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Cyhra - 'No Halos In Hell' Album Review


1. Out Of My Life

2. No Halos In Hell

3. Battle From Within

4. I Am The One

5. Bye Bye Forever

6. Dreams Gone Wrong

7. Lost In Time

8. Kings Tonight

9. Had Your Back

10. Blood Brothers

11. Hit Me

12. Man Of Eternal Rain

Ah, greetings, fellow patron of noise - come in, come in, make yourself comfortable by the fire. So you're looking for some new Metal to listen to, eh? Well, you’re most indubitably in the correct place, my good friend! Pray tell, what flavor of Metal is your poison? Something brutal with Black Metal underpinnings? Some blackened Thrash, hmm? How’s about a wee bit of proggy Math-Metal? ...No? Hmmm… Oh, so you’re looking for something a bit lighter and melodic, with the occasional moment of heavy riffage? Fret not, for I have just the thing! How's about something Swedish and richly melodic and smooth with a fruity undercurrent of Classic Rock? Yes? Ah, good. May I suggest the Cyhra? It's a fairly young vintage but I believe it will suit your taste and mood well...

Yes indeed, if you’re a fan of the lighter and more melodic side of Metal, there’s a good chance that you might want to huddle a bit closer as it’s likely that the words that I’m about to write might be of some interest to you. So who are Cyhra you ask? Well, they’re actually something that could be described as a bit of a 'Supergroup' as the band is made up entirely from musicians that have left other reputable Metal bands; Jesper Strömblad (ex-In Flames) is on rhythm guitar, Alex Landenburg (ex-Annihilator) is on the pots and pans, Jake E Lundberg (ex-Amaranthe) is on lead vocals and Euge Valovirta (ex-Shining) plays both lead guitar and bass, which certainly seems to bode well and implies that the album is going to be a barrage of face-melting, pummelling Metal.

Rather conversely, it would seem that Cyhra are not intent on melting anyone’s face off as they frequently stray over into the regions of soft Rock with Metal overtones rather than outright Metal, which some might find surprising and disappointing. In fact, this album is so completely inoffensive and lacking in aggression that you could play it to your granny without her complaining too much, and its got a few juicy hooks on it that could possibly even get her to sing along to it, too. It meanders along an undulating path of mostly mid-paced drum beats, with the odd blast-beat thrown in for added measure by the seasoned hands and feet of Landenberg, which is accompanied by solid riffing by Strömblad and some excellent solo guitar pieces and perfunctory but uninspiring bass by Valovirta. The band’s greatest strength is provided by Lundberg’s vocals, as he’s got a smooth, warm and instantly likeable quality to his voice which lends the band a Classic Rock feel with his Bruce Dickinson-esque warble. He never roars, shouts or even swears, but he weaves some fantastic melodies around the guitars, drums and bass which gives the band a slick and polished sound.

As the album winds along its path, it has the occasional moment of heaviness but it mostly sticks to the slower, lighter end and even dips into a full-on (and, I’m sorry to say it, particularly cheesy) ballad at one point with big, soaring strings and all the ballady bells and whistles. It does have its high points, though - the title track ‘No Halos In Hell’ is a massive-sounding track with a sing-along chorus, ‘Bye Bye Forever’ is a peculiarly commercial-sounding track with another great chorus, and the heaviest of all of the tracks comes in the form of ‘Hit Me’, which is the one and only song that flies into a thrashy sounding riff-fest that encourages my neck muscles to do anything that comes close to a mosh.

My biggest problem with the majority of the album is that it’s ultimately lacking character and that it sticks so closely to the middle of the road that it never really provides me with any thrills or spills. Despite this, I actually find it difficult to fault it as the musicianship present on it is flawless and brilliantly performed - so if you’re a fan of polished melodic Rock and Metal that’s along the lines of Dragonforce and Coheed and Cambria, I reckon that there’s a good chance that you might get some kicks out of Cyhra.

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Review - Craig Henderson

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