AFM Records [Release date 26.09.14]
Lyriel are another one of AFM’s roster that has totally passed me by until now. This German band formed way back in 2003 and debut “Prisonworld” was released in 2005. “Autumntales”, “Paranoid Circus” and “Leverage” followed. Now in late 2014 fifth album “Skin And Bones” makes its way onto the world stage.
Lyriel plough a similar furrow to Midnatssol and Leaves’ Eyes with their folk influences but with the more melodic side of bands like Delain and Xandria also sown into the mix. Sounds a little like they want to be Nightwish…
Opener Numbers kicks things off in impressive style with its metal opening leading into a mad Levellers’ inspired violin fest. Jessica Thierjung leads from the front with her sexy vocals and sing-a-long repeats of “1, 2, 3, 4…” and “5, 6, 7, 8…” (and yes they know how to count as well!).
Falling Skies is more complex and definitely falls into the grower category as it improves with every listen. Title track Skin & Bones has some evil sounding violins. Dust To Dust features an extremely poppy chorus.
Black And White comes in 2 versions – the first features prominent guest vocals and growls from ex-Scar Symmetry vocalist Christian Älvestam whilst the second only has much less obvious growls which are used predominantly in the background only. Great track in both forms.
The more traditional folk sound of Jessica’s vocals backed with only cello works exceptionally well on Astray. Days Had Just Begun begins in a similar traditional fashion but builds slowly to an epic conclusion.
Running In Our Blood is the heaviest song on here and has no noticeable strings. Dream Within a Dream is the token big ballad.
A few songs fail to meet the high standard set – Your Eyes lacks any memorable hook, Der Weg (The Way) suffers from being the one song sung in Lyriel’s native German and Worth The Fight doesn’t go anywhere at all.
The production on “Skin And Bones” cannot be faulted – amazing clarity with every instrument given room to shine. The use of violins and cello, courtesy of Joon and Linda Laukamp respectively, throughout adds an extra dimension to the songs
Overall a highly enjoyable release from Lyriel that needs repeated listens to fully appreciate. I still can’t get Numbers out of my head…”let the time stand still”. Must check out their back catalogue… ****
Review by Phil Berisford
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