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CypherSeer - "Origins" (CD)

CypherSeer - "Origins" CD cover image

"Origins" track listing:

1. Bloodline (6:04)
2. The Curse (5:46)
3. Dying Force (5:08)
4. Faith Renounced (5:42)
5. Aftermass (5:26)
6. From The Womb (5:39)
7. Soul Sacrifice (7:20)
8. Red Rain (4:27)
9. Haunted Saga Part II - Infinite Trance (2:54)
10. Haunted Saga Part II - Lost, Plagued And Redefined (10:31)
11. Haunted Saga Part II - As I Embrace The End (6:18)

Reviewed by on May 15, 2011

"Filler is evident, but amidst the traditional guitar shredding and drawn-out melodies are hints of defining traits that pose well for the band’s future."

With the short attention span of most music listeners, it’s tricky to write an album that’s over an hour long and maintain interest. Some bands are pros at it (Dream Theater and Opeth, for example). Power metallers CypherSeer do what they can with their sophomore record, “Origins,” but the challenge proves to be too great for the New Jersey five-piece. Filler is evident, but amidst the traditional guitar shredding and drawn-out melodies are hints of defining traits that pose well for the band’s future.

The band scurries along at a steady clip, never really slowing down for much of the record’s duration. With soaring clean wails and keyboard flourishes, “Bloodline” and “Dying Force” inject a majestic feel to the record. The use of raspy growls on these two tracks are misplaced, and an unnecessary factor to the music. It doesn’t gel well with the sound, and the band’s insistence on using them multiple times throughout “Origins” is a notable error in judgment.

The first half of “Origins” is a mix of hard-hitting anthems (“Faith Renounced”) and plodding bouts of dullness. The band’s musicianship is never in question, for the most part. Where the issues come into play is with song lengths that aren’t justifiable and no signs of memorable songwriting. After the solid opener “Bloodline” comes “The Curse,” a far inferior version of the former. Even crazy trade-off solos don’t do much for “Aftermass,” and combined with the boring “From The Womb,” creates a portion of the record that could have been cut out with zero repercussions.

“Origins” sways between competent and engaging, not sticking to one side for very long. The last third is where the band hits its stride with the catchy “Red Rain” and three-part “Haunted Saga Part II.” Together, the three parts take up almost twenty minutes. It’s an ambitious project with its ups-and-downs. “Infinite Trace” is a worthy start, its three minutes spent in a keyboard-induced instrumental buildup. While “Lost, Plagued, and Redefined” begins with subtle vocals and soothing piano work, awkward transitions and sloppy playing hurt the track, though not enough to ruin the awesome twists the three-parter takes.

Taken as a whole piece of music, “Origins” has clear flaws and lackluster moments. However, if you look at each track as an individual entity, the opinion of the record turns in favor of the band. When the band is on, “Red Rain” and “Haunted Saga Part II” are the result. When they seem a little off, “The Curse” and “From The Womb” come out. There could have been a song or two cut, which could have helped with flow. Power metal fans will enjoy “Origins,” although there isn’t much appeal to a wide audience.

Highs: Catchy songs near the end of the album, great musicianship

Lows: Out-of-place growling, filler in the middle portion of the album, way too long

Bottom line: An average power metal album with solid musicianship, but undistinguishable traits.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)