Cyhra’s” The Vertigo Trigger” out today, August 18, 2023 – Nuclear Blast
I must say, the four-year wait between “No Halos in Hell,” and “The Vertigo Trigger” was well worth it.
Cyhra’s first album, “Letters to Myself,” (2017 – Universal Music) is a personal favorite of mine, having provided me with some much needed comfort during a difficult time. “No Halos in Hell,” (2019 – Nuclear Blast), the band’s second album, is also a very good album. Release #3, “The Vertigo Trigger,” has a tinge of a different feel to it, but still remains clearly Cyhra.
I had the pleasure of being in Sweden earlier this summer and heard a bit of this album before the release. One thing about Cyhra: many elements of their sound are consistent mainly due to the vocal performance of Jake E. Musicians with such strong portfolios as Jesper Stromblad (also The Halo Effect, ex-In Flames), Jake E (ex-Amaranthe), Alex Landenburg (also Kamelot, ex-Annihilator), Euge Valovirta (ex-Shining), and Marcus Sunesson (Engel), how could anything from them be a bad release.
The album starts with Ready to Rumble. This song, released as a single in 2022, is a fast-paced, hard- hitting, highly melodic song that starts the album beautifully. Its anthem-like structure will translate well live with fans who will be able to sing along easily even if they are unfamiliar with the song.
Let’s Have My Story Told showcases heavy keys and a solid Jake E vocal performance. It’s a dreamy, flowy song with a catchy chorus. The riff that runs through the verses is distinct, and the drumming is fantastic. This song, like many on this release, features heavy emotion through Jake E’s empirical vocals. A staple in this album besides Jake E’s voice is the interspersed distinct wah guitar note-bending across multiple songs.
Live A Little is another keyboard heavy song that evokes strong emotion through the melodies provided by Jake E and his perfect tone. There is a lot going on with this song if you listen with headphones. Radio friendly, catchy, and heartfelt, there is a haunting break with piano, followed by a heavy slow chugging that drags (in a good way) and provides an element of surprise. It soon returns to the chorus that builds up nicely, followed by an abrupt ending that feels just right.
1.000.000 Fahrenheit has an unexpected start with a very pretty, guitar-heavy, groove. The keys and drums in the background are nearly unnoticeable as they are overshadowed by the beauty of Jake E’s voice. After the first chorus, there is a unique guitar part that makes for a nice transition. After each chorus, the guitar parts are really cool and exciting. The thing I love about Cyhra, and this album, is the ease with which you can understand and enjoy the song upon first listen even sans knowing the lyrics. While I wouldn’t say predictable, it has all the classic Cyhra elements that we are used to from wearing out the first two releases.
Buried Alive is more in line with “No Halos in Hell.” It has an interesting, slightly uncomfortable feel at first listen (which I love), and its unexpected off beat drumming makes this song very exciting. Regardless of knowing the lyrics, Jake E and crew have a way of letting you understand the emotion of the song purely by melody. If you know me, you know I have a great disdain for songs with “woah woah” lazy lyrics in songs, however, in this song they make total sense and fit well. This is another complex song and it confirms a trend in many of this release’s song endings.
The Voice You Need to Hear. I once heard Ritchie Blackmore say that Joey Lynn Turner could sing the phone book and it would be a hit. Jake E possesses this same quality. I don’t think there is a male vocalist with as pure and as vast of a vocal range as Jake E. Much akin to “Inside a Lullaby,” and “Lost in Time,” this ballad highlights Jake E and his elegant voice. The ending of this song is stunning. “The Voice You Need to Hear” is a song that will be satisfying to sing-along with (if you dare) — You know you can’t hit those notes!
Life Is A Hurricane was released as a single and it provides the song with a killer groove. It is clean and tidy, perfectly composed, and masterfully mixed. Full of guitar wahs and pristine snappy vocals, this is one of my favorite songs on the release.
If I was also released as a single and is very Jesper-esque with solid guitar melodies and a savvy and savory chorus. The abrupt stop, followed by the riff you experience is extremely satisfying. This is my absolute favorite track on this release. It’s full, powerful, girthy, shiny, and perfect (yea, I said girthy).
Fear of Missing Out is the most unusual song on this release, with dark guitarwork, a solid keyboard progression throughout, and, as always, a classic chorus. I loved the surprising key changes late in the song. Note: by unusual, I mean unexpected when compared to the other songs on the release.
Ashlight has a haunting start, followed up with a nice build-up, and a super sexy surprise towards the end. This song is an absolute gem and a tie for me with “Life Is A Hurricane,” and “If I,” for my favorites on “The Vertigo Trigger.” That note! Woah, Jake E hits it perfectly!
Too Old For Fairy Tales is a classic Cyhra song, but one I feel like I’ve always needed to hear. I’m liking the experimentation the men of Cyhra are doing with keys, and can see how vast the universe of experimentation can be with this band. While they always have something to say lyrically, I’m always excited to hear the beautiful guitar melodies and the levels that Jake E can take his voice to.
Cyhra is an important band to me for their honesty in lyrical content and musical talent. I am excited to see what the men of Cyhra do next. But for now, the gift of three solid, stellar releases will keep me happy until they grace us with another album.
By virtue of 14 references to Jake E in this review…I’d say his vocals were the standout of this release.
- There is not one uncatchy chorus.
- The guitar wahs are heavily peppered throughout many songs, slightly overpowering Cyhra’s previous guitar harmony sound.
- This album is more melodic than heavy. It seems this album could have gone either way (melodic or heavy). The use of keys and the guitars a bit in the background (and only really showcased in some songs) is what makes it less heavy. However, there ARE heavy parts.
- Jake E’s voice is better than ever.
- The men of Cyhra can do anything they want within this band it seems. From ballads to heavy groove-driven guitars… drum highlighted songs, and experimental keys, this album is classic Cyhra, however a bit more refined than the previous two.
- While they honed their distinct sound in “No Halos in Hell,” The Vertigo Trigger solidifies it.
- The journey Cyhra takes us on is one I want to stay on.
To order your copy: https://cyhra.com/
To listen: https://cyhra.bfan.link/ready-to-rumble.yde
To watch “Ashlight”: https://youtu.be/kGE9n2nHMrg
To watch “If I”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJsccYq9mHs
To watch “Ready to Rumble”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=El4yE3ikD_Y
Band photo courtesy of: chyra.com