Originally published in the Hindu Metroplus Bangalore Edition on April 17th, 2013
Cypher16 – Determine EP
Constant Evolution Records
How does a band become big in India, gain the nod of one of UK’s leading metal magazine (Metal Hammer) and still decide to only put out a five-track EP? That’s one puzzling question while listening to Cypher16’s second EP, Determine. The London metal band is different, and popular, but not huge. In India, though, they’ve visited several times in the last three years to play at college festivals, open air concerts and the odd club show in Mumbai, Kolkata, New Delhi and Bangalore.
With success like that, when you turn your attention to music, you realise Cypher16 is giving every fan of modern and classic metal something to join their heads and headbang in unison, to their mix of thrash metal, metalcore, groove metal and even hints of power metal. They really do throw in everything metal on the six-minute ‘Surge To Serenity’, from mellow prog rock build-ups, to epic choruses big best suited to stadiums. Vocalist and guitarist Jack Doolan prefers to sing to the big crowds, from the breakdown-friendly opener ‘Giant Walls’ to their previously-released popular single ‘Lonely Road’. Doolan and his band particularly believe that you don’t have to scream to be metal, and it’s interesting to see them carry off the intensity and aggressiveness of heavy music without any screaming or growling. On the metal front, they let their riffs do the talking.
The question raised in the beginning still remains as to why they would settle for a five-track EP, as opposed to a full-length album, but one can hardly blame bands for wanting to pin a particular sound down in five tracks, rather than stretch it on for 10, which usually tends to bore listeners.
That said, Cypher16’s Determine is a strong EP with a good mix of melodic alternative metal. If they have really gained a good number of fans in India, they’ll love this EP.