US power metal band Cypher Seer released this solid debut Awakening Day back in 2007 to little acclaim, and that's a real shame as this is one hell of a metal album that needs to be investigated by those into the genre. Imagine a cross between early Fates Warning, Iced Earth, and Symphony X, and you have an idea of the direction this band is coming from. Plenty of big, fat, guitar riffs, sweeping keyboards, tight rhythms, and powerful vocals make up these 10 memorable and majestic songs.
The band have gone through some line-up changes since Awakening Day, and most importantly singer Michael Grant, who puts in a fine performance here, is no longer with the band. Those who prefer a vocalist with a rich, deep, and husky mid-range style over a screaming high pitched wail will love his delivery here. Sure, he can hit the high notes when needed, but it's not where he resides for the most part. Tunes like the epic sounding title track and the symphonic "Pieces of My Beginning" show how much depth he has, and he displays plenty of emotion on the prog-metal opus "Malachai's Reign". There's plenty of huge guitar riffs and ethereal keys on the crunchy "Act of Desperation", and "Walk Through Hell" sees the twin guitar team of Sergio Ribeiro & Rob Mariani really laying down a solid wall of riff-o-rama amidst a pounding rhythm and floating synths, much like vintage Iced Earth. The closing 3-part epic "Haunted Saga" is a real prog-metal fan's delight, as the raging & at times complex guitar work is adorned with keyboards and frantic drum fills as Grant puts his heart and soul into the vocals.
Cypher Seer are supposedly hard at work on their next release, which they hope to release here in 2010. I had the opportunity to see the band open up for Epica recently, and their current line-up is very strong, so it will be interesting to see how the studio material with the revamped band in tow.
In short, definitely a band to keep your eye on.
2. Awakening Day
3. Pieces Of My Beginning
4. Malachai's Reign
5. Act Of Desperation
6. Walk Through Hell
7. On Chained Down
8. Haunted Saga - Nocturnal Apparation
9. Haunted Saga - Haunted Visions
10. Haunted Saga - Final Encounter