East Of Lyra are a prog band, and if you like Rush and Yes then they are a group you should certainly check out! For those discerning rock listeners who like multi-layered, epic songs with imaginative storylines, then East Of Lyra are a band made for you. The self-titled debut album is a testimony to 21st century progressive rock that will take you on a journey through time, space & beyond… The track Where The Heart Is,
Lee Payne is a central musician in East Of Lyra and states, «You are going to get a lot of 4001 Rickenbacker bass on this album for sure! :)». The track Siren Song,
So how did this band get started? Once upon a time Lee Payne had a $7000 limited edition Chris Squire 4001 Rickenbacker bass gathering dust. The true genesis for the East Of Lyra project began back in 1982 with the Cloven Hoof song Starship Sentinel. Lee Payne is the bassist in the heavy metal/power metal band Clooven Hoof.
The original band members and Payne were heavily influenced by the amazing prog rock band Rush and so Payne decided to test himself and write a song, that had inflections of their style but still had enough of the classic Cloven Hoof trademark sound. They were delighted at how the track finished up and so Payne began writing songs in a similar vein. The track Where The Heart Is,
Over time Cloven Hoof sound evolved into a hard aggressive uncompromising form of heavy metal. Sure the music still had epic time changes and a prog rock sci fi storylines but there were certain parameters that the band could not go beyond. True heavy metal had great bandwidth but to explore greater light and shade of grandiose musical themes then a new band would have to emerge in order to keep the purists happy.
Payne always had a dual passion for both the heavy metal and progressive rock genres. Chris Squire from Yes was always my all-time bass playing hero. Unorthodox time signatures and staggering musical passages of light and shade inherent of the music of Yes was inspirational. Black Sabbath of course were Payne`s heavy metal heroes so this duality of conflicting musical styles had always colored Payne`s sonic landscape of taste.
In many ways Cloven Hoof could easily have mutated into what East Of Lyra are today. Over the years Payne had amassed a wealth of ideas that he considered too prog rock sounding for Cloven Hoof so he kept them to be used at a later date. The time and band personnel had to be right in order to bring these archived songs to fruition.
Over the last few years Payne had been working with Chris Dando, who has a studio in the Heart of the West Midlands, UK. Dando was responsible for recording Cloven Hoof album tracks and Payne found him to be an outstanding musician and fantastic studio engineer. Dando’s work colleague Ben, was a fine multi-instrumentalist and they were both a joy to work with Payne states. As a keyboard player and singer Dando was a nigh on genius and it was these qualities that got Payne thinking about the all-out prog rock band idea.
Payne had the basis for a group right there and when Mark Bristow was used as a session drummer for Cloven Hoof it all seemed to be coming together beautifully. Bristow was a human metronome and could play challenging time changes with ease. The missing piece of the jigsaw was to get an outstanding lead guitarist who could play with great passion and feel. Dando said he knew a guy who could fit the bill perfectly for Cloven Hoof so why not try him on the new project too?This turned out to be Ash Baker. Baker really knew how to use the guitar to enhance a song perfectly.
That is the pretty detailed story so fa for the East Of Lyra project. This project is more than a solo work because it features a fine band of musicians who have expanded on Payne`s initial musical ideas in their own inimitable style and they have made the songs their own.