I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again. I like it when I can cover and support a band from their debut onwards. That is the case with Cyril, though I was writing for a different site when their debut released back in 2013. Their new album Amenti’s Coin: Secret Place, Part II is available now, but officially releases on February 22nd.
Cyril is a band from Germany. The lineup has been pretty steady since their debut, this time being Larry Brödel and Manuel Schmid on vocals, Ralf Dietsch on guitars and mandolin, Marek Arnold on keyboards, saxophone, and recorder, Dennis Strassburg on bass, and Manuel Humpf on drums. The band originally had Larry on vocals only, with Manuel as a backing voice, but on the sophomore Manuel became a full-fledged co-lead vocalist in order to create some great harmonies.
Let’s talk about the history of the band quickly. Their 2013 debut Gone Through Years was a vivid retelling of Wells’ The Time Machine. My favorite album, their sophomore album Paralyzed (2016), was and is a fantastically riffy, melodic, and catchy work of art. Their third album The Way Through came in 2019, and while it didn’t grab me at first, I’ve really come to love its AOR leanings.
So here we are at Amenti’s Coin. You’ll notice the full title includes Secret Place, Part II. On Paralyzed, the final track was an ambient and whispery affair called “Secret Place, Part I”, meaning that the band always meant to follow that up somehow. That is exactly what Amenti’s Coin is. It’s the next part of the story.
Cyril has changed musically over the years. Their original sound was certainly far more “prog” rock with the typical tones you would expect. With later albums, they morphed into something far more melodic, and this new album takes that melody to heart even more. Amenti’s Coin is like a hovering, persistent layer of melody, and you’ll find that Marek’s recorders and sax are used almost constantly, rather than as a novelty. So, the sound is definitely the band’s, only with more woodwinds.
I honestly wasn’t sure what I felt about this album at first. Similarly to The Way Through, this is a highly nuanced record, one that takes time to absorb. I found that putting it on while working on something else was very rewarding, however. It feels consistently harmonious and even mysterious. Many of the tracks bleed together, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing here.
I’ll say right away that the high point of the album is the one-two punch of “Desert Crossing” and “Caravan”. Yes, the opener “On Sacred Ground” is a rich and beautiful song; “A Letter Home” proves itself to have some real meat, especially in the second half. “My Father’s Crossing” is a bubbly, riffy track that gets the blood flowing somewhat. The first half of the album is a dreamy vision, truly.
But there is something about “Desert Crossing”. It’s catchy, yes, but it is especially the blindly brilliant instrumental in the second half that snatches my attention every time. “Caravan” is both similar and different. It transitions from a rock track to an ambient piece that is simply gorgeous, looping subtle electronic tones in with woodwinds. It just feels so good.
The last four tracks are basically a suite together, and they are certainly shadowy and mysterious. The title track starts it off with an ambient instrumental piece, perhaps an extension of “Caravan”, and the following tracks feature plenty of sax and storyline. In fact, “The Temptress” features vocals from Andrea Strassburg (married to Dennis on bass) in a sort of a duet with Larry. My favorite part of this suite is “Arrival”, a song with resolution, Guy Manning on a spoken word portion, and a thunderous finale. This suite is one part that I usually forget about how good it is until I experience it again.
I’m happy that Cyril are still making music. Larry and Manuel sound fantastic, and Marek’s keys and woodwinds are stunning, as usual. The album is an excellent example of progressive rock here and now, and if you like melody-forward writing, you will be pleased. I know that I will keep exploring this record for some time.
Find Cyril online: