Cypher (Century Media)
by Martin Popoff
Much more metal screeched and cerebral black metallic than the band’s last album (a techno question mark conundrum called A.M.G.O.D.), Cypher is still a provocative, almost annoying claptrap of signals, starting with big, belaboured song titles, each housing at least one colon, many of them three phrases and two colons, which simply… cannot be done! But these misanthropic Finns most certainly are about breaking rules, Cypher sounding like some cross between Arcturus, Zyklon, Peccatum, Rammstein, and The Kovenant, turning in songs that are surprisingly accessible. Most churn on angular guitar patterns at relaxed groovy speeds, even if the cold, stainless-steel production values and the nu-black vocals of Kenny keep you grimly frown-gowning.
I dunno, it’s weird, many of these songs (“Opaque blah blah blah” for example, as well as “Debris blah blah blah,” which houses the album’s best Zeppelin riff) possess the magic that seeped from the big thorny Ministry Psalm 69 album, a record that scared people with its mechanical sin din. Cypher is pretty much emotionally relentless and existential like that, and somehow in the spirit of Tomas Lindberg’s The Great Deceiver, Cypher being this parched collage of machine-stamped signals that sound important but dangerous to one’s sense of hope.
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