Nemesis by CairoRelease date: May 5, 2023
Label: Spirit of Unicorn Music
It’s been seven years since Cairo unleashed their sole self-titled debut which received glowing reviews during that time period, For Rob Cottingham, who led Touchstone from 2003 to 2017, and now with Cairo, he’s keeping the spirit alive by making sure that he has enough Energon cubes with their latest release, Nemesis.
With the same line-up in charge once more, Cottingham takes his fellow comrades into the deepest oceans with its darker approach from their previous debut. From the moment ‘Asleep at the Wheel’ begins you get a sense that Cairo puts you through this hypnotic waltz on what was happening when everything came to a screeching halt three years ago.
There’s a sense of insanity, isolated themes, free from all of the chaos, greed, corruption, the waltz-like dance of death, and right to the metallic riffs. Cottingham’s insane keyboard work, gives Bayley a chance to delve into her slithering motif as Cairo gets down to the bone.
‘Trip Wire’ features some cool Dream Theater-like textures from the Portnoy years on the Train of Thought album that speaks, ‘As I Am’. Suddenly, Cairo has transformed themselves into a gothic band. Unexpected, but it works like a charm!
Hards’ train-chugging arrangements are going 80 miles per hour as he follows Sarah in hot pursuit before going through a symphonic lullaby in a city in ruins with ‘Glow’. Elsewhere, ‘The Love’ visions the voice of Sarah, singing through a horizonic landscape as she comes out of the giant crystal cave before the militant beats burst through the night, by paying homage to the ending of Journey’s ‘Faithfully’ from the Frontiers album.
‘New Beauty’ goes from a soft, gentle acoustic-electric guitar introduction as Brown’s drum work comes kicking in for an ‘80s synth-like action sequence. Rob visions his programming procedure by what the future is going to be in the years to come before walking into a Tangerine Dream-sque corridor from the Cyclone years with ‘Déjà vu’.
Nemesis may take a while to get into. But for Rob he has enough engines running by making sure that Cairo doesn’t give up. While he’s come a long way, the yellow brick road itself, has only just begun.