Jacob Hansen

Wed
09
Oct

CYHRA Release New Studio Album ‘No Halos In Hell’ on November 15

Artist: 
Friday, November 15, 2019
Categories: 
 
Boosted by the success of their 2017 debut, »Letters To Myself«, Swedish bashers CYHRA are using that momentum and pushing forward with a new album, »No Halos In Hell«, and Nuclear Blast fully behind them. Founded by vocalist Jake E (ex-AMARANTHE) and guitarist Jesper Strömblad (ex-IN FLAMES), CYHRA has gone from being reminiscent of the duo's former bands to having an identity all its own. In fact, »No Halos In Hell« is one of those rare albums that defies being placed neatly in a boxed-up metal genre coming out heavy and dynamic, yet loaded with melodic vocal hooks that stay nailed to the brain for days while keeping the impact hard and heavy. Fusing these two elements in the best way possible was CYHRA's main focus this time out. 
 
"When I was writing, I sat down and thought about what worked and what didn't work on the first album. What I was focusing on the most for »No Halos In Hell« was making the songs more live oriented, and I think that live 'friendliness' of the songs also brings the catchiness up to another level. I was constantly thinking about hook lines that should stick in your head." says Jake E.
 
As strong as »Letters To Myself« was as a debut, »No Halos In Hell« is head and shoulders above it in every way. The addition of guitarist Euge Valovirta (ex-SHINING) as a full member has raised the creative process to a level where, according to Jake E, "Everyone is playing to the point of what is best for the song." There is no showboating, no push-pull of the individual members trying to claim their moments in the spotlight. CYHRA is a unit and everyone involved is striving to get the most out of the songwriting. This included Jake E, as the principal songwriter, being open to ideas from his bandmates and working with American songwriter / keyboardist Mark Mangold (Michael Bolton, Cher) on the ballad ‘Lost In Time’.
 
»No Halos In Hell« also showcases Jake E's growth as a lyric writer, digging deep and going so far as to address his brother's suicide on ’Battle From Within’. He calls it a personal album but the lyrics are open to interpretation for the listener.
 
"I was trying to write the lyrics in a way that they mean something to me, clearly," says Jake E, "but I want the listener to hear the lyrics and know what those feelings are that I'm talking about."
 
For those that want to try and label CYHRA with a genre stamp, one listen through »No Halos In Hell« will instantly solidify the stance that Jake E and his bandmates think and play outside the box. This is reflected in the multi-faceted spread of tracks from lead-off track ‘Out Of My Life’, the thundering ‘Kings Tonight’, the soaring folk-flavoured ‘Blood Brothers’, the tender ‘Lost In Time’, and the schizophrenic ‘Hit Me’. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
 
As for the unique title of the album, it was Jesper Strömblad that came up with »No Halos In Hell«. In fact, it was proposed as the title for the first album before it was completed but CYHRA chose to wait for album #2. Trusting their instincts paid off in a big way.
 
"The great thing is that the title can be interpreted in many different ways," says Jake E. "I look at it as 'You've been good your whole life; you can't be here partying with us (laughs)."
 
Jake E | lead vocals (ex-Amaranthe)
Euge Valovirta | lead guitar (ex-Shining)
Jesper Strömblad | rhythm guitar (ex-In Flames)
Alex Landenburg | drums (Kamelot)
 
Producer - Jacob Hansen
Co-producer - Jake E
 
 
 
Wed
20
Aug

EVERGREY Storm Back With 'Hymns For The Broken' Sept. 26

Artist: 
Friday, September 26, 2014
Categories: 
Yes it's true, one of the most original metal bands to come out of Sweden, EVERGREY, almost called it quits. It wasn't a decision vocalist/guitarist Tom S. Englund had spent hours or weeks brooding over, but as time passed following the band's ‘Glorious Collision’ album from 2011 he felt less and less inspired to continue. Perhaps it was the splintering of the band line-up in 2010 - which saw Henrik Danhage (guitars), Jonas Ekdahl (drums), and Jari Kainulainen (bass) leave on friendly terms - or maybe it was the business side of the music that had worn him down, but Englund had seriously considered throwing in the towel. Fate had other plans, however, and he found himself working alongside his former bandmates due to circumstances beyond his control. The end result of that unplanned collaboration, which was meant to be temporary, resulted in a re-energized Evergrey creating ‘Hymns For The Broken’, arguably the strongest album in the band's 16 year career.
 
