Cyhra – No Halos In Hell. Out next Friday, November 15 via Nuclear Blast Records, Cyhra has come back swinging with their sophomore album. Let’s just get this review started… buckle in because this is going to be one of those reviews!
For those of you who’ve been with us since I reviewed ‘Letters To Myself’, you know this is a band I instantly connected with. Their deep cutting debut ripped many listeners to the core with it’s deep and dark lyrics that nestled up to a creative musical soundtrack. I’ve been impatiently waiting for their return with this new album.
We followed along last year while the guys where in the studio recording this album. We laughed and asked a lot of questions during their live feeds. The guys did a great job holding the new music a strict secret until the first single was dropped on the world leaving fans begging for more. Well, you fans have just over a week to wait still, but I got my hands on this album today and I can’t say that this was the album I was waiting for, it is so much more than I could have ever hoped for.
Watch: Out of My Life
The most noteworthy thing I can tell you about this album is that you can’t get comfortable or complacent while listening to it. What I mean by that is, this album is so complex and diverse that I caution you against thinking the first track is a reflection of what the full album is, because it is not. Each track on this album will make you want to fall in love with it, but just as you are ready to profess your undying love it will shake things up as it takes you through it’s own twists and turns. When you finally feel as if you can cozy up to it you will get tossed aside and introduced to the next track and this will be on repeat as you progress through every track on the album. Once it’s all over and done with, you’re going to be left feeling vulnerable, confused, heartbroken, aware, alive and energized. This album is a rollercoaster of soul crushing lyrics paired to epic musical arrangements that feel like a well orchestrated masterpiece.
Like the first album, I didn’t make it through the album without being brought to tears. By the third track “Battle From Within,” I was fighting the overwhelming urge to start crying, but by track seven, it was game over. “Lost In Time” poked hole right into my eyes and I couldn’t hold the tears in for another moment. So much so that my office mate actually placed a box of tissues on my desk. If that doesn’t say something about the depth of this album, I don’t know what will. Anytime music inflicts that much emotion into a listener, it’s music that has been well received. Every music fan should hope to connect with music that makes them feel something, that gives them unexpected emotions and the urge to immediately replay it. And I pretty much said the same exact thing about the first album.
Watch: Battle From Within
But how does Jake E do it? Writing at this depth but in a style that at the same time is crushing your inner being is also making you want to take action, whatever that action may be? And how did he manage to elevate this album after having such a great debut?
“When I was writing, I sat down and thought about what worked and what didn’t work on the first album. What I was focusing on the most for »No Halos In Hell« was making the songs more live oriented, and I think that live ‘friendliness’ of the songs also brings the catchiness up to another level. I was constantly thinking about hook lines that should stick in your head.” says Jake E.
That is definitely the right combination. There are so many amazing musical elements in this album. The guitars have this push and pull of styles that render heavy riffs reminiscent of Jesper Strömblad‘s time with In Flames, but with a flip of a switch…. they head into a lighter almost melodic techno styling. Add in Euge Valovirta‘s shredding prowess and the guitars are ripping every direction in this insane melodic melody. One moment you are listening to twining guitars then something more rhythmic then off into a waling riff.
But wait, where is Alex Landenburg in all of this? Solidly laying down the beats! I’ve been impressed by his work for a while, his style is well above that of many drummers out there making music. It’s a true art for him and he’s such a technically skilled drummer. When it came to the drums on this album, “Bye Bye Forever” had some of the most incredible display of his abilities and control as a drummer, but also was a track that where the drums really stood out to me. But overall the drums across the entire album are just fantastic.
Finally, what about the vocals on this album? Compared to the debut album, Jake E‘s vocals stand out much more on the new album. His vocal range on this album shines as he has the ability to truly show what he’s capable of. He seems to really have his vocals locked in on this album. He takes more risks in his style and allows himself to be completely vulnerable to listeners. There are numerous times throughout this album where his vocals pierced me. Whether from the sheer open intensity or the completely raw, painful vocals he gives to the most soul ripping lyrics he’s written. His pain soaked vocals lend to the overall feel listeners will get to experience in the album. I also really enjoyed the elements that were added over a few of the tracks making his vocals a bit distorted but also as I listened the rich tone in his vocals really got to shine on this album, all while still hitting those high notes that are just unexpected from him. I much prefer his work with Cyhra than other bands he’s been in. This is where he gets to shine.
My final thoughts on this album; Cyhra is a group deserving of your attention. They are highly talented and have the ability to translate that talent into writing and top notch performance. I think this is a band that music lovers should definitely seek out and ‘No Halos In Hell’ should already be in your shopping carts! Passing this album and this artist up would be a mistake. So go discover them today, if you have already!
Album: No Halos In Hell
Label: Nuclear Blast
Genre: Melodic Metal
Release Date: November 15, 2019
Rating: 5 of 5
Tracklist (Total Play Time 45:11):
1. Out Of My Life 3:17
2. No Halos In Hell 4:07
3. Battle From Within 4:17
4. I Am The One 3:50
5. Bye Bye Forever 3:50
6. Dreams Gone Wrong 3:35
7. Lost In Time 4:38
8. Kings Tonight 3:13
9. I Had Your Back 3:58
10. Blood Brothers 4:03
11. Hit Me 3:47
12. Man Of Eternal Rain 4:36
Jake E | lead vocals (ex-Amaranthe)
Euge Valovirta | lead guitar (ex-Shining)
Jesper Strömblad | rhythm guitar (ex-In Flames)
Alex Landenburg | drums (Kamelot)
Producer – Jacob Hansen
Co-producer – Jake E