Published on December 12th, 2019 | by Justin G.
CyHra: No Halos In Hell (Nuclear Blast, 2019)
Pop metal (seriously, it’s not an insult) supergroup CyHra is back with a new album, a new bassist and a new label. The band, newly signed to the Nuclear Blast label, still features guitarist Jesper Stromblad (ex-In Flames), vocalist Jake E. (ex-Amaranthe) and drummer Alex Landenburg (Kamelot, ex-Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody). This time out they’re joined by guitarist/bassist Euge Valovirta (ex-Shining). Also returning is producer extraordinaire Jacob Hansen (Amaranthe, Volbeat, Pretty Maids).
CyHra’s new album is titled No Halos In Hell, and it carries forward the same basic sound as we heard on the band’s 2017 debut Letters To Myself. This is very catchy, very modern synth-poppy hard rock (or metal if you squint a bit) that is right at home in a playlist with the likes of Amaranthe, Metalite, Battle Beast and Dynazty. Whether that’s a good thing or not depends on your tolerance for that sort of pop metal. It’s a not-so-guilty pleasure of mine, so I really enjoy the Jesper/Jake E. pairing.
The better songs on No Halos In Hell tend to be the heavier songs like “Dreams Gone Wrong,” “Man Of Eternal Rain” and “I Am The One,” since those really showcase Stromblad’s best riffs. Oddly enough it’s the ballad “Battle From Within” that makes the biggest impact, thanks largely to how well the lyrics resonate (and how great Jake E. sounds delivering them). The songs in-between heavy and light like “Out Of My Life,” “Kings Tonight” and “Blood Brothers” are great examples of CyHra’s sound.
The electronica/synth elements are right up front on this album, and for the most part that works well, thanks in no small part to Jacob Hansen, who has plenty of experience crafting this kind of pop metal.
While I’d still love to see CyHra go “full Clayman” and give me something I can bang my head to, I’m really enjoying this collaboration. This is a very melodic, very accessible album that really works its way into your subconscious. You will be singing bits of these songs and humming specific melodies at random points for a while after listening to it. If you enjoyed the first CyHra album, you’re going to enjoy No Halos In Hell. And if poppier metal bands like Amaranthe, Dynazty, Battle Beast and Delain are your thing, you’ll definitely want to give this album a spin.
Edition Notes: There is a special edition CD version of No Halos In Hell that comes in a digipack and includes a second disc with six bonus tracks, including two new songs and alternate/acoustic versions.
Summary: Catchy as hell, but it packs a punch