“Hmm, intriguing!” That is genuinely what I said out loud whilst alone in the house on opening the package from the esteemed editor of Ave Noctum that contained the CD and accompanying PR release for ‘Fusion’. Firstly, it was an artist I’d never heard of before; secondly, Tonzonen Records is a label I don’t think I’d encountered; and finally, the cover art looked like the sort of design that would have graced one of late Sixties/early Seventies Michael Moorcock novels I so carefully collected back in the day, a trippy combination of the fantastic and the scientific, a swirling sun interacting with a humanoid figure that seems to be a personification of the DNA that ‘Fusion’ speaks of. As a way to set the high expectations before the music was even played, Pyrior have hit the nail squarely on the head.

Album opener ‘Guanine’ (one of the four primary nucleobases found in nucleic acids, and yes, I did attend university for a biology based degree a few decades ago!) is a short first step on the musical journey, little more than a series of electronic tones that could be man’s first attempt to speak to the mothership of Close Encounters before some gently strummed chords lead into ‘Hellevator’, sparse drum fills building up into a series of looping beats, more than suitably accompanied by hypnotic bass and guitar riffs that grow in volume and intensity. ‘Adenine’ then flows forth, continuing the gentle acoustic sounds that rounded off ‘Guanine’ before ‘Splicer’ fires in with an all more insistent racing beat with a very Prog based sound. In contrast ‘X’ has an altogether more laid-back opening, a stoner vibe redolent of sweet smelling smoke being built upon and built up into a solid fist pumper of a track.

The halfway point of the album is ‘Thymidine’, another of the building blocks of DNA, and again, it continues the acoustic theme, a lone guitar fading into the drum beats of ‘Norfair’ before the epic ‘Fusion’ powers forth. This title track, in a classic case of nominative determination, binds together the diverse elements heard in the rest of the album, heavy riffs, looping beats, wailing psychedelic solos, and Theremin like swirling effects interspersed with jazzy Prog tinged breaks building to a crescendo of sound that itself fades down into the closer ‘Cytosine’, a swirling soundscape that could easily accompany Dave Bowan’s trip through the final scenes of 2001.

In a world of ever shorter sound bites and internet clips where the average human attention span seems to be shrinking down to mere seconds, it can be hard for an instrumental album to grab hold of the listener and keep hold of them. Pyrior, however, manage that with ‘Fusion’ an album that seems to simultaneously last a lifetime, whilst also being over far too quickly, the nine tracks somehow clocking in at a surprisingly short sub 40 minutes, practically demanding that the replay button is immediately hit.

(8/10 Spenny)