September 19, 2017
Released by: Self
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Progressive Metal
Simon Lavoie – Vocals
Ludovick Daoust – Piano and Keys
Steven Cope – Drums
Tommy Fradette – Bass
Vincent Bruneau – Guitars
Shining A While
The Ghost Of Myself
Okay, if you’re a fan of progressive metal at all, just stop reading and go buy this album. Seriously. It’s that good. I discovered Fractal Cypher through the algorithm that is YouTube. After watching several videos of other like bands, I decided to click on this band with the interesting name, Fractal Cypher. Less than two minutes later, album purchased. It was that good. I usually know immediately if a band meets my taste and this band did and then some. The Human Paradox has everything for which a prog metal fan is looking. Incredible compositions. Great energy. Unbelievable talent. Lengthy songs. Fantastic drumming. Heavy bass. Spot-on vocals. Soaring guitars. Odd-time signatures. They have it all. Plus, I love the production. Some bands have good talent but the production doesn’t measure up. This isn’t the case with Fractal Cypher. It’s difficult to believe this is their first album. It was produced by Ludovick Daoust (keyboards) and Christian Donaldson. It was recorded at The Grid by Marc-Olivier Fréchette and Christian Donaldson.
The opening track, Lost, begins with a slightly mysterious ambience coupled with what sounds like a sitar overlay. But in about 35 seconds, the listener is pummeled with a driving beat of double-bass drums, thumping bass guitar, soaring keyboards, and a rhythm guitar screaming for attention. Like most progressive metal songs, it takes a few moments for the vocals to enter but when they do, you realize this band is destined to rise to prominence in the very near future. Simon Lavoie has an uncanny resemblance to Jonny Lindkvist of Nocturnal Rites. I’m not sure if others will agree but I noticed it almost immediately. There are slight growls/screams in this song but they are short and it’s nicely done. I am not typically a fan of these but the band does a good job incorporating them. One of my most favorite parts of Lost is towards the end when the band fades and the piano is left alone playing a beautiful composition. Ludovick Daoust really shines during this moment.
But if the ending of Lost relaxed you, Endless Circle will awaken you again with thunder. Pretty much a straight-ahead metal song with intrinsic progressive elements, Endless Circle has that driving beat that will satisfy any metalhead. I love the rhythm guitar work here. The latter half of the song contains an extensive instrumental section which really shows the complexity of each member of the band.
Shining A While introduces the band’s first power ballad with an emphasis on power. It begins with soft vocals/keyboards but it doesn’t stay there. The track soars to the chorus and back again; sweeping back and forth as it goes. Shining A While displays the power of emotion and the more I listen to this song, the more moving it becomes. Simon really shines on this track as does Vincent and Tommy, especially during the instrumental. I love the bass line that Tommy plays during Vincent’s soaring guitar solo. Excellent song coupled with excellent musicianship.
Prison Planet opens up with a driving beat. Plