Cyclophonia - Impact is imminent 3.5/5

Reviewed: 11-1-12





Tracklist:

1. Impact is imminent
2. Warbird
3. The mirror
4. Retaliate
5. The hero
6. Hand of the righteous
7. Screams in the night
8. Die by my sword


At only 35 minutes long, Cycolphonia’s debut ‘Impact is imminent’ may not seem like much bang for your buck, but conciseness can often be one of a musician’s biggest allies.

While staying comfortably within the confines of the modern European power metal style, the Norwegians have honed a refined approach that crystallises the essence of a good song into a handy nugget, with needless faffing about kept to a minimum.

With no keyboards, intros, interludes or choirs, punchy riffs and uncomplicated but relentless beats are at the forefront of the songs. With this in mind, the rhythm tone for the guitars could do with being a little meatier, and the riffs do sometimes seem just a tad compressed and rob the songs of a little extra guts. There can be no complaints regarding the crystal-clear sound for the solos however, which tend to be the only thing to draw the length of the songs out at all in impressive fashion.

The only real extravagance that Cycolphonia boast is their unusual dual vocalist approach. Normally with 2 full-time singers on board the idea is to have contrasting styles that play off each other, but Kai Joar Kristensen and Andreas Angell are cut from very much the same cloth and tend to compliment rather than compete with each other.

With both in the upper range - one offering a bit of extra gruffness and the other a killer falsetto – it would be a forgivable offence to think that the band had only one singer guilty of a lot of double-tracking, as rather than simply alternating verses, the singers tend to weave in and out from each other, taking a line or 2 each before melding into a harmony. It’s a fairly different approach, and one that neither draws too much attention to itself or mires the songs in predictable repetition.

Despite the general unity of style and compact arrangements, still manage to mix it up a bit with a few thashy riffs here and there, and elegant neo-classical solos that add that extra touch of class. A few songs slow down a little an go for an approach of atmosphere over aggression, and there’s even room for a little bit of a hard rock vibe on “The hero”, which eases things down a little and offers a nice power/AOR groove. The prevalent power metal elements reach their zenith on the closing track, “Die by my sword”, which is a mighty, galloping conclusion to the CD with both vocalists in irrepressible form as the chorus stretches to a forceful crescendo.

The stripped-back style does mean that what you see is what you get, and while there will be precious little new surprises to discover after a few repeated listens, the CD remains a nifty power metal pep pill that does the job with little fuss and considerable style.



CREAG




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