SL THEORY – Cipher (2019)
While SL THEORY has already three albums under their belt, their just released “Cipher” is my first approach to them. And glad I did it… “Cipher” is an awesomely crafted album mixing progressive elements with classy AOR / Melodic Rock.
This exquisite band displays here a unique, well-thought and precision-executed piece of music, sophisticated compositions and quality musicianship on the path of Prog Rock and AOR giants like Kansas, Styx, Queen, and Foreigner, and add some Ayreon as well.
From epic Prog Rock, to ‘heavy’ AOR and even a couple of surprising bluesy and funky touches, SL THEORY surprises track after track.
You need to be confident to your music starting an album with a 13+ minute epic. Indeed, for a band aiming for ‘song format’ – most tracks here are around 4 minutes – opening with the grandiose ‘The Life And Death Of Mr. Ess’ it’s a challenge. And SL THEORY success. Divided in 10 parts, this is in fact a suite with ‘songs’ inside, showcasing the band’s versatility. There’s heavy moments, proggy passages, AORish atmospheres. Think Ayreon yet more accessible.
And the rest of the album is not less impressive.
‘Devil’s Suites’ has that ’80s British AOR atmosphere we love so much (Moritz alike), same with those keys slashes in ‘Table’s Turned’, while ‘Anyone, Anymore’ has some TEN on it.
‘Grave Danger’ bring to mind Kansas more AORish moments, some Styx on ‘If You Saw Me Dead’, while there’s drama in the Meat Loaf vein with the ballad ‘If It Wasn’t For You’, and later midtempo ‘A Song About Nothing’.
For more twists, ‘Happy’ adds an early ’80s funkiness to an indeed, catchy, happy tune.
All in all, “Cipher” is a fascinating listening experience from this Greek project created by drummer Sotiris Lagonikas. It takes the best of both (I’d say many) worlds to create a melodic and at the same time elaborated collection of songs.
01 – The Life And Death Of Mr. Ess
02 – You Never Happened
03 – Devil’s Suites
04 – Table’s Turned
05 – Grave Danger
06 – If It Wasn’t For You
07 – Anyone, Anymore
08 – If You Saw Me Dead
09 – Silence And Loneliness
10 – A Song About Nothing
11 – Happy
12 – If You Saw Me Dead (Alt Version) [Bonus Track]
Mike Karasoulis (lead vocals)
Alex Flouros (guitars)
Giannis Nigdelis (guitars)
Manos Gavalas (keyboards)
Chris Kollias (bass)
Sotiris Lagonikas (drums)
Margarita Papadimitriou, Anna T. Tarba (backing vocals)