There’s a track on this self released album called ‘Radiant Sea’ which is a pretty good pointer for one of the big influences of Cyclopian; Isis. They have that restless, tidal sound to the melody that laps over the top of the dense, sludgy riffs, they have that yearning quality to them, too. A sense of reaching for something deep within.

They start slowly enough with the minimalist beginning to ‘The Raven And The Snake’ which builds into the kind of mood described above. The vocals, though, being of the harsh, growled variety help to slip a little of a funeral doom element to it. They are the kind of band who seem to have an instinctive grasp of dynamics and how to ride the tension between the heavier and quieter parts without breaking up the track. A pinch of a not so dark and apocalyptic Neurosis is sprinkled about as well and the vocals used minimally but to good effect amidst the lengthy instrumental passages.

‘Pyramids’ begins on some moving, sombre notes, a sense of isolation and grandeur rather than something crushingly monolithic. That is the surprise in the approach; despite the name, despite the riffs, there is little to suggest menace here, no evocation of the dread or the grinding crush. Instead this is really emotional and evocative stuff, awe and wonder on offer in their place.

With minimal space between tracks it is ready simply to slip from one great tidal swell to another. ‘The Dark Rift’ channels us through its sometimes choppy, heavier depths before ‘RadiantSea’ opens before us and ‘ Eventide Void’ ushers us into the beyond.

Despite what I see as a heavy Isis influence, this could also well appeal to fans of bands such as Ahab on the funeral end of things; it flirts and dances with that most introspective form of extreme metal amidst the clear picked melody and surge of riffs. There is also that same touch of wilderness that Fen often bring to their sound, as though the rise of a sudden squall could send the riff into a new direction but with more than enough undertow to pull you with it. They can be gentle one moment and tempestuous the next without being jarring in’ the transition.

There really are all the elements of a fantastic band here; composition, structure, emotional tugging, atmosphere, musicianship and attention to detail (I should also say how excellent the packaging is from the CD printing outwards, plus the patch and badge). They have room to grow, too, places to push the individuality of their sound into focus and outstrip their obvious influences.

For the time being, though, this is a fantastic start. Best bit of home grown sludge heavy prog I’ve had the pleasure to hear since Of Spire And Throne.

(8/10 Gizmo)