Released: 2006, Rusty Cage Records
Reviewer: J. Campbell
Cypher’s debut album, DARKDAY CARNIVAL, is a blunt, workmanlike slab of melodic death metal. One doesn’t need to be reminded that melodeath, as a genre, is far past its prime, and that if you’re a young band stepping up to the plate, you’d better be packing something special. Despite their fervent efforts, it’s painfully clear that this band is not.
Not dissimilar in style to countrymates Callenish Circle (before they jumped the shark), Cypher adds a dash of modern thrash to their take on this well-trodden style. Unlike ‘The Circle’, however, they simply lack the ability to create a compelling riff…much less an entire song. Most tracks are confined to a mid-paced stomp, and when they try to juice up the tempo on songs like “Nailed To Redemption”, the guitar work seems awkward. The genre-requisite melodic fireworks are nonexistent, traded in for a landslide of relentless chugging. The lack of variation and flourish leaves a stale, vanilla aftertaste.
In spite of the monotony, vocalist/guitarist T puts forth an impressive performance from behind the mic, as his powerful howl toes the line between anger and anguish excellently. While the power and conviction he spits is undeniable, his vocal lines leave a bit to be desired…which brings about the culmination of this Danish band’s fatal flaw: they simply aren’t ready for prime time. This is a young band, and it’s woefully evident in their songwriting.
There’s nothing offensive about DARKDAY CARNIVAL (aside from song titles like “Rape The Willing” and “Make Thick My Blood”). It’s just insanely boring. Clearly, they’ve spent plenty of time listening to SLAUGHTER OF THE SOUL and THE GALLERY, and they draw from those albums with moderate success. But, frankly, I’ve heard all of these riffs recycled and regurgitated a million times over the course of the past decade, and they still sound a million times better when blasting out of the amps of the originators.
It’s 2007. FICTION is sitting on a shelf somewhere. Do yourself a favor.