CyHra - Letters To Myself review


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Band: CyHra
Album: Letters To Myself
Release date: October 2017

01. Karma
02. Heartrage
03. Here To Save You
04. Muted Life
05. Closure
06. Letter To Myself
07. Dark Clarity
08. Holding Your Breath
09. Rescue Ride
10. Black Wings
11. Inside A Lullaby
12. Dead To Me

CyHra brings Peter Iwers and Jesper Strömblad of In Flames together with erstwhile Amaranthe vocalist Jake E, backed by drummer Alex Landenburg (of many projects, including Mekong Delta) and guitarist Euge Valovirta (formerly of Shining). That's an impressive array of credits. Some might call this a supergroupů perhaps before they've listened to it.

CyHra, as expected, sounds like Amaranthe with one lead vocalist rather than three; minus Elize Ryd's voice, the pop hybridization becomes less explicit, and minus harsh vocals, some of the edge evaporates (along with the breakdowns, uninterestingly enough). The resulting sound might be more palatable to listeners seeking a streamlined, straightforward, heavy rock band, but it lacks the variety of textures and flavors that Amaranthe could offer. CyHra probably hits too close to home for any In Flames fans who still lament the loss of the old band and have wandered away from them over the years (which would be all In Flames fans?). I'll admit to enjoying Letters To Myself more than Battles, since I had at least expected this approach from an Amaranthe offshoot and nothing about CyHra suggests they're taking any of this more seriously than they should, except for the super-edgy narration on the last track. Even so, I suspect that anyone to whom the names behind this band mean something is likely to be disappointed by the result.

Letters To Myself contains nothing that hasn't already been stumbled onto by a hundred hard rock-oriented alt metal bands. The songs are mostly filler designed to string the listener along until the chorus hits, merely three-to-five-minute collections of big, chunky, generic riffs that pound away with enough adrenaline to be classified as "heavy," but then the choruses don't quite get their fangs in deep enough to be memorable. Most tracks also feature a baseline of keyboards and various electronic effects to establish further continuity with Amaranthe and give CyHra some more personality to separate it from the hordes of other bands I heard pretending to be Three Days Grace ten years ago. Try as they might, though, CyHra just can't seem to find solid footing.

This music is perfectly suitable for the radio, and if it weren't for the fact that Jake E's lean, distinctive voice helps boost some of these songs into the realm of actual quality ("Heartrage," "Holding Your Breath," "Inside A Lullaby"), I'd say this album was truly mediocre. It's all perfectly earnest pop rock that hits a little harder than usual; if it were especially catchy, I'd say, fine, it's air-headed and shallow, but it gets stuck in my head, so it's a guilty pleasure. Unfortunately, this album is really hurting for a strong single, and those three aforementioned tracks are not strong enough together to keep me interested in CyHra for very long, unless I spontaneously feel like a dose of Jake E's voice (of which I do happen to be a fan) and don't feel like investing any important part of myself in a listening experience.

CyHra is an uncomplicated band. It does only one thing; it's not a particularly interesting thing, loads of artists have done that thing already, and there's nothing substantial to sink your teeth into and wrestle with for an extended period of time, but whether you love CyHra or hate CyHra, it will be immediately apparent to everyone why that is and basically impossible to argue against it.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 5
Production: 7


Written on 26.10.2017 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 5 users
26.06.2018 - 20:12
A very nice and fitting review which expresses my opinion aswell. I was expecting much more from those people, was even hoping for an old in flames approach, but i guess it was stupid enough to think so. Not really disappointing, but unfortunately no nice surprise, too.

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