Cyhra - 'Letters To Myself'

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Cyhra - 'Letters To Myself'

A superbly written and constructed album with fantastic, melodic and catchy choruses.

When Joacim "Jake E" Lundberg quit Amaranthe in February, it came as a shock to both the band and fans alike, but Lundberg had been feeling superfluous in the group and felt like he was becoming nothing more than a backing singer. He'd known ex-In Flames founding guitarist Jesper Strömblad for around a decade as he used to be the band's pyro technician, and it was these two that decided to form a group after initially writing together to help out with each other's solo album.

Then enter ex-In Flames bassist Peter Iwers, who a year ago quit the band after some eighteen years, former Shining (Sweden) guitarist Euge Valovirta and Luca Turilli's Rhapsody drummer Alex Landenburg.

With Strömblad's much publicised previous personal problems with alcohol addiction (that persuaded him to quit the band he founded) and Lundberg's frustration with feeling marginalised in Amaranthe, it's no surprise that a lot of the songs on this album have a very personal nature. The first track they wrote together was 'Letter To Myself' – it was released as the second single after 'Karma' – and offers an insight into personal problems like getting out of bad relationships and addiction. The heavy riffing and harmonised guitar playing from Strömblad harks back to his In Flames days and readily suits Lundberg's vocals as a lot of the songs carry a melodic guitar line that his smooth Tenor vocals ride on.

In fact, although there are obvious references to In Flames in the guitar playing department, and a lot of the electronic drum loops and synthesizers that are liberally spread amongst the songs giving a nod to Amaranthe, as is the familiarity of Lundberg's voice, these two Swedish musicians have very much created their own sound. Influenced by many different acts, one can also hear Linkin Park, for example, on 'Holding Your Breath' where Lundberg reaches some of the highest notes he's ever committed to record, but whichever flavour one cares to administer, there's no denying this is a superbly written and constructed album with fantastic, melodic and catchy choruses courtesy of Lundberg, and superlative riffing and harmonised solos from Strömblad. The rhythm section of Iwers and Landenburg isn't half bad either!

We've been saying it for years, whatever they put in the water over in Sweden, it's producing plenty of stunning Hard (Melodic) Rock bands to die for!

Carl Buxton

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