vocalist and guest on previous albums; Manuel Schmid was added to the band's line-up as second vocalist and keyboard player. Spoken words on the album are by the mentioned Guy Manning and Martin Schnella guests as guitar player, Robert Brenner adds a fretless bass solo. Last to be mentioned is Andrea Strassburg, who is responsible for the female vocals on the album.
Musically Cyril blends progressive rock with art rock and adds delicate elements of jazz and pop into a very tasteful and catchy result. More than on previous albums, the combination of voices excels in their harmonies. For me, Larry B. was and remains one of the most interesting voices from the German scene and his voice in combination with both Manuel as well as Andrea sounds quite amazing. This combination immediately sets the standard with the opener The Gate, a fine progressive song with strong keyboard parts and a catchy melody. During the following My Own Reflection, the vocals are even more intensified and remind me of the wonderful harmonics of Shadow Gallery. Mark Arnold shines with a clarinet solo, which is played over a solid drum playing, which is perfectly placed in the album's mix. The great piano parts perfectly suit the song, creating a smooth and relaxed atmosphere. During the two longest compositions on the album; First Love and Get Up High I notice that like the previous track, how dominant the drum patterns are. Mostly the drums are tucked away under a blanket of sound, but due to the fine mix, the drums are very noticeable, without being too far front in the mix; well done. Especially Get Up High is a wonderful track, the second part of the song has a beautiful, technical instrumental break, which balances the whole bass/ piano driven composition. A Sign On The Road is a wonderful minimalistic composition, highlighting emotional vocal parts. In The Wasteland - Home Again, Cyril returns to the catchy progressiveness, but still holds on to delicate technical parts to weigh as a counterpart for the accessible elements, perfectly balancing the song. The final track on the album; The Way Through? Is an (almost) instrumental. This atmospheric composition is the smooth end of the album, in a way I was waiting for the grand finale to kick on, but I guess the spoken words are doing justice to the album's story. The Way Through? is nice, but not what I expected the album to end with.
Cyril have returned to the scene after three years with a worthy successor for Paralyzed. The vocals have gained on depth and the harmonics are quite amazing. Both Marek as well as Manuel share a fair part of the prominent keyboard parts, which together with Marek's sax playing define Cyril's sound. All in all, another solid, melodic progressive rock album with wonderful vocals.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Dave Smith)
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