Kyros (Nee Synaethesia) is Adam Warne (vocals, keyboards), Joey Frevola (guitars), Peter Episcopo (bass, vocals), Robin Johnson (drums, percussion) & Sam Higgins (guitars, vocals). They have been tipped and praised in the media and rock press in their original guise growing out of Adam’s solo project into a fully fledged band. I am not one to patronise when I say this, but, these guys are young and this is a definitive advantage in many respects. They are not shackled to the 70s golden age but they pull influences from the 80s and 90s too. Like genuine artistic magpies they are content to take all that is good from a wide range of sources and put elements of it into their music.
The music is very very full on; the influences of Haken are obvious with drummer Raymond Hearne arranging the brass on various sections. It is a sonically dense album with so much going on that what at first appears to be a simple piece has hidden depths. New Paradigm is one such track. At face value it feels like a crooner from the 40s accompanied by a piano but then evolves into a an atmospheric combination of the harmony and keyboards that becomes almost ethereal in it quality.
To counterbalance this Technology Killed the Kids II is jam packed with intensity reflecting how much technology is filling the younger generation’s lives and leaving no space to breath or be real in a real world. It has a definite ‘Prog’ feel with massive keyboard sounds and it really stands out from the first listen to the last.
The single Cloudburst has overtones of later period Depeche Mode in it combined with post modern values in the writing. It is accessible and has a great hook and instrumental breaks that could easily be played on the mainstream radio. Yet it retains its “Progginess”, I hear IQ in the guitar breaks and keyboard combination but there is no plagiarism here.
Onto CD2 and the vision darkens here, beginning with track one Mind Electric, an ominous overtone of keys and guitar that has an air of a desperate struggle between humanity and technology. The endless struggle between humanity and its own invention is the theme that runs through the album from beginning to end. Monster is another stand out track, the keyboard riff that feels instantly familiar, frenetic musical breaks simulating a struggle between the Frankenstein’s monster of the theme and the inner humanity railing against the metaphorical windmills.
This drops straight into a far less fraught piece called Hounds that lulls you into a false sense of security as you become hunted by the music and the beast itself. The closing track of the album, simply called Dilate, channels everything into a climax of tragedy and despair as we inevitably fall into a trap of our own design.
Overall ‘Vox Humana’ works very well indeed and takes the project to the next level with the song writing and sophistication. It has been carefully crafted and created with much maturity that is rare in any band.
This record is full of clever harmonies but is clever merely for the sake of being clever but, rather, because it fits the need. It really feels like it has been written and created by the band rather than just Adam getting people to play his music. Which to be honest, as good as Synaethesia was, that is what it felt like to me.
If you want something that pulls musically from the 80s and 90s and only really offers a nod to the roots of Prog rock then this is for you. It has more from the likes of IQ, IT Bites, Muse, Radiohead, Depeche Mode and Haken than anything made in 1973. It isn’t a late night chill out but is excellent driving music and it shows that the future of our music is in good hands.
Released 5th November 2016
Buy ‘Vox Humana’ direct from the band.