Album Reviews

Asylum Pyre – Fifty Years Later Review

asylumpyre_fiftyyears_cover

Released By: Massacre Records:

Release Date: Out Now!!!

Genre: Melodic Metal/ Symphonic Metal

Links: http://www.asylumpyre.com/

 

Line Up:

Chaos Heidi – Vocals

Johann Cadot – Guitar/ Vocals

Herve Schiltz – Guitar

Julien Peuch – Bass

Tony Decaillon – Keyboards

 

Tracklist:

1. Will You Believe Me?

2. Dead In Copenhagen

3. The Frozen Will

4. These Trees

5. The Herd

6. Fisherman’s Day

7. Against The Sand

8. Any Hypothesis

9. Just Before The Silence

10. Fifty Years Later

 

As the year winds down, I have already started looking ahead to 2013 just a little bit, but it turns out there’s at least one more noteworthy 2012 release left to review before I get too far ahead of myself. France’s Asylum Pyre have escaped my attention up until now, but with their sophomore release “Fifty Years Later” coming just this month, I have now taken notice. This is a very strong album, and one with many different styles, so despite the genre tags I have given, the music rarely sounds like typical female fronted symphonic metal, instead coming across as melodic metal with the constant presence of symphonic elements. You certainly couldn’t compare it to many other bands in the genre, if any at all.

The songwriting is very diverse, with the most common trait between songs being a mix of melodic and heavy sections. On some songs you get rather straight-forward power metal, on some you get relaxing melodic metal, on some you get progressive metal with some intense parts, and on many of them you get an odd mix, which ends up working out quite well. The music is very melodic overall, and a couple songs are rather accessible, but there’s still some aggressive parts in there at times. As varied as the album is, and while some may prefer the sound of one song over another, I find the songwriting to be very consistent throughout. I don’t feel any song here is a big standout, but instead every song is different enough and memorable enough to earn its place.

Equally as versatile are the vocals, with Chaos Heidi taking lead for the most part, though Johann Cadot tags along on some of the songs. Both of them do an excellent job, but Heidi is clearly the star here. She’s classically trained and that shows every time shes uses her operatic vocals, as they always sound flawless and effortless, but when she sings normally she uses a fairly low register a lot of the time, and this often sounds very beautiful as well. At times she sounds more aggressive, and that may be when she sounds best, as good as she is at everything else, as she always seems particularly emotional during those parts. Johann is less versatile, but he has a very pleasant voice, and he fits in great whenever he does sing.

We’re immediately treated to some nice vocals from both singers, as the intro track “Will You Believe Me” is a nice acoustic track where Heidi leads and Johann does some very nice backing vocals. One of my favorite songs is up next in “Dead In Copenhagen”, which demonstrates the variety found in both the music and vocals, opening with a brief heavy part where Heidi shows her more powerful side, before calming down and turning into a nice melodic metal song using her softer vocals during the verses. The chorus is the highlight though, as the music speeds up and Heidi gives one of her most convincing and emotional performances, before introducing her gorgeous operatic vocals the second time through. “Frozen Will” is a much faster, more power metal oriented song, but after that is perhaps the most accessible song in “These Trees”, which is very calm and melodic, with emotional lyrics about the need to protect our environment. This kind of thing can come across as cheesy and preachy sometimes, but here Heidi’s vocals are convincing and sincere enough that I don’t mind it at all. Next is probably the weirdest song on the album, as “The Herd” starts off as a nice melodic prog song with some very good keyboards, before it takes an unexpected turn in the middle and becomes the best showcase of Heidi’s operatic vocals.

On the beautiful ballad “Fisherman’s Day”, Johann takes over lead vocals and does a great job of it, while Heidi does excellent harmonies and constantly repeats the title, which is oddly effective in this case. That one is one of my personal favorites, but again, there isn’t a song here I don’t like. The most progressive song is the the 9 minute epic “Any Hypothesis”, which starts out nicely enough with more vocals from Johann, before eventually exploding a bit and we even get some harsh vocals at one point, though it never gets terribly aggressive, as the band still puts the melodies first, as usual. The album closes with the title track, which is a 7 minute ballad with a very beautiful chorus, and it is probably my favorite overall.

It’s obviously a good sign when a band can make such a diverse and unpredictable album, yet avoid any pitfalls, and that is exactly what Asylum Pyre have done. It may lack a real standout track that would have taken it to the next level, but “Fifty Years Later” is still a very strong album with a nice mix of sounds, that should more than satisfy fans of female fronted symphonic metal and melodic metal in general.

 

Written by Travis

Ratings    Travis    8/10

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