Kalisia
Cybion


3.5
great

Review

by fireaboveicebelow USER (108 Reviews)
January 16th, 2009 | 141 replies | 14,783 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist


8 of 9 thought this review was well written

So…here we are with a brand new take on the composition of a concept album, and who better to introduce it than a band no one knows, whose popularity is sure to explode very soon. The process of listening to a concept record is demanding, and though it can either appear as multiple tracks or a sole song, its length often induces an immediate selection of an audience. As well as providing the story in either lyrical or musical form, a concept always comes across substantially more effective if you meld the two. Between the story of the lyrics and music lies a bridge where musical boundaries can be purged, potentially allowing that much more of the emotional response to reach the listener. It is with these methods, as well as all unique attributes of each composer, that a concept can be expressed.

However, the best thing about being a composer is that the above paragraph can either be interpreted to your own beneficial effects, or ignored altogether. There are no rules, and therefore no boundaries. One of the most interesting things about this album specifically is the band actually developed a new language dubbed Kal, with its own grammar, semantic, calligraphy, and etymology. Kal results from the study of different living, dead or imaginary languages such as Sanskrit, Latin, English, Arabic, Greek, German, Japanese, and even Quenya and Tengwar. It required, as its creator Brett Caldas-Lima acknowledges, "a totally stupid amount of working hours in regard to the few times it is used". Plus, there is a myriad of guest musicians, such as Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy), Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon), Paul Masvidal (Cynic), Tom Maclean (To-Mera), and even Andy Sneap in the recording studio. All this added with the multiple duties of the four core members of Kalisia slaving over their instruments and computers for ten years humbly introduce to you Cybion.

This 70-minute sci-fi epic is said to be regarded as one piece of music rather than its allotted twenty tracks. Its structures are there to provide reference points to the listener, and may only make sense in its entirety, just like a movie. According to the band, “music and lyrics are very closely connected, developing atmospheres trying to provoke various emotions to the listener (oppression, happiness...), proposing (and not imposing) the listener a succession of pictures and feelings corresponding as closely as possible to the development of the story.” How well this will work naturally depends on you, but because the amount of genres present in this album is so eclectic and smooth in execution, and that there are no breaks between tracks, this can also become selective or welcoming depending on how open-minded and patient the listener is.

The music itself can range from melodic death metal to symphonic progressive metal to electronic to jazz to Arabian and so on, but the way the piece develops is seemingly influenced by movie soundtracks and modern classical composition. It begins with what could be called an overture with many orchestral elements slowly unfolding to a main theme performed by synth leads, fast-paced guitar, and intricate drumming. The harsh vocals are pretty typical, sounding exactly like the guy from Mors Principium Est, but his cleans meld sublime with the choir and female vocalist. The expansion of themes from this point on bond the multiple emotional attributes lyrically, vocally, and musically, for example using the old film noir saxophone mood to great effect, or the sound effects of computerized voices to drive the story into new dimensions…followed by a strange organ driven progressive jam.

At this point one would assume that it’s apparent this is nigh flawless. However, its faults are not only predictable, but consistent. For one, it has too many fallback points where it seems that at numerous areas there was a lack of direction so they just wrote another melo-death part to fill space until they came up with something else. This shows that it relies too heavily on this style, therefore outlining a sense of repetition, not in the form of recurring themes but in a redundant manner of sequences. In fact, it’s redundancy that distills the ultimate errors of the album, with not only the aforementioned hackneyed melo-death style, but with the one-trick harsh vocals, very similar drumming during said parts, drawn-out solo sections that are usually pretty indistinguishable, and a sort of loss of course during the third section. Plus, there’s no big finale, which was a bit disappointing.

That being said, there are handfuls of shining moments on display. The implementation of the many small snippets of those outside influences works in such a way that they do not seem forced, but rather short-lived in a manner that grabs your attention. Applying these sections to the concepts of the story and what response the music is trying to get out of you is an interesting experience in itself, as if the record wants you to think about what it’s doing, whether or not a part has purpose, or if there’s a reason this part goes on for this amount of time. Or, to contest my previous criticism, question why bring back the heavy sections so often. The music’s involvement with each section isn’t necessarily set in stone, however, and it seems as though one could jump in to a designated area and replace it with another interpretation of what they would want to hear to proceed and precede its counterparts.

