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‘Natural Instinct?’ is an exciting debut album from French 6 piece band Asylum Pyre. Their sound has an epic feel throughout and covers genres such as symphonic goth, retro-prog as well as some traditional metal. The album is superbly produced and excellently performed and, on the whole, the multitude of ideas work exceptionally well. Unfortunately, the album does open up with quite possibly its weakest track. ‘Taken Away to the Asylum’ seems disjointed with it relying too heavily on an overused piano refrain and some average male vocals, both of which fail to grab your attention. Thankfully, ‘The Asylum Pyre’ is much more impressive and is a fine slice of symphonic goth metal, which demonstrates Carole Alcantara's incredible range. Her captivating voice is so strong and powerful it consistently reminded me of the likes of Tarja Turunen, Floor Jansen and Simone Simons, which is high praise indeed. ‘Laughing with the Stars’ is an excellent, more straightforward, melodic rock track with Carole's voice being both operatic and accessible. ‘Coral's Hill (Now Hell)’ is full-on metal that features a beautiful middle built on soft keyboards and a Dave Gilmour-esque solo. Johann Cadot's death vocals as well as Carole's more operatic style really impress. The excellent ‘Don't Waste It’ is very much a symphonic gothic metal ballad reminding me of Epica. ‘Love Ecstasy’ opens with some great riffing and is an excellent example of melodic symphonic metal. The simply sensational ‘Different Sides Same Thoughts’ is a wonderful heartfelt 11 minute plus folky prog influenced ballad. The 8 minute plus ‘Jester Of The Power’ with its melodic riffs and powerhouse rhythm brings to mind early Nightwish. ‘W.W.A.W.’, which has been extracted from their 2008 demo, is a pounding full on metal tour de force and closes the album in fine style. At its best ‘Natural Instincts?’ is absolutely breathtaking and in lesser hands this album could quite easily have ended up a confused mess but Asylum Pyre's delivery and execution is both stunning and seemingly effortless. Carole Alcantara's all round vocal performance is so outstanding she really is a potential star in the making. If you love female fronted symphonic metal then the near faultless ‘Natural Instinct?’ will be one of the best albums you're likely to hear all year.
Review by Dave Crewe
Sept 2009
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.
"If you love female fronted symphonic metal then the near faultless ‘Natural Instinct?’ will be one of the best albums you're likely to hear all year."