Cyrax - Pictures

Cyrax Pictures cover
Bakerteam Records
Cyrax – (I wonder if they picked the name from the Mortal Kombat android ninja) are an Italian quintet (what the hell happened to quintets and sextets, the last 5 or six bands that I reviewed were all quintets?!) who seem to be indulging in a very eclectic and quite artistic form of metal, based on classic forms, with fairly high pitched vocals, but bearing a lot of prog and even some classical influences. There are small musical interludes on pianos, cello sounds, chants, small choirs and their singer Marco Cantoni, seems inclined to launch into vocal acrobatics, every now and again, managing to do so rather successfully, as he gracefully slides back and forth from some scorching vitriolic highs, to some more melodic parts. He really has a twisted, sick tone, slightly reminiscent of King Diamond, or a less extreme Kelly Sundown Carpenter. Even the fact, that he has a traceable, Italian accent, which thankfully is not too heavy so as to become annoying, is used, to the advantage of the vocal sound, adding character, instead of being detrimental.
The music of the band is really distinctive, too, with many different rhythmical changes and really interesting ideas. Various guest musicians like Antonio Pecere (Crimson Dawn), Viola Barinotti (Ghost Opera) and Lorenzo Beltrami (The Templar’s Sword) lend their aid, so as to make the album even more variable and that task is quite achieved. The opener “Cyrax” may have some pretty toe curling lyrics and over the top, vocal moments, but is quite catchy and interesting, for anyone who hasn’t experienced the band’s music previously. The “7th Seal” that follows, continues in the same path, but adds symphonic touches, ending up to sound like a twisted amalgam, between Dead Can Dance, Crimson Glory and King Diamond… go figure... they also dare to go quite modern in the ensuing “Cockroach” with its very rhythmical basis, but on the following two tracks, they go more classical, reminding me of anyone from Elend, to Korova, or proto-symphonic Therion, around “Lepacca” or during some later, but quite dark albums. Then follows the largely instrumental, (but it features sporadic vocals) trilogy, of “Shine Through Darkness ” that brought to mind a non-death metal version of Believer’s symphonic songs… in a way to conclude the album with “Phunkrax”, a funky three minute instrumental piece...
Well what can I say – unless someone dropped a lot of LSD in Lombardy’s water system, these guys are the post-apocalyptic, Italian cousins of acts like Mohani-Mohana and A.C.T… so expect some pretty messed up, s%it! And I mean that in the best possible way. This album was actually a rather enjoyable experience, with so many twists and turns, that it kept me trying to guess what was gonna happen next and probably failing to figure it out. Also the non-conformist approach makes em quite interesting... if you aren’t gonna go down the strata of traditional music forms and excel there, well the other possible way to do it, is to sound wacky enough, to get a response and Cyrax on their sophomore effort, managed quite effortlessly to impress me, with being rather intriguing and unpredictable. Well-done.