The disc starts off with a very cinematic intro, almost as though you’re about to embark on some extraordinary adventure. And in some ways you are. After that, the boys rip into a thunderous beat and rocket you off through the first few minutes of the song. Truth be told, the barrage of the double pedal on the kick drum, albeit extremely impressive, was a bit distracting to me at first. Though once you focus on the melody, you start to pick up all the different elements and intricacies each instrument adds. A few minutes later, the voice of Tomislav Crnkovic comes in, clear and strong; followed by a very classic-sounding tone, dancing its way up and down the fret board, supplied by lead guitarist Jacob Wright. For 7:13 the quartet takes you on a musical journey where I was almost expecting a hobbit or dwarf to hop out from behind a rock wielding a double neck axe! Okay, so maybe that last part was a bit of a stretch, but it did wind through different mood changes, melodies and rhythm patterns.
The next song, “The Coachman” hits you with a rocking groove that you end up whistling hours later. You can really hear the almost Celtic feel the guys seem to have at times. Just to prove they are more than you’d expect, they even throw in a bit of Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” toward the end. You may not know the tune by name, but you’ll certainly recognize the classical melody.
The next few songs are equally interesting. You can feel the Progressive Rock influences as well as straight up metal. It’s quite refreshing to have an album so full of dynamics and melody. You really get the feeling that these guys are proper musicians. Dave Crnkovic is impressive behind the kit, with obviously varied influences. Alex Kot, with his solid bass work throughout the album, is great too, as are Tomislav Crnkovic and Jacob Wright, both extremely talented guitarists.
After about 30 minutes, they slow it down a bit for “Time Will Take Us All”. Of course, being another seven-plus minute song, they have plenty of time to ramp it back up and explore even more musical ideas, before flowing into my personal favorite, “Three Sheets to the Wind.” I would describe this one as a rocking, Celtic drinking song! Imagery of pints full of dark ale being thrust into the air, froth exploding for every hearty cheer! A bit romantic? Perhaps, but this song really gets into you. I’m sorry if you don’t like it, because you’ll be humming or whistling the chorus hours from now (yes, much like the rest of the album.) But of course, much in VIATHYN fashion, this is only one part of the many chapters of the song.
Next up: “Albedo.” After the initial acceleration, the song flows into some intriguing gliding melodies and rhythms. For awhile, you even get a TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA feel, which also appears throughout the album in various other areas. Turns out, someone can play piano too! And well!
And then they bring out their closer. The album’s namesake ”Cynosure” is 9:35 of what I’ve been raving about this whole time. These Canadians really surprised me. I didn’t expect to still have them in the CD changer after a week. But every time you listen to Cynosure, you discover something you hadn’t noticed. I would certainly give them a listen…perhaps two listens.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “The Coachman”, “Edward Mordrake”, “Three Sheets to the Wind”, “Cynosure”.
WRITTEN BY RYAN “C.B.” WHITEHEAD