REVIEW: Halysis – Cerulean

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HALYSIS is a young band from Lahti, formed in 2015, and they released their debut “Cerulean” on 15 May 2020 independently. The Finnish quartet have delivered a powerful album, best described as contemporary progressive metal. 

Let’s start with the cover artwork, which might be a bit unusual due to its purple colour and the lack of a band logo or album title, but is nevertheless definitely worth a closer look. On first glance, the image of a young girl’s head appeared for me, though on second inspection, it’s a frightened man in a cave trying to hide from the light and the world outside. I’m not sure if this effect was intended or is just my personal impression, but I like it.  

Thematically, “Cerulean” is a concept album telling the story of a desperate man, trying to find his meaning in the world. The lyrics are a kind of prose, not following a recognizable story line, but the main theme is hopelesness and anger, which can be felt in most of the songs. Musically, HALYSIS are influenced by different styles and first of all, their music is heavy and percussive. The rhythm section drives the songs forward with lots of pressure, enforced by hard-hitting riffs. They lean a bit in every direction – you can find thrash, death, or melodic metal elements, which keep things interesting. The vocals are an expressive addition, with the mix of styles underlining the message of the songs. Clean melodies alternate with distorted parts and sometimes deep growls. Only the use of these high djent screams is too much for me at some points, especially as their singer has an amazing warm tone while singing clean in the deeper areas.

The album starts with “Echoes,” a two minutes electric/acoustic guitar intro, followed by “Fatefalls” with the first heavy riffs, which leave no doubt of the direction this album will take: straightforward! The next song, “Temple of Endless Skies,” confirms exactly this first impression. “Arbiter” is one of my favorite tracks on “Cerulean”: the amazing guitar/bass runs show the creative potential of HALYSIS and the melody line is very catchy.

From this point, they continue with the same formula, which makes the listening experience too repetitive for my taste in between, before they come up with new ideas, but “Frailty” demonstrates more of their creative potential: starting with energetic technical riffing and high pace, they slow down suddenly with an awesome acoustic guitar interlude before the final breakdown.

To sum it up, “Cerulean” is an interesting debut with a modern progressive metal sound. The rhythm section is very present and gives the songs the needed pressure. I like the mix of styles and the different vocals, even though I’d prefer more clean singing and fewer djent screams. There are some beautiful acoustic parts that bring a welcomed variety and underline the song-writing and technical abilities of the band. 

Written by Katha

Tracklist

  1. Echoes
  2. Fatefalls
  3. Temple Of Endless Skies
  4. Arbiter
  5. Celestial Vortex
  6. Ephemeral
  7. Luminous
  8. Frailty
  9. Animus
  10. 10.Nocturnall Fall
  11. 11.Cerulean

Lineup

Jose Pynnönen – Guitar
Santeri Salminen – Guitar
Samuel Arola – Drums, Vocals
Santeri Haikonen – Bass

Label

Independent

Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Halysisband/
Instagram: ttps://www.instagram.com/halysisofficial/
Bandcamp: https://halysis.bandcamp.com/