Some will automatically claim this a classic based on the amount of dedication put into the album, the progressive tendencies and length attributes, and its technical proficiency. Though, you should ask that regardless of how much time and effort was put into the making of the album, was the end quality it worth it? Also, were many of the sections progressive in structure due to pretentious wishes or because the song required it? Lastly, were the majority of the parts technically played for the sake of being technical, or did those solos need to be that complex, and those drums that machine-like and involved? The problem with most concept albums is that one person will not like how a certain section plays out and begin to question more and more the quality of what they’ve been listening to, further understanding that some parts did not need to be there whatsoever, and this part should be put here instead of there. This is relative to Cybion because it certainly seems that a few portions sound like filler, and though the arrangement flows exceptionally well considering it’s amoebic qualities, the placement of overused elements such as guitar solos or synth-driven backgrounds begins to turn stale. However, if you consider the authenticity of many of the sections and the fluidity of a 70 minute song, Cybion can be illustrated as a massive stepping stone for the band to further progress their storytelling medium to brand new heights, this certainly retaining a fantastic starting point, and even if you do not get into this record that much, you’ll damn well be keen to find out what the band will release next.



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user ratings (106)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
fireaboveicebelow
January 16th 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm still not sure whether this should be a 3.5 or 4, but this is easily the longest review I have

bastard
January 16th 2009



3435 Comments


man you're still pushing out reviews compared to most.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
January 16th 2009



17204 Comments


wtf this isnt katatonia.

AngelPhoenix
January 16th 2009



2764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

For one, it has too many fallback points where it seems that at numerous areas there was a lack of direction so they just wrote another melo-death part to fill space until they came up with something else.

This is what I noticed after a few listens that made me drop this from a 4.5 to a 4.
Awesome review.

Crimson
January 16th 2009



1935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

just wait until my overly positive review that will no doubt feature a lot of oxymoronic praise and hyperbolic claims.This Message Edited On 01.16.09

fireaboveicebelow
January 16th 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've been waiting for someone to do that, but I'm sure it will be an entertaining read


thanks for the comments allThis Message Edited On 01.16.09

AngelPhoenix
January 16th 2009



2764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I love your overly positive reviews full of oxymoronic phrases and hyperbolic claims

bastard
January 16th 2009



3435 Comments


that description makes me want to mind neg the review already. but i'll wait.

Yazz_Flute
January 16th 2009



18770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is so good.

So i guess this is a 2009 album now...thats cool. My number one album for 09 so far in that case HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Digging: Eskaton - 4 Visions

Poet
January 16th 2009



5922 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol. I need to listen to this in one sitting. Might be a bit hard though because I keep listening to the first 8 minutes over and over again, especially the opening. It's eargasmic.

fireaboveicebelow
January 16th 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I guess this is 2009 now, it was released digitally in 07, but the hard copy is coming to my house in early February

kmagnum1x
January 16th 2009



260 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

one of my favorite albums ever

Willie
Moderator
January 16th 2009



15914 Comments


Good review. I had just read the news earlier today and was wondering about these guys.

Digging: Nero Di Marte - Derivae

BallsToTheWall
January 16th 2009



44197 Comments


Lol at the tracklist. What a headache. I'm shocked this didn't have areview already considering how popular this is. I still need to acquire this. Will do soon, good work, Scyther.

Digging: My Chemical Romance - Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge

fireaboveicebelow
January 16th 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

scyther is sweet

BallsToTheWall
January 16th 2009



44197 Comments


Damn right. I gave you the term because you strike swiftly and often with your reviews. Hence, Scyther. I'm more of a Snorlax or an Electrode.

fireaboveicebelow
January 16th 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

hahah ok I'll run with that, but one minor adjustment

I gave you the term because you strike swiftly and often with your reviews...WITH NO REMORSE
This Message Edited On 01.16.09

Wizard
January 16th 2009



19343 Comments


The music itself can range from melodic death metal to symphonic progressive metal to electronic to jazz to Arabian and so on, but the way the piece develops is seemingly influenced by movie soundtracks and modern classical composition.


From what I've heard from this, it kind of sounds like they really force these styles together instead of a smooth transistion from one style to another. I guess, like you said, this needs to be enjoyed as a whole. I will look into this when I get a chance.

fire, you're a wrecking ball when it comes to reviewing. Geez!



Digging: Mistigo Varggoth Darkestra - The Key to the Gates of the Apocalypse

fireaboveicebelow
January 16th 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

fire, you're a wrecking ball when it comes to reviewing....WITH NO REMORSE


Wizard
January 16th 2009



19343 Comments


YES!



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