Cipher System: Communicate the Storm

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Cipher System: Communicate the Storm
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Cipher System: Communicate the Storms
Melodic Death Metal
Nuclear Blast Records
October 11th, 2011
Release length: 46:33
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Has it really been roughly seven years since Cipher System‘s debut album Central Tunnel 8? This Swedish-born group finally return to the store shelves after their debut album, released through Lifeforce Records, didn’t do too well amongst the fans and critics of Melodic Death Metal fans, largely because the band was so unknown at the time with little push to the North American market. However, in the years leading up to their follow-up release, the band issued two additional demos, but yet never secured a home for themselves. Now, with a tighter sound that the years between releases clearly allowed them to establish, the band returns on Nuclear Blast Records with Communicate the Storms. But, is this a blessing, or just the label trying to capitalize on a struggling group?

Communicate the Storms has that sleeker modern sound to their audio, but still finds the instruments coming through rather heavy despite the cleaner production, except for the keyboards which mesh nicely with the overall production clarity. The guitars sound deep and heavy, though not too bludgeoning in any way, while the bass guitars give it a nice blunt edge, supporting the guitars well and being loud enough that you can hear it’s presence without any problems. The bass itself is complimented nicely with loud, thick clicks to the bass kicks that really fill that spectrum of the music nicely with full snares that are a bit dwarfed in the mix but not enough that it hurts anything, and the cymbols are loud enough to fill the music, though don’t really offer much eldse to the offering. All the instruments work well with each other, and the keyboards usually continue on without really stopping, giving the music an often cold and ice-like sound or more modern technical vibe. The vocals here are your traditional shouting style, but even they are loud against the rest of the already booming instruments, all at a good level that when you turn up the volume, the pitch doesn’t change or have issues that you immediatley want to turn it down due to how it changes.

But, despite the louder sound and rather commanding attitude that it and the band brings into the mix, Cipher System honestly start this recording without putting their best foot forward. “7 Inch Cut” is not a bad song at all, but the problem here is that it feels typical to the Melodic Death Metal style, having that slower pace and a drive to sound somewhat dark and emotional but with some more generic chords and drumming against some keyboards that are not the most impressive either. Even the faster moments here sound a bit generic, though much of the song does go fluid from one track to another. And that’s how the album remains for a bit. There’s nothing too unique or original about the songs that immediately follow this track, but overall they do end up sounding rather tight and enjoyable and they build up to some more energetic and commanding songs. The title track, “Communicate the Storms” is the first track here that will genuinely get your pumped and have your headbanging right along. The varying speeds throughout the track have plenty of fluid transitions, the keyboards really add a strong presence that help make the music stronger overall, the energetic performance of the band and extra emphasis in the vocal performance just really makes the song more appealing from the start instead of trying to focus on a slower, more emotional driven sound, and it really stands out as one of the band’s more impressive tracks to the recording.

Even as you get further into the release, the music continues to feel as aggressive as that title track, as well as equal in catchiness and headbang potential. “End My Path,” however, makes for a nice little break from the sudden energetic aggression to show well the band can take that emotional drive they tried to bring into the first two songs, and incorporate it into strong, hard hitting Melodic Death Metal. The track’s more melancholic sound really works well at this point, and it does seem to have a more authentic emotional atmosphere to it that feels natural without succumbing to traditional chords to the style. Even the following track “Objection” stands out a bit, though not really being more depressing like “End My Path,” but rather having some melancholic tinges to it thanks to the keyboards, and even some interesting Progressive Rock elements incorporated at times between those same keyboards and the guitars that really work in creating both a slightly off sound that works overall, and even a slight spacey vibe to the track. But, the thing here is that this is about where that impressive push to have heavy, tight, engaging Metal with a solid atmosphere since some of the songs coming up, like “The Stairway,” just are not that great. The song itself is enjoyable for what it is, but again it just feels somewhat generic, though not as typical as the song “Project Life Collapse” which has some potential, but feels like watered down In Flames and doesn’t leave the listener with much of an urge to even tap their foot in unison to the beat despite it’s well executed and tight sound.

Overall, Communicate the Storms has a few catchy songs, but other then those outlined earlier, the album is pretty typical, though still a good effort for the band. Even at their worst, the band shows they have a tight sound and can fluidly segway between one speed or sound to the next in the same track. The performances can be energetic, or just rather dull, though most of the material here that isn’t too impressive doesn’t come off too much like filler, though songs like that do become apparent in the release. It’s great to see Cipher System did grow somewhat as a band, and after seven years it’s nice to actually see them with a new release. But, overall, it’s not the most amazing, but it’s a solid reminder that they are still around.

01. 7 Inch Cut – 4:27
02. Forget to Forgive – 4:41
03. Communicate the Storms – 4:44
04. Gods Terminal – 3:43
05. End My Path – 3:50
06. Objection – 4:54
07. The Stairway – 5:29
08. A Lesson Learned – 5:17
09. Project Life Collapse – 3:57
10. The Failure Starts – 5:33
Overall Score: 5.5/10
Cipher System (Band)
Cipher System (Logo)
Digital review copy of this release provided by Nuclear Blast Records.