REVIEW: CYHRA – THE VERTIGO TRIGGER (2023)

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A few years ago, I reviewed Cyhra’s “No Horns In Hell” record. In that review, I wrote, “Cyhra isn’t strictly Power Metal; the glorious thing about Cyhra is that they aren’t really anything.”

Four years later, (the band deliberately refrained from releasing music when they couldn’t tour) they give us “The Vertigo Trigger,” and that’s still the case. Indeed, the only thing you can say for certain is that Cyhra is obviously European, in a way that would most probably trigger Nigel Farage, the prick.

These days, the five-piece has moved even further from their roots, but they’ve done so in an entirely natural way.

A quick history lesson: Jake E, formerly of Amaranthe, formed the band with Jesper Strömblad (ex-In Flames), and they added, among others, Euge Valovirta (The Shining). There, you’re up to speed.

Except you’re not. Not really, because album number three is their vision in its entirety. Produced by the band and mixed by Valovirta, this is undiluted Cyhra, if you will, and it is a modern metal masterclass.

“Ready To Rumble,” which they teased the album with last year, is basically the album in microcosm. It sounds huge, and the hook is big, but it’s metal enough to understand that denim and leather have unifying qualities.

New guitarist Marcus Sunesson keeps the riffs razor-sharp, and “Let’s Have My Story Told” has real depth to it.

“Live A Little” broadly takes Lord Of The Lost’s hinterland and makes it their own, and the keyboards that drive this throughout are at the forefront on the highlight that is “1,000,000 Fahrenheit.” When you think of the band as deceptively heavy, this is perhaps example number one.

That’s evident too on “Burned Alive,” which adds a gallop to a marching beat. But the power ballad was always going to be part of this, and it is, on “The Voice You Need To Hear.” This is arena-ready stuff, and it knows it too.

For every yin, there’s a yang here, though. “Life Is A Hurricane” is made for the live stage. It’s hard not to hear it without imagining some festival field jumping up and down. The solo bursts forth, and Alex Landenburg’s (Kamelot) drums crush on “If I.”

It’s impressive how fresh this sounds. There’s nothing traditional or “classic” here; instead, it’s clean and modern. “Fear Of Missing Out” understands it is a metal song; it just doesn’t see why it should sound dated. There’s no fun in that for anyone here.

Like on the last one, the lyrics here are never less than interesting. “Ashlight” is one of the best examples of this. “Your parents praise your first steps like you’re Armstrong on the moon,” notes E rather incredulously, but the breakdown here rivals anyone for crushing.

In true blockbuster style, however, they save an explosion for the end. “Too Old For Fairy Tales” is not only one of the best things here but also perhaps making a serious point about the band. No one here is inexperienced; no one here is going to get messed about. Cyhra is entirely comfortable in their own skin, and on “The Vertigo Trigger,” they’re flying as high as can be.

Rating: 8.5/10

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