Album Review – Viathyn / Cynosure (2014)

The new album by this outstanding indie Power Metal band from Calgary has everything we love in progressive metal music and more.


Album Cover - Viathyn  - Cynosure - 2014There was a time when my playlist was pretty much composed in its entirety by the anthem-like songs and sing-along choruses of many Power Metal bands such as Gamma Ray, Stratovarius, Blind Guardian and Angra. Although years have gone by and my taste for heavy music has expanded considerably, listening to some thrilling Power Metal tunes always touches my heart no matter what, and seeing this genre of heavy music is alive and well in the hands of awesome indie groups, such as Progressive Power Metal band Viathyn, truly makes me hapy. By the way, the name of the band has no real definition in English, it’s just something the band members came up while playing off the word “Leviathan”.

After the EP Demagogue in 2008 and their first full-length album The Peregrine Way in 2010, this Calgary-based band returns with more of their powerful and progressive music in Cynosure, which according to guitarist Jacob Wright means “a focal point or an object that serves to guide”. Also, when explaining the meaning of the songs, which by the way are full of virtuosity and emotion, he mentioned each track focuses upon a character that is either affected by or acts as an agent of chaos, in order to express how small and insignificant our actions are within the grand scale of the universe and to show that we as humans should be humble and respectful to each other. In other words, Cynosure also has a good storyline to add even more value to its music, which is already excellent by itself.

Get ready for a metal journey with the opening track Ageless Stranger, which right after its “Hobbit-ish” intro turns into nonstop Power Metal with lots of progressiveness, riffs and drums à la Gamma Ray, and awesome guitar solos by Jacob Wright, followed by The Coachman, which sounds like a heavier version of Jethro Tull and Sonata Arctica, especially the vocal lines by Tomislav Crnkovic and the harmony found in the lyrics, with highlights to its great chorus (“And in the shades of nightfall, riding swift, he steers to your call / Step into the coach and find your broken oaths are inside / By sleight of hand and wake of fate, speak his name, he’ll be your guide”). I might be wrong, but is it some kind of tribute to Helloween on one of the last guitar solos and at the end of the song, sounding like a live version of “Future World”?

Viathyn Press Photo 2Edward Mordrake gets back to that breathtaking traditional Power Metal with its flawless instrumental, awesome guitar riffs and all rhythmic breaks. It’s definitely one of the best songs of the whole album, especially its second half which would put a big smile on Mr. Kai Hansen’s face. The heavy and symphonic  Shadows In Our Wake has a more badass attitude and it’s impossible not to get excited with the energy this track emanates, with highlights to its nice guitar duos and speed similar to Gamma Ray (but a little more progressive), followed by the superb Countess of Discordia: it has that Power Metal vibe we all love, with “Brothers Crnkovic” absolutely on fire and in total sync. Moreover, not only it has best lyrics of all songs (“Eris, the Countess of Discordia / Behold her kingdom of strife and chaos at your door / Mother to false oaths and daughter to the void / Her fortress stretches high up to the weeping moon”), but it’s impressive how despite being lengthy it’s not tiring at all (and I’m sure you’ll start tapping together with its double bass wherever you are).

Cynosure goes on with Time Will Take Us All, which has a more serene intro and slower rhythm, with part of its musicality inspired by British Progressive Rock and the addition of some guttural vocals in the background being its special element, and Three Sheets To The Wind, a song that takes Folk and Power Metal to the next level, making me want to start dancing and prancing with a mug of beer in my hand. The last two tracks of the album are Albedo, a psychedelic music voyage with interesting lyrics (“Panacea, cure all that ails me and fill my veins with life / Aqua Vitae, draw clarity to my eyes and post colour through my mind”), with highlights to the excellent job done on guitars, and finally the title-track Cynosure, as symphonic and metallic as possible in its almost 10 minutes of fast and complex riffs, guitar solos and drums. Some passages even remind me of Dragonforce, with Tomislav Crnkovic once again showcasing an excellent vocal performance boosted by the enjoyable song lyrics.

There are many places where you can listen to and purchase Viathyn’s Cynosure (SoundCloud, CD Baby, BandCamp, Big Cartel, iTunes, among others), an awesome album tailored for fans of progressive and powerful metal music. There’s no way you won’t feel really good listening to it, I can assure you.

Best moments of the album: The Coachman, Edward Mordrake and Countess of Discordia.

Worst moments of the album: Time Will Take Us All.

Released in 2014 Independent

Track listing
1. Ageless Stranger 7:13
2. The Coachman 5:41
3. Edward Mordrake 6:24
4. Shadows In Our Wake 7:02
5. Countess of Discordia 7:12
6. Time Will Take Us All 7:01
7. Three Sheets To The Wind 7:21
8. Albedo 6:48
9. Cynosure 9:35

Band members
Tomislav Crnkovic – vocals, guitar
Jacob Wright – guitar
Alex Kot – bass
Dave Crnkovic – drums