|Release Date||15 November 2019|
|Record Label||Nuclear Blast|
As a longtime fan of Amaranthe, I was actually pretty psyched when its founder and vocalist, Jake E, announced he was leaving to form his own band back in 2016 (or was it 2017?). As Amaranthe continued to venture further and further away from the metal/pop hybrid it began as into an outright pop outfit with metal instruments, this new band, CyHra, held my hopes of bringing Jake E’s songwriting talents back into metal, where they belong. Fortunately, CyHra’s debut, Letters to Myself, was exactly what I expected: a super-electronic, riff-heavy, melodic modern metal album. It had sincerity, it had charisma, and it had the musical chops to stand as a notably-impressive debut.
So, you can imagine my fucking disappointment upon first finishing No Halos in Hell. Despite Letters to Myself being an incredibly synthetic album to begin with, No Halos in Hell basically feels like an artificial ripoff. Furthermore, it’s the type of album Jake E appeared to be avoiding by leaving Amaranthe. Most of the songs sound the same, it’s one-dimensional, and it floats along with limited-to-zero dynamic range and beats the shit out of you with the exact same fucking chorus like fifty times. Usually, I would provide specific examples, but I’ll be honest; even after four full listens, I still can’t tell half the fucking tracks apart, so, unless I were to make an elaborate chart of which-song-reuses-what, a general idea’s all you’re gonna get.
Aside from the painfully uninspired simplicity of the songwriting and melodies, there’s another major contributor to this album’s demise: the choruses. Following the monotony of the verses, there’s always a very blatant attempt at a build in the prechoruses that promises an emotional climax in the chorus. Unfortunately, it almost never comes because the vocals float by, the guitars go nowhere, and the drums are too busy doing absolutely nothing. There’s a constant 16th-note feel throughout the entire album, and it would be so easy to throw in some cool grooves to really make the choruses shine, but no, that’s apparently too much to ask for.
In short, this album is an example of how not to make a pop metal album. While each individual song is passable, and a couple songs are actually good (‘Out of My Life’, ‘Blood Brothers’), it’s a fucking chore to listen to more than two at a time. CyHra are a talented band that have already proven themselves to be musically capable, but they really jumped the gun by going hyper-commercial in No Halos in Hell.
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