Tuesday 27 August 2019

Cyanide Paradise - Reach for the Stars (2019)

Country: The Netherlands
Style: Melodic Death Metal
Rating: 6/10
Release Date: 8 Jul 2019
Sites: Facebook | Instagram | Metal Archives | Official Website | YouTube

Ironically, while I was listening to the female led melodic death metal band Frantic Amber at the end of last week, Linn Liv from the female led melodic death metal band Cyanide Paradise reached out with their debut EP, which I'm very happy to review too.

Linn is the singer for the band and, like Elizabeth Andrews of Frantic Amber (and insert your female melodic death metal singer of choice here), she has that recognisable something that I'm still trying to figure out is common to all female death growlers. Maybe it's a slightly higher pitch, even though it's still guttural. Anyway, she sounds good. The whole band sound good and its not difficult to like this EP.

Everyone does a solid job. The vocals contain a lot of energy and attitude. The guitar finds that balance between melody and power. The bass backs them up well. And the drums do everything they need to, even though there isn't a drummer. Since this EP was recorded, the band have added a second guitarist but I believe that they're still looking for someone to fill the seat behind the drumkit.

It should be too surprising that everyone does a solid job, because this is far from your average new band. Sure, they were formed this year, by Martin Vos and Jeff Wennekes, who play guitar and bass respectively, but they both previously did the same job for symphonic metal band Desolace Divine with the very same Linn Liv on vocals. They continued on after a rename to Veil of Delusions, with a different singer, and put out a full length album in 2016. Liv wasn't in the latter band but she does also sing for symphonic death metal band Pictura Poesis, alongside Wennekes on bass. They have two albums out, though I don't believe that Wennekes was with them at that time.

So, while Cyanide Paradise may be new, its band members know each other well and it's no surprise that they sound like they've been playing together for years. In many ways, they have and I'm sure that the point of this EP is to introduce the world to these old colleagues in a new project. If that wasn't the point, then this runs short at under twenty minutes, even if it is an EP.

Being short, I've been able to listen to this in entirety a lot of times and I've done that because I wanted to see if each of the songs would find their individuality over repeated listens. It's a very consistent album, which can be both a good and a bad thing. Here it's both. The consistency tells me how reliable the band are, but also that there's not as much variety as I'd like to hear.

There is some, but it's mostly variety that we have to find for ourselves. I think of Subatomic as the opening baseline for the band: a solid, dependable slab of melodeath. Enlightenment does more of the same, but it adds a worthy spoken section, still done by Liv in her harsh voice, but showing that she's able to show nuance with her voice better when she speaks guttural than when she sings it. Pestilence has a guitar that's more dynamic, almost cinematic; there's also a cool section with what sound like synth bells.

Best of all is the title track, because what I can only call a keyboard aura behind the regular instruments elevates what is already the best song on the album even further. I wonder if this was the last track written, because it feels deeper and more memorable. If this is the direction forward, I'd like to hear the band's debut album, especially if it's recorded as a solid five piece. Thanks for sharing, Linn, and best of luck to Cyanide Paradise!

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