1. Taken Away to the Asylum
2. The Asylum Pyre
3. Laughing with the Stars
4. Coral’s Riff (Now hell)
5. Don’t Waste it
6. Love Ecstasy
7. Different Sides – Same Thoughts
8. Jester of the Power
9. Whispers of the Jester
10. W.W.A.W. (When We Are Wolves extracted from demo 2008)
Release Date: September 2009 – Self-Released
Here we have another debut album. This one is from the french melodic, progressive, partly speed metal band Asylum Pyre. In their band info they tell that the band is mixing influences and styles and so they cannot be packed in a main genre.
This debut is called „Natural instinct?“ and the first thing that impresses is the fantastic artwork designed by Alexandre Chaigne (website: http://www.deviantart/alexphch). It shows trees that take part of a girl and will not let her free. Will this tell us that the nature strikes back as revenge to the mankind? Anyway…great work.
It all starts with a piano in the opening track „Taken away from the asylum“. Guitars and spoken words to follow. Some screams in the background. The piano continues during the changing vocals of Johann Cadot in elegian style and Carole Alcantara with opera influences. No breaks or instrumental solos. The song keeps the same level to the end. I would call this song as progressive rock cause of its unusual structure and the main piano elements.
Drums and piano start „The Asylum Pyre“. Again the vocals are shared between Johann and Carole. It seems that Johann plays the darker part and Carole is his opponent. But they also perform together and this works good. This song is more speed, more metal within a good guitar solo in the middle of the song. We also can find some keyboards for the first time. The structure of this song is very interesting, very variable in changing the instumentation. Again a high content of progressive elements.
„Laughing with the stars“ is written more in a happy mood. And it has a nice refrain. Carole is leaving her opera vocals for some times but not at all. I like the keyboard parts of Tony Decaillon and the guitars lean that song a lot of power without losing the main ground of harmonies and melodics. A shorter song and with that more ear catching.
„Coral’s riff (now hell)“ starts speedfull with a great guitar hookline. This could be a Blind Guardian song with female opera vocals. Johann starts even some growled vocal lines in the back. A wonderful elegian keyboard part interrupts the song and leads over to a mystical guitar theme before the drums stop it and the speed comes back supported by growls versus elfions. Is this a fight between good and evil? Is nature the evil, or is it the mankind? And who will finally win in the end? Your thoughts decide. Anyway an epic 7 minute track that shows a lot of the various facettes that Asylum Pyre use in spreading their music.
„Don’t waste it“ starts slow with keyboards/piano and Carole who performs together with a guitar theme in hymn character. Spoken words appear and acoustic guitars underline the semi ballad message of this song. A little kind of folk music and classical elements I could find out in that song which is also 7 minutes long.
Keys and some whispers of Carole starts „Love ecstasy“ before a hard guitar element sets in. What follows is a little weird vocal intermezzo of Johann and Carole that leads to a guitar and piano duel. Based again on a classical theme.
Next is the 11 minute long track of the album called „Different sides, same thoughts“. Acoustic guitars starts it together with twin vocal lines of male and female. As the guitar hooklines and keys appear it shows that this song becomes a real melodic masterpiece. Very epic. This song shows the whole knowledge of the bands songwriting and musical facettes. Not a song for easy listening…this is for people to lean back and listen carefully. Lots of guitar parts changing with different vocal performances and keyboard themes. An amazing harmony guitar solo rounds up this wonderful workout. For sure the best song of the album, not at least cause of its length.
More speed again in „Jester of the power“. Carole is here complete in her opera element. The mixture of speed and that vocals make this song near to Nightwish. A dark midpart appears before another progressive rock element that telling us elegies. Different sound sequences lead to a silent vocal part supported by keyboards before the song takes speed again. The drums do the talking and a guitar line ends it.
„Whispers of the jester“ is the regular outro of „Natural Instinct?“. It only contains a short spoken word part with an acoustic guitar element.
At last and only as bonus song we have an extraction from the bands 2008 demo called W.W.A.W. (When we are wolves). Rocking start and more in the tradition of the first tracks of „Natural Instinct?“. Hard guitars meet the well known shared vocals. But this demo song shows the bands knowledge to play also in earlier years. This song can stand on this album and is not a bad round up…more a good appetizer for more.
Asylum Pyre is definetely a band that mixes music styles. The main influences for me are in progressive rock with classical elements. But they also deserve enough powerful elements to bring their music to an adventure in listening. Sure, the opera vocals are not the taste of everyone, cause there are too much bands meanwhile using that. But there is enough more content in the bands music to give them a listen. The musicians know how to play and the songwriting is first class.
Not a band to hear in your car, but if you like to listen carefully…this is for you!
Review by Kerb