Lyriel – Autumntales – 3.5/5
So had I known about them they probably would have arrived on the last special, playing a sort of medieval themed celtic folk/rock with both a prominent violin and a cello in the line-up, this is an album that could only be described as a thing of beauty, graceful vocals bounding over epic violins providing atmosphere and substance, with boisterous cello work working with the keyboards between vocal passages, everything here has been worked to an effective simplicity, the layers working majestically to sustain interest without feeling overtly complex.
With so many members, production becomes a real issue, making each aspect as prominent as possible without clouding the end result, and for the most part this has been worked wonderfully, retaining not necessarily a raw sound, but certainly an earthy tone which only enhances the end result. The drums are prominent and performed well, with a slightly hard hitting edge the perfectly complement the violin work, they often provide the main contributions to the changes in pace that occur. Both the guitars do little more than supply basic rhythm, and particularly the bass, is subdued behind the many layers that emerge. To a lesser extent this is true of the keyboards, often relegated to backing, they nonetheless have a number of points where soft piano melodies work without the backing already mentioned, and create a slower, more depressive tone.
Now ordinarily this would present something of a problem with the sound, but most prominent aspects of this band more than compensate. The violins succeed in supplying atmosphere and emotion, beyond what even some of the greatest guitar work would be capable of. Sometimes working in tandem with the cello and often with keyboards in their own instrumental passages, none so superbly worked as the ending for ‘Days of Yore,’ which has to go down as one of the most magnificent pieces presented here. The vocals too add to all this, akin to ‘Carved in Stone,’ presenting a soft and emotional clean vocals, no pretence of being operatic to be found here they demonstrate how excellent mid-ranged vocals can be, and nothing else would have worked quite as well.
But despite all this, it doesn’t last for the albums duration. Particularly around the mid-point, it begins to feel as though they are running thin on idea’s, adding little variation or new idea’s to their sound, it begins to feel a little monotonous. The instrumental passages come all too infrequently, and the pace fails to vary within the tracks to sustain interest. This is album of two halves, a superb start that is only let down by its ending.
Highlights: Memoria, Days of Yore, Wild Birds