EP Review: Gyre - "Second Circle"

Progressive metal is a splinter genre where you don’t see a lot of DIY, at least not on a noticeable level or on this side of the Pond. New Jersey progressive metallers Gyre are forging into that territory with a four-song EP “Second Circle,” that attempts to fresh take on a long developed idea.

What impresses most about Gyre is their dedication to the idea that progressive metal can still stress the concept of “metal.” Most everything on this EP is overdriven in execution, from the guitars to the vocals. There is an ever-present chug running throughout the duration or each cu, particularly in the opener “All Revealing Eye.”

Beneath all that fuzz though, is the outlying melody and guitar harmony that makes Gyre ‘progressive.’ There is artistic guitar work to be had, and listeners would do well to sample and savor the melodic sweeping and bridges as we see throughout “Circle to Feed.” It does merit mentioning that your ear must really dig in deep to discern much of these elements amidst the clouds of sound, but patience has always been a virtue when talking about progressive music. Listeners who can dissect the songs into their requisite parts and then mentally reassemble them while listening are best equipped to enjoy all that “Second Circle” has to offer.

The issue here is that the sample size is too small. Either that, or the experimentation doesn’t go far enough. Either way, it feels like Gyre is too conservative in their exploration of their own talents. The EP runs about the same length (give or take) as Rush’s classic song “2112,” but doesn’t embrace the versatility of progressive music in the same fashion. Gyre has the talent; it’s stamped all over “Second Circle” in fits and bursts, but the band is almost too tentative when sailing toward the full iceberg of possibility.

Gyre shows a lot of promise, but it could be more. Scope out “Second Circle” and put the band on your radar. But there’s no bandwagon to jump on just yet.

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