"We needed a stand-in drummer for a few shows that had already been booked," Englund explains, "because Hannes (Van Dahl) had been offered the chance to join Sabaton, so I naturally called Jonas to see if he was available. We also needed a second guitarist, so I asked Henrik and he was fine with it. While we were doing those shows we realized that we were having a lot of fun with the music again."
 
"I'd say that the guys coming back saved Evergrey because I wasn't 100% set on doing an album," Englund admits. "And I'm amazed. The band sounds hungry, the album sounds awesome, and I can say there's not a weak song on it. I like it a lot, which is strange because usually I'm so tired of the music after working on an album for such a long time. Honestly, I've never felt I've been as close to the music as I am with ‘Hymns For The Broken’ because all the bits and pieces are in there. It's exactly what my vision for the album was. Usually you get about 80% of it right, but this is 100% what we wanted."
 
Evergrey treads familiar musical territory on ‘Hymns For The Broken’, but they most certainly haven't rehashed any of their previous eight albums. Their trademark elements of dark and light, rage and melancholy, and Englund's signature vocals are all intact, but there's a raw energy in Evergrey's new music that hasn't been heard in years, if ever.
 
"I think you can hear that the album is full of energy, full of life," says Englund. "It's definitely hungry, and it sounds different from any of the other releases we have. I'm not bashing our other albums at all; ‘Hymns For The Broken’ is just a different approach. I sang pretty much everything in writing mode, so the initial ideas were there from the beginning. We didn't try to go back and polish things up. Also, bass and drums were recorded together live in the studio, and we didn't stop until we had the take we wanted. We were after the spontaneity and I think you can hear it."
 
Producer Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Amaranthe, Primal Fear) mixed ‘Hymns For The Broken’, whom Englund considers the best man for the job. According to him, Hansen knew instinctively what the band wanted to do with the new music. Working from the original demos, "he made the songs sound 100 times better."
 
Taking the cover art and song titles on ‘Hyms For The Broken’ at face value, it seems the thread woven through the album is tied to the concept of battle, war and revolution. Evergrey isn't making a political statement, however. Nothing could be further from the truth. ‘Hymns For The Broken’ is about the human struggle that has been so present on all of Evergrey's albums.
 
"For the last six years I've gone through a major transition, which has pushed me into corners where I've discovered things about myself that I didn't know existed," Englund reveals. "It's an album about finding out you're not the person you thought you were, which is something that can be scary and terrifying and rewarding. It's been one hell of a journey. I'm not saying that my journey has ended or that I have the answers to anything. I'm confident enough to stand here and do this again. I think we’ve used our music as a forum for people who feel the same way we do about things, to make people feel less alone in some way."
 
 
TRACKLIST
01. The Awakening
02. King Of Errors
03. A New Dawn
04. Wake A Change
05. Archaic Rage
06. Barricades
07. Black Undertow
08. The Fire
09. Hymns For The Broken
10. Missing You
11. The Grand Collapse
12. The Aftermath
 
Bonus CD includes piano versions of ‘Barricades’, ‘Hymns For The Broken’ and ‘These Scars’
 
LINE-UP
- Tom S. Englund (vocals, guitars)
- Rikard Zander (keys, backing vocals)
- Johan Nieman (bass, backing vocals) - Henrik Danhage (guitars, backing vocals) - Jonas Ekdahl (drums)
 
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