Friday, November 18, 2011

Sypherion - Flames Of The Immortal Heart (2011)

Occasionally you run into those bands who are full of potential but are held back by their vocalists. Well Sypherion is a perfect example. The symphonic progressive metal band from Spain has released their debut album, entitled “Flames Of The Immortal Heart.” It’s a rollercoaster of a ride as you’re lifted by its wild musical sounds and catchy riffs but then dropped into disappointment with its flat and boring female vocals. Perhaps some auto tune would do the job.

“God Of War” has some incredible guitar riffs throughout the song and the melodies are heavy and catchy as well. The drums are another huge part that really jumps out as they hit you with lot of double bass pedaling and complex fills. When the male vocals kick in with the first verse, your kind of expecting some sort of high power metal voice seeing as how the music is so epic. That’s not the case here. The vocals are instead, low clean vocals performed with a harsh voice. It gets better with the chorus as a higher, more uplifting voice enters with catchy melodic lyrics. Meanwhile symphonic strings consume that background along with heavy chugging guitar riffs. The second verse starts out similar to the first with the rough clean vocals and aggressive behind them. Just as you’re starting to get used to this, a high pitched female vocal comes in and completely throws things off. These are not the angelic vocals you would expect to hear but instead are rather stale. Her voice just sounds flat and plain. Also the deliver sounds like it was sung by a robot. You won’t find any emotion from the female vocals. The track is saved with a hell raising guitar solo hitting high and low notes all over the place.

Unfortunately the female vocals are used a lot in the next song, entitled “Visions Of The Soul.” It looks like there’s just no escaping it. On a positive note, melodic guitars come rolling in with catchy tunes layered with snapping snares that’ll have you rocking out with your devil horns. You’re also met with a wick guitar solo towards the end along with lots of double bass pedal action. As far as the vocals go, they try to use some filter effects on her voice but really just makes her sound that much worse. The use this effect in “Flames Of Osiris” as well only on both her and the male vocals too. The symphonic opening makes you feel right at home especially with all of the monstrous guitar chugging and machine gun drum fills. In fact, the drumming in this track is remarkable. The speed and perfect timing of each kick is phenomenal. Definitely check this track out.

“Immortal Dreams” has got some epic strings that open with catchy guitar riffs chugging behind them. The verses consist of more of the female vocals however they don’t sound as flat as they did in earlier songs. She hit’s the notes pretty how but still lacks the energy in her performance. The distortion in the guitars is the only thing that really keeps this song alive and kicking. The album does however end with a decent closing track. The song is called “Inside My Sorrow.” It starts with gorgeous horns and catchy drumming. The female vocals enter in the verse and actually sound pretty descent. It’s definitely the best delivery on the album. Even the chorus sounds great. The lyrics are catchy and the guitars give it an uplifting feel. If there’s one track you don’t want to miss, it’s this one.

Clearly there are a lot of ups and downs to “Flames Of The Immortal Heart.” Musical the album is pretty good. The balance of strings and synths compared to the heavy guitar riffs really keep the album running smoothly. The only issue that is hit or miss is the female vocals. They sound off key at first but slowly get better throughout the album. A little more energy and emotion would be nice though. I think that if Sypherion works on their vocals they will have much better potential in the future.


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