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Cyhra - Jesper and Peter's new band

Discussion in 'In Flames' started by Traxan, Aug 27, 2017.

  1. DE4life

    DE4life 'ello treacle

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    First impressions...

    Karma - 9.5/10

    I've already made my opinion on this clear - awesome song. Amazing melodies, powerful vocals, great energy throughout.

    Black Wings - 7/10

    Jake's vocals are at the forefront here. Fairly slow song, mixes guitars and piano fairly effective. Vocals are fine. It's not particularly memorable but not a bad track either. The solo takes the track in a faster direction before the end (I actually quite like it) but I'm not sure it fits with the overall song.

    Inside a Lullaby - 7.5/10

    I can imagine Eochaid and Krofius absolutely hating this one :D again Jake's vocals are front and centre, carrying the song with some nice piano melodies. I prefer this one to Black Wings, but they're both kinda similar. Both a showcase for Jake.

    Dead To Me - 7/10

    I'm not sure about this one. It starts off with some dude talking, it almost feels like it's a response to The Jester's Door, starting lyrics:

    What more can a man do than do the right thing, right?
    I came to the crossroad where my mind wandered - where would I be? What would I become?
    The mask is burning, the heart aches from a path of errors
    I'm infected through addiction, and I live a life... but my sanity[audio seems to fuck up on my copy here?] to evil
    To whom it may concern, live with the notion, the scars that you can't see
    But I... I will come out stronger, and in the long run a winner, against my greatest fucking enemies
    You're all dead to me


    Acoustics during this song are strongly reminiscent of the In Flames acoustics from back in the day (and at the end of Alias), recognisable straight away, which is nice. Suddenly at 2:17 we get some heavy guitar work midway through a repeat of the chorus, then the intro dude repeats the "I came to the crossroad where my mind wandered - where would I be? What would I become?" line, before Jake sings a little more, chorus is repeated and the song ends with some kick ass melodic riffs. This one is all over the place to be honest. I kind of like it but structurally it's a bit of a mess.

    Heartrage - 7/10

    I was expecting something a bit heavier based on the title alone, and this one does indeed pick up the pace. Some nice melodies at the start, breaks down with some unnecessary electronics around 00:40 then onto the chorus which is kinda slow and unconvincing. Around 02:08 there are a few nice guitar melodies, but before they get started properly it breaks back down into electronics and Jake's vocals. Another one I'm not sure about. Chorus is catchy, some good riffs, but... I dunno. Again, the structure is a bit loose, and the electronic elements aren't really adding anything. Anyway, it's fine overall.

    Here to Save You - 7/10

    Nice intro, which is then interrupted by electronics and Jake's singing. Jeez, this is kind of like listening to Siren Charms structurally at times, just with much more energetic riffs and far superior vocals. I never thought I'd be making that comparison on this album, but there it is. Song speeds up a bit and Jesper rips an awesome solo, then back to the usual. Chorus is as you'd expect from this album. I don't know what happens at 02:48, sounds like somebody just plugged in the soundboard from an 80's arcade game. It shouldn't be there. I'm getting the feeling this album could have done with a stronger hand on production taking all of these random elements and reigning it in a bit.

    Muted Life - 7/10

    Nice melodic opening which lasts about 38 seconds before slowing down for Jake's vocals (again, sorry to make the SC comparison, but this is exactly how it was in SC - melodic intro followed by slow, quieter verse). There's nothing inherently wrong with this song but it's not a whole lot different to what has just come before it.

    Closure - 9.5/10

    The opening to this one has older In Flames (and I would say even some of the more melodic parts of ASOP) all over it. Really nice. This actually flows really well into the verse and vocals, which is an improvement over the last couple of songs at least. It's another slower track, but I actually really, really like this one. The strongest track behind Karma, imo. The entire song flows really smoothly, the atmosphere is chilling, the melodies are beautiful. Chorus is Jake's vocals at their best, piano elements working very well in contrast with his voice. Melodic guitars at around 03:08 are awesome too. This song has some real emotion behind it.

    Letters to Myself - 7.5/10

    This song was actually more representative of the album than Karma, as it turned out. It's actually a bit better to my ears after listening to the whole album. It's like a weird mix of traditional Power Metal (especially in vocals and chorus) and the melodic metal of ASOP. It's not terrible, but the solo is a bit underwhelming here. It fits the song though, which doesn't happen across the entire album, so that's a plus. The chorus here really reminds me of another band, but I can't think of who. It's a PM band. Oh well.

