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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Cyberiam

The Butterfly Effect

Review by Gary Hill

This new CD from the Chicago based progressive rock band The Cyberiam is five tracks, but one song. That's because that song is a multi-track epic that weighs in at over twenty-minutes of music. There is a cool balance between harder rocking, almost metal stuff, more purely prog music and much more. This is quite a potent suite that delivers from start to finish. I'm sure there are those who would suggest this should land under "heavy metal," and I can see that argument, but to me the prog elements win out.

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Track by Track Review
The Butterfly Effect
I The Event

Organ sounds and chorale vocals open this with a sense of drama and mystery. Then some heavy metallic textures pound in delivering a new energy and direction. It moves out gradually as some equally heavy bass is heard. Organ comes over the top as the track continues to evolve. At times I'm reminded of Dream Theater. At other points I even hear hints of Deep Purple. Yet, the metal elements sometimes drive it a lot more than either of those references would suggest. This is a powerful opening movement that really has some killer musical passages. It really does a great job of riding the fence between heavy metal and progressive rock. It drops back for the vocals with the rhythm section dominating that section. This movement is more than halfway done before those vocals open, though. There is a real hard rocking element to the vocal section, and the cut drives onward with some real AOR vibes. This segues into the next piece with a hard driving sound.

II Ripples
The metallic sounds from the previous movement have a little life here before ending. Then the cut drifts into trippy ambient space sounds from there. As it approaches the one-minute mark it gets a new metal based element to drive it. As the keyboards come over the top, the number shifts into a smoking hot prog groove. Dream Theater meets Deep Purple is a valid reference again. The guitar solo led movement that follows gets into some pretty crazed prog shifts and changes. An ending crescendo serves to glide this instrumental into the next movement.
III Realizations
Coming in with a rather AOR movement. This has a good balance between melodic and rocking, modern and old school. It still has plenty of metal in the mix, too. It's a real powerhouse with some intriguing vocal interaction. The instrumental section takes it through some pretty crazy shifts and changes. Parts of it definitely make me think of Rush a bit, but through a Dream Theater-like lens.
IV The Shape of Things to Come
This instrumental movement comes in quite metallic. It works out as it continues. There are definitely plenty of prog elements as this works through, though. I love the keyboards on it. At just over a minute-and-a-half, this is the shortest movement here.
V A New Reality
Chorale vocals like the ones that opened the epic are heard at the start of this. For some reason the softer guitar that enters from there makes me think of Queensryche just a bit. The number grows out from there as the rock vocals join into a melodic hard rock vibe The prog rock comes back with interest as the number develops. This is the most dynamic, and in some ways most powerful, movement of the whole thing. At about six-and-a-half minutes, it's also the longest portion. It has a great contrast between more rocking and mellower sounds and seems to bring things back down to Earth by ending in the more sedate zone.
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