Lionel Pryor: Siam

Hasbrouck Heights-based prog metal instrumental ensemble Lionel Pryor are getting things done the right way with their 2012 record, Siam. Track one, “Nebraska” opens with an ominous piano section, casting a looming presence that seems to hang in the air around the listener. Soon entering the song is a brutal guitar part, accompanying the keys, followed quickly by super heavy shredding that comes in and out over the grooving lead line of the eight-minute cut. On the intro of “Apex Being,” the instruments fade in, riffs are played, and the expected heaviness ensues. The unexpected factor within this song is not only the well-written, catchy main riff, but the more traditional rock and roll-like solo that has an utterly classic vibe to it.

The consistent flavor throughout Siam is undeniably fresh. “Green Woods” is a synth interlude, breaking up the constant guitars with a more subtle, otherworldly sounding piece. The sixth track, “Labour” is another beat-oriented interlude of percussion and wild soundscapes. Even at this early stage for the life of this group, Lionel Pryor seem to have mastered balance and control within the confines of their own music. Within the 10-minute song that is “Goat Weed,” the band explores a slow and steady American style of metal. Approximately six minutes in, the sound transforms entirely, becoming a moody, grooving rock section for which the listener will wish for no end.

Toward the record’s end comes “Lysis,” a super melodic, flowing rock number that maintains a constant groove and laid-back feel from start to finish even with a heavy breakdown later on. Immediately after that follows “America In The 1980’s,” which proceeds to sounds exactly like that, but in the best way. For an up-and-coming group like this, the focus on the quality of Lionel Pryor’s musicianship, as well as the refinery of their sound, is remarkable.

In A Word: Precise