    Dark Clarity - 6/10

    Beginning of this song is very 80's metal-ish, which is kind of cool. The melodies are then accompanied by some unnecessary electronics (how often have I said that?) and once again we slow right down and Jake's vocals take over for the verse. Chorus is one of the weaker ones on the record imo. Not much to say about this one, other than that there's too much electronic stuff going on. I want to listen to the guitar work, not some random keys playing over the top of it. The electronic stuff kind of ruins the guitar melody breakdown which is actually good.

    Holding Your Breath - 7/10

    This time we start with Jake's vocals, which I don't think are carrying a great melody. His actual vocals are OK but the melody isn't quite right to my ear. It gets better after the first chorus as the rest of the instruments start to back the vocals up. This one's fine but as I get to the end of the album I feel like I've heard this already, just with different lyrics. Jake does go to a slightly higher vocal register at points here which is very reminiscent of traditional PM.

    Rescue Ride - 7/10

    Starts with keys and Jake's vocals, which are this time carrying a much better melody. Rest of the song is very much as per the majority of the album. It's not bad but nothing to write home about either.

    So, yeah, overall I'm kinda disappointed by this. I mean it's not bad or anything, but structure of the songs somehow manages to be all over the place and yet predictable at the same time. Choruses sound very similar across the board. Jake is a good singer but there isn't enough variety in the music to help him. He's carrying too much melody with his vocals during the verses, Jesper saves most of his melodic work for the intros and outros, plus the random solos which are fine but don't fit a lot of the songs they were inserted into. Again, this is highly reminiscent of Siren Charms. Are we sure Jesper had no say in how that album was constructed?

    I expected Karma to be a representation of the album as a whole, but it isn't. Most of the album sounds nothing like Karma. That's unfortunate as for me Karma is by a fair distance the best song on here (Closure excluded). The album doesn't have the energy I was expecting. There are some injections of that melodic power into various songs at different points, but so much of the album is either slow paced or overusing electronics. As I said in my description of Here to Save You, this album is begging for a strong producer to rectify some of the more obvious mistakes that stunt some of the tracks' momentum, or parts that would simply have been better off cut out entirely. The album is kind of like a novel that hasn't been proof-read - the author gets his point across but doesn't do so in the most polished way. A lot of decent 7/10 stuff but the only songs that really felt like they had been brought to their full potential were Karma and Closure for me. Both excellent tracks.

    It's funny that the album is called "Letters to Myself", as it feels more like this is Jesper's letter to everybody else trying to explain himself. A88 mentioned that the lyrics are what Anders would like to write - and I think the difference is that these lyrics are authentic. I think a lot of what Anders' writes about in terms of being sad or angry come from an observers standpoint and can come off as contrived or fake. My immediate thought is that these lyrics seem to be coming from Jesper's heart. I don't know if he wrote them directly but he must have had a hand in their construction. Don't get me wrong, they aren't going to win any awards for wordplay, but they feel real and genuine in a way Anders' lyrics often don't... and that makes a big difference.

    Overall I expected something different from this album which is why I felt a bit disappointed upon first spin. It's not a bad album - it lacks some polish, there is an overabundance of electronics and structurally I feel the songs leave a bit to be desired - but there are some nice melodies in here, Jake is solid throughout, and both Karma and Closure beat anything In Flames have put out since SOAPF for me. I'd still put SOAPF above Letters to Myself, mainly because LtM has too many choruses that sound the same and is often lacking in energy. I felt SOAPF did a great job of mixing the chorus melodies and keeping the energy level up from beginning to end. LtM obviously wasn't ever intending to do so, but from the two released singles I expected it to be, so it's not met my expectations there.

    Total Album Rating: 7.5/10 - a decent enough debut and I'm sure this was a cathartic process for Jesper. I very much hope they make a second album and tighten their sound up. This band could be amazing with a bit more variety and a seasoned producer giving some advice on how to enhance some of the tracks to reach their full potential. I'd be interested to know who produced this - because it sounds like for the most part the band were allowed to do whatever they wanted without any oversight. Ideally that would change next time around - if there is a next time, that is.
     
    #101 DE4life, Oct 19, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
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  2. DE4life

    DE4life 'ello treacle

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    I've got to say, again, Closure is just such a good song. The chorus lyrics are just so intense.

    i'm a child from the stars
    That got lost in the dark
    Between heaven and hell
    I am forced to live on
    I am the cause when you sin
    I am the demon you skin
    But there is no more tears to beautify
    This is my last goodbye


    If Anders was writing stuff like that I wouldn't be ripping on him. The lyrics are enhanced by Jake's superb vocals and complimented perfectly by the instruments. I love the guitar following the lyrics at 03:17 too. TCP epic? No, this song is epic. It's so well constructed. I wish every song on the album sounded this polished. I'm upping my initial rating of 9/10 to 9.5/10. This one's equal with Karma for me, in a totally different way.
     
    #102 DE4life, Oct 19, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
  3. A88

    A88 Bottled - really not the worst IF song ever.

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    I couldn't agree more.

    Album is a good one, and it sounds honest. Closure really is one of better if not the best track, and emotion and honesty wins the day here.

    But, the whole thing lacks a bit direction and someone the kill all that out-of-the place cheap, screechy electronics (I mean wtf dudes!?). Also, some dynamics and a few faster, more riff-oriented songs would do wonders for this record.

    Better than SC and Battles (funny enough, very similar in style and intention to those two), on par with SOAPF, but I like SOAPF more.
     
  4. eochaid

    eochaid Asshole

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    But it was almost exactly as I thought that it was going to be. 12 songs, Jake in the vocals... there were too many clues.

    Someone, in a review, said that it was between ASOP and SOAPF in terms of style. I almost agree.

    I now fucking hate electronics. They add nothing to the songs, except for a "modern" sound, if you understand what I mean.

    That was my first thought. Many of the choruses resemble each others, as if the singer is following the same patterns once and once again. His singing is good (at least in studio) but it lacks a personality, or, to say it better, his voice and his style lack personality.

    I don't think that he had anything to do with the lyrics.
     
  5. A88

    A88 Bottled - really not the worst IF song ever.

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    Intro for Dark Clarity must be one of the worst uses of electronics in recent memory. Great melody, energetic drumming and then, that fucking cheap biiiips randomly overlaid over everything.
     
  6. DE4life

    DE4life 'ello treacle

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    Funnily enough, this album proves that the structure of SC wasn't its main issue. I always wondered how much it impacted the album's quality, but there's a lot of similar structural elements between SC and LtM. Melodic intros and outros with quiet, electronic laden verses and clean vocals, catchy choruses and solos that appear at roughly the same point in almost every song.

    The huge difference is, as you said, the emotion and honestly. LtM is hindered by the structural flaws but despite that is still a very good album because the melodies have passion and, obviously, the vocalist can actually fucking sing. In SC the structure is just one part of a shitload of problems that plague the album.

    I didn't expect that ballads would be what I most enjoyed (other than Karma) on this album, but I think Inside a Lullaby and Closure sound really great. I wish there had been one or two other songs in the Karma vein though. It kind of sticks out on the album as different from all the others.
     
  7. DE4life

    DE4life 'ello treacle

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    I disagree. Both released singles didn't suggest there would be songs like Dead To Me, Here To Save You or Dark Clarity across the record. As for Jake - the stuff he did with Amaranthe doesn't really sound like anything on LtM - Karma's as close as the album gets to Amaranthe imo. It feels like too often the vocal melodies are repeated, as you say, or maybe rushed. They needed to take more time to make them unique, they sound very much like generic copy-n-paste power metal vocal melodies on many of the tracks.

    Yeah I don't know what were thinking. 02:48 on Here To Save You is horrendous as well. Total WTF moment.
     
  8. A88

    A88 Bottled - really not the worst IF song ever.

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    Karma is like some strange IF wannabe lost on a modern melodic metal album. Not surprised they choose that song for the single. I guess that's the closest thing to what we all expected. LtM was also playing it safe.

    Problem with SC was lack of ideas, trying to force different ideas together in one song and mostly how shit Anders is at singing and writing vocal melodies for verses. Amaranthe dude does it so much better.

    Oh, and 2.48 Here to save you thing.... Wouldn't it be better if they did Episode 666-like guitar tapping instead?
     
  9. DE4life

    DE4life 'ello treacle

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    Practically anything would have been better. It just sounds so incredibly out of place. It comes out of nowhere and totally derails the song. A good producer would have cut that out straight away. I guess at least now we know who to blame for all of those electronic elements creeping into IF's stuff after Whoracle... it wasn't Anders, it was fucking Jesper :D
     
  10. A88

    A88 Bottled - really not the worst IF song ever.

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    I would blame Jake... That fucking sounds seem like Amaranthe music 1/1.

    Oh, and I must say I'm impressed how well Jesper swims through genres. From power metal, through death metal, melodeath, hardcore and whatnot and back.
     
  11. eochaid

    eochaid Asshole

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    That's because I read the reviews and you didn't :p

    No. I'm talking about the moment that they announced the band. I expected some kind of easy metal filled with catchy choruses and pop vocal melodies. If anything I expected jesper riffs to be less heavy. Many of them could perfectly fit in old in flames albums.

    They say that they took their time for creating the songs. So the lack of variety might be due to Jake's lack of ability, to a fault of the producer or both at the same time.
     
  12. DE4life

    DE4life 'ello treacle

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    Listening to Black Wings a couple of more times and digging it a bit more. Intro vocals are good, chorus is good, 02:30 - 2:58 is really fucking nice too. The last 30 seconds are pretty sweet melody-wise too.
     
  13. DE4life

    DE4life 'ello treacle

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    Hmmm... well, the difference is that Amaranthe keys work well in their songs. These don't, they sound more like the random keys In Flames/Jesper spread across STYE, Come Clarity and ASOP. I can't imagine Jake had anything to do with the keyboard side of things in Amaranthe, whereas we know Jesper had a huge hand in music composition of In Flames' albums up until his departure.

    I think Jake proves across the album he's pretty diverse vocally, and can create some good vocal melodies. I guess he either got lazy or felt pressured to get some of the choruses finished. I dunno. These guys only just started working together so it's hardly a surprise that the music isn't perfect yet.
     
  14. DE4life

    DE4life 'ello treacle

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    Looks like Winamp fucked up and I reviewed the album in a totally random order... oh well :D
     
  15. A88

    A88 Bottled - really not the worst IF song ever.

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    Maybe Jake is used to singing along other singers and he's still trying to find a way to do everything on his own. I'm not a big fan of that vocal style, but guy knows how to sing, and his melodies are really not bad (look at Inside a Lullaby - that works quite well, great feeling for melody). He just need something between his parts to break the sameness, if not another singer, then more guitar content.

    Wow, just noticed that InFlamesque acoustics in Dead To Me. Sounds like Pallar Anders Visa.
     
  16. DE4life

    DE4life 'ello treacle

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    Yeah I think that's part of it. Jake has been a part of a threesome vocally for a while now and, honestly, on Amaranthe he was probably the least used vocalist. Main two vox were the female lead and the screamer, with Jake filling out other parts. I can see why he wanted to branch out on his own, as he has an excellent voice and will only get better from striking out on his own. He won't hit a home run every time straight away, but in time he'll improve. He definitely enhances many parts of this album in a way Anders never could which must be refreshing for Jesper.

    Dead To Me has some really nice parts, I'm not sure about the speaking parts though. I can see what they were going for but not sure it really works. It certainly shouldn't have been brought back mid way through the song, even if only for one line. Again, an experienced producer would likely have spotted this and advised a change.
     
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  17. A88

    A88 Bottled - really not the worst IF song ever.

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    I was just about to say that about that spoken part and producer. It seems we agree too much on this one. :)

    Also, I think guitars on the whole album would sound better and more organic without giving the space to that awful electronics. Piano parts are cool though.

    Jake really shines in Closure. Not just catchy chorus, but that half-spoken part in the beginning also. As I give more spins to this album I'm liking his vocals more and more. Just a few cringy moments where he goes too high or too gay.
     
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  18. eochaid

    eochaid Asshole

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    This... we all knew :p
     
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  19. DE4life

    DE4life 'ello treacle

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    Well, he's pretty much a Power Metal vocalist so he's gotta have a bit of gay in there :D

    If the electronics were totally stripped from the album it would be better off. Piano parts are fine and done really well, electronics not necessary at all.

    I'm actually impressed with Jake. His parts in Amaranthe never really sounded THAT good. He was a competent singer but he wasn't ever given that much to work with. Karma, Inside a Lullaby, Closure and Black Wings are really strong lead vocal performances. He sounds a natural as lead singer and in a relatively short time has created some really solid vocal melodies alongside Jesper on this album.
     
  20. eochaid

    eochaid Asshole

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    No, it wasn't. THough, for some reason, a friend of mine (musician) says that there's something weird with the song structures in Battles. Something about counting something that I could not understand.

    Going back to SC. The main problem is that they went without a plan and(or) ideas, and that, the same that happens with Battles, Bjorn is lazy. His riffs are those from someone who doesn't really seem to want to be there, as in a repetitive job. THe only one who is truly passionate about his job, in both albums, is Anders. And, to be honest, if the music was better, or good, I wouldn't care about Anders going pop, as long as I could enjoy some good riffs. But, when you listen to those songs without the vocals, the music says nothing. It's just a filler.
     
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