Kingpin Album of the Conceptual Genre, Kalisia’s Cybion

Most recently I came across this album, an album with such epic and stupendous soundscapes that I could barely catch my breath, my heart racing at the very first track. Not something I was expecting in a first listen from a French band, all this whilst sitting in the calm of the Delhi Metro. All of a sudden the passing lamps in the subway seemed to pass by in sync with the drum beats; you know how these things happen.

Kalisia is a French band that took 8 years to complete this album. The band consists of Brett Caldas-Lima (guitar + vox), Laurent Pouget (Keys), Thibaut Gerad (Bass, and an awesome one at that!)Bruno Michel (guitar) and Elodie Buchonnet ( vocals, flute, saxophone, some talent huh?). Cybion is a concept album revolving around the story of a Universe way ahead in the future with men in search of eternity and living far away from their home planet. The first idea that popped to my head when I read a gist somewhere was this naïve notion of star trek nerd-like fantasy. How wrong could I be? Brett Caldas-Lima undertook the monumental task of actually inventing a language takings tit bits from English, French, Sanskrit, Latin and even our beloved Quenya. I was stumped when I learnt of this. It shows the amount of detailing and intricacy displayed in the album.

About the tracks themselves, I have a version where the album consists of four tracks:

  • Revelation
  • Elevation
  • Regression
  • Extinction

I believe these to be an amalgamation of some 20 tracks originally released on the discs and vinyl. This is a 1 hour 10 minutes fest of continuous sci-fi epos. The music shift gears from one genre to another so many times one gets lost in this web of never ending orchestral symphonies and weaved-in blast beats, heavy riffs, pinches of jazz, deep bass of the electro-trance sounds, the whole lot. Vocals also vary from deep guttarls to clean high female vox associated with gothic music.

A special credit is deserved for the person handling the keyboard. The entire album gets its end-of-the-world urgency from the various do’s of the keyboard.

The range of genre’s displayed is truly a trip down memory lane, when hearing the album in leisure and in no pressure from having to critique it. One goes from song to song, note to note, and realises the sound and recognizes it to be their favourites from an era long. It is quite an experience.

The overall doom-like atmosphere that is prevalent in the album is reminiscent of an earlier Dimmu Borgir or Septic Flesh. But here and there you get riffage styles matching those of Megadeth, Opeth, Lacuna Coil, Riverside; the entire spectrum of metal in other words.

This is obviously due to the number of guest artists in this album. Angela Gossow, Paul Masvidal, Arjen Lucassen, Tom Mclean, Andy Sneap (producer), etc have all come together and contributed to what I think redefines conceptual or experimental albums. One of the best contributions to my collection, I am grateful to Kalisia.

If I could compare this with The Quantum Hack Code, I think our Indian counterpart needs to realise the competition. Amogh Symphony still has some way to go before they’d come near these French metallers.

As for cons, this album can get a tad bit too epic. There is a certain sense of relief when I pull my headphones out. They should’ve written some light music to give ear drums some peace. Quite a small issue but you’ll realise what I’m talking about once you hear this out. And the other that, since these guys came out with an album of these proportions it seems rightly a fool’s hope to expect anything just as dramatic and masterful as Cybion soon, if at all ever.

Here’s an interview that could inform you more about the band: Interview at Metalstorm. Cheers!

For sheer epical music an 9/10.

Amorphis’s Beginning of Times

Amorphis comes under the category of one of those bands which sound just a powerful on stage and equally soothing on pair of earphones midway a long journey. So I happened to learn while listening to this album recently. After doing my bit of research and reading many other views on The Beginning of Times, I listed my sets of pro and cons.

Firstly, this album is a continuation on the story that the Skyforger started. The production sounds very similar and that would be a good thing, seeing the popularity that album got. Considered as one of their best ventures, Skyforger had music both melodic as well as potent. It was the peak of Amorphis’s transition from their more folk-esque/death sound to a more progressive melo tracks. This album I feel has done no more to contribute to that transition. With this album I believe we have reached the soundscape that Amorphis would operate and experiment with (tiny bits with the latter).

Shades of their former musical preferences are visible with the work on the keyboards. Vocals are beautiful when clean and the growls though unexpected, are welcome still. They are at just the right temperature with the setting of the songs. I wouldn’t comment on other parts of the production majorly because of their similarity with Skyforger.

Another aspect that really strikes a listener is the sheer number of tracks. 13 tracks, laid out well and in an order which almost makes this album gapless. Only if I am actually listening to the tracks individually (analysis mode :D), am I capable of differentiating. Else they beguile me, leave me in this state of perpetual day dreams involving distant wars and hymns that being sung about them (most Nordic bands of this genre leave this essence in me).

What I did not like about this album was not its lack of progress, for even though I am a fan of their earlier ventures I do like what the band has grown into. No, what this album lacked was that potency and that thrill. It does grow on you, but man does that take a long time. Thankfully, their music is awing enough for me to listen to over and over again; else I generally leave albums like these in my library, there for me to discover them later.

I was impressed but not to the point which was being so hyped about on the internet, hence for slight disappointment there I would give this album a 7/10.

Cheers!