Consisting out some well-known faces from the European metal industry, CYHRA managed to surprise the whole world with their debut “Letters to Myself”, released in 2017. Two years later, the band has developed their sound and is back with a sophomore album “No Halos In Hell”, out on 15 November 2019 via Nuclear Blast. We knew we had to give it a listen!
During my interview with CYHRA last year, the band explained that some of the songs on “Letters to Myself” were a bit party poopers in a live situation, so this time around the band chose to create songs that would all work in a live setting. With guitarist Euge Valovirta being a bigger part of the songwriting process, the end result was explained as a bit more of a guitar-driven sound. This more developed sound is definitely a driving factor in one of the main differences between their positively received debut, and “No Halos In Hell”.
The album starts with the energetic first single “Out Of My Life”, a classic example of what this band has managed to do with the first album around. “Out Of My Life” has an excellent chorus and outstanding melodies. The album continues with the slightly heavier “No Halos In Hell”. Again, the band manages to come up with some catchy melodies and a chorus that will be stuck in your head for a long time after listening to it. “Battle From Within”, is a song that grew on me, due to its back story. The song is not only dedicated to Jake E‘s late brother Fredrik but should become a worldwide symbol of hope for everyone suffering from depression. “Battle From Within”, in general, is a beautifully melodic song, displaying important issues related to real-life experiences. The important thing to remember from the song is not only that there always is hope, that you are not alone, you are loved and you matter, and moreover that music like this has a definite healing power (which is also something we discussed during our latest interview with CYHRA).
“I Am The One” changes the tempo once again, and again has some very beautiful guitar melodies incorporated in the song. The added electronics are a nice touch to the song and make the song very detailed with great layers. “Bye Bye Forever” is yet another catchy song, with powerful verses, and a hard-hitting chorus. It’s perhaps the most poppy song on the album, and therefore would suit very well as a single. “Dreams Gone Wrong” continues in a similar way, I remember the band playing this track live, and it definitely was an outstanding live song with a lot of energy and emotion. In “Lost in Time”, Jake E shows his skills as a singer, by delivering an emotive and beautiful ballad, accompanied by a string section and piano. “Kings Tonight” is perhaps the most uptempo song, and also one of the heaviest songs on the album. This, again, will definitely make a great and dynamic song that fans can sing along to during live shows. While “I Had Your Back” continues in a similar way, it’s “Blood Brothers” that is easily my favorite track on the album. The song sounds different than anything that CYHRA has brought out, and yet keeps their identity so intact, with that IN FLAMES-like melody line, and energetic vocals. The song symbolizes the band’s brotherhood, and the pieces of the puzzle just fit. I hope the band keeps experimenting in the future as they did in here, everything is just right, from the drum patterns to the folk melody, the guitar solo, and all the melodies. Top-notch. After a song like that “Hit Me”, probably should have hit me harder, while a good song, it can’t top its predecessor, but if you listen to it as a single song, it definitely again has that catchy CYHRA vibe to it. “Man of Eternal Rain” does hit me in the right spot, I don’t know what it is about the song that makes it another one of my highlights, whether it’s the aggressive riffs, the vaguely familiar verses (I’m getting a bit of a THE RASMUS vibe somehow?), the outstanding and subtle use of synths, it’s all the right amount to make the song a perfect ending to the record, literally. The song ends like as if the band was performing it live for you, and has, therefore, the power to close the album off with a blast.
“No Halos In Hell” picks up where “Letters to Myself” left off. The band has managed to keep their core identity of an emotional, melodic band while introducing a bit more power to the songs. The pop elements that were previously present in “Letters to Myself” are still present, but they are not overpowering, often more subtle, and the album definitely is more guitar-driven. “No Halos In Hell” has more diversity to offer, but still focuses on huge anthems combining huge guitar-driven melodies, infectious vocal hooks, and pounding drums.
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. I Had Your Back
10. Blood Brothers
11. Hit Me
12. Man of Eternal Rain
Jake E – Vocals
Euge Valovirta – Lead Guitar
Alex Landenburg – Drums
Jesper Strömblad – Guitar
GALLERY: 13.3.2023 Kalandra, Monuments, & Leprous @ Vanha Ylioppilastalo, Helsinki
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