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Big promises from the old days - 89%

Napero, November 16th, 2009

Back in 1993, Kyyria made a big promise with this EP, Kyyria. The band appeared out of nowhere, churned out three full-lengths, and disappeared in a disappointing lingering anti-climax half a decade later, all the while sporting a reverse all-stars team of people who would make a name for themselves in their respective later bands. At the time they were mostly unknown, and the unexpectedly original and professional EP was a pleasant surprise bolt out of the blue.

The band spent their whole career dodging the confines of every kind of definition. They never were thoroughly prog metal, and despite the excellence of Ville Tuomi's clean tenor voice, they rarely played anything that could be called power metal. They were too complex to be pure heavy metal, and even the metal content itself was often questionable. Still, they were always more than pure progressive rock, and somehow, even the tag "progressive" seems like an uncomfortable compromise most of the time. Anyway, their softly metallic sound, combined with the neat, not very complex but still very imaginative melodies, sometimes eerie keyboards and the liberties Tuomi took with the vocals, could be neatly summed up as progressive metal. Moving in circles, eh? Yes, but that's the nature of Kyyria; difficult to define, but definitely not easy to explain. Duh...

The three tracks here have an uplifting character, and despite the somehow strangely ominous emotions underneath, they still leave a good feeling after a spin, unlike some of the later works of the band. The same sound that later turned into a tired, hazy and rather repulsive contraption, works like a charm here. The tunes make a promise of something extremely interesting, and left a lot of people yearning for more fo this fascinating, soft and surprisingly easy to listen music. Unfortunately, already the first full album, Blessed Ravings was a mild disappointment after the self-titled EP. Those expecting an improved version of it on the sophomore Alien were let down again, and the last full-length, Inner Wellness, was a throughly uninteresting piece of work. This tiny, almost promotional EP was the greatest achievement of Kyyria before the end, and that achievement was more a promise than a masterpiece.

The production is crystal clear and interesting, but the sound has something very 80s to it. The music has a lot of space, and Tuomi's vocals often stray into their own area, almost detached from the rest of the band, echoing somewhere far away, almost like Ian Gillan in certain 70s live recordings of Deep Purple's "Child in Time". The effect is confusing, but fits the songs excellently.

This is a great promise that was unfortunately left uncashed, and the potential found on Kyyria was never tapped to its fullest extent. Perhaps such bands as Amorphis and Sub-urban Tribe were more tempting projects to center on, and maybe the considerably better pay in HIM lured away Kyyria's potential and directed the band members elsewhere, but this EP is a fine piece of music. It's just too friggin' short.