CypherSeer: Origins

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CypherSeer: Origins
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CypherSeer: Origins
Power Metal
Nightmare Records
April 12th, 2011
Release length: 1:05:15
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CypherSeer stormed onto the metal scene in 2007 with their debut full-length release, Awakening Day. Sadly, that storming wasn’t all that well received in the Metal community, hailing some pretty mixed results for the New Jersey based Power Metal act. Of course, the group has been around much earlier then that, going under the new Malakis Reign from 2003 until 2007, though that group only issued two demos. In the long run, many frowned upon the confusing musical path that CypherSeer had taken on that debut. However, with their follow-up release, Origins, this Power Metal act seems to be doing much of the same thing, but this time descerning a specific Power Metal path that is much stronger and powerful then before.

Musically, Origins follows a pretty strict traditional Power Metal foundation. Musically, it’s nothing that unique or like anything you haven’t heard before. However, the band brings in a very energetic performance here, and there’s no denying that some songs have a very strong and almost epic feel at times, specifically around the start of the track, and just continuing from there. “The Curse” has some fantastic music that shows that epic performance level and pure Power Metal attitude from start to finish, and given the clean singing, the song takes on a very emotional atmosphere as well. Of course, the vocals aren’t anything too much out of the ordinary either, and comes off like many traditional Power Metal before, showing off a good amount of energy and passion that instantly becomes moving right from the start of the album.

But, that’s not the only vocal approach used in the album, and that’s what really hurts this release. While the songs feel epic and emotional, one of the main problems this release has is that it poisons all this with some background screaming. It’s one thing for the band to have a random moment where the vocals go from clean singing to a rhaspier, more aggressive style when necessary. “Dying Force” proves this well, though perhaps not at the most convenient of times. However, there’s no need to have clean singing vocals that match the music so nicely, and ruin them with higher pitch chihuahua-like rhaspy screams behind those clean vocals. It’s horribly distracting, and quite literally aggrivating beyond belief. This style appears behind the vocals of pretty much the entire length of “Bloodline” and “The Curse”, but luckily isn’t as abused as that afterwards. There are also times where some gutteral vocals will appear, again, such as with “Dying Force”, where they blatently sound like the vocalist cupped his mouth over the microphone. Not only does it sound horrible, but it sounds amateurish beyond belief for such a powerful and professional album, and it’s something that needs to be stopped right away from the band. Sadly, this is only the start of the album with this.

For the most part, the music of Origins feels really passionate and powerful, but there are tracks that are just solid, strong, traditional Power Metal songs, and they do make for a nice change of pace, even if they aren’t quite as moving. “Aftermass” is the first track you’ll come across that feels this way, using a general traditional Power Metal foundation and a vocal performance that doesn’t really have the same kind of passion behind it. The music is strong, but much lighter and utilizes the keyboards more as a support for the rather hook-driven guitars instead of focusing on trying to aid the music overall in sounding beautiful. Tracks like these pop up throughout the recording, such as well “Red Rain” and the brief “Infinite Trance”, both having more of a laid back, hook driven feel then a focus on beauty. However, “Lost, Plagued and Redefined” manages to shake things up. Each song on the album goes at a rather fast tempo, and the ones not so powerful and tamer go a little slower, but not by much. This track, however, starts out with a ballad, moving at a very slow pace, and utilizing some echoes to make it feel more atmospheric, dark and emotional until the song slams right into the heavier, faster music with pounding drums and faster guitars that are performed in a more stern, intimidating manner then anything on this album before, making this song a very welcome change up to the formula of Origins. In the end the song feels a little drawn out for ten and a half minutes, but it’s far from a bad song.

There really isn’t much else to be said about this album. Origins basically follows the various ideas and formulas as many other traditional Power Metal acts, but at the same time incorporates gutterals and higher pitched rhaspy shrieks and whatnot, and they don’t work out for them at all and become abused horribly at times. The music isn’t all that different from any other release of the style, and many of the songs have the same vibe to them, but aren’t anything that would make you go so far as to claim that the music is repetitive. In the end, CypherSeer brings a good amount of power, energy, and emotion to their craft, and the end result is a solid effort from the band that shouldn’t be shrugged off as easily as their debut full-length. Let’s just hope the band will drop the non-clean backing vocals completely by their next effort.

01. Bloodline – 6:04
02. The Curse – 5:46
03. Dying Force – 5:08
04. Faith Renounced – 5:42
05. Aftermass – 5:26
06. From the Womb – 5:39
07. Soul Sacrifice – 7:20
08. Red Pain – 4:27
09. Infinite Trance – 2:54
10. Lost, Plagued and Redefined – 10:31
11. As I Embrace the End – 6:18

Overall Score: 8.5/10
CypherSeer (band)
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Digital review copy of this release provided by Nightmare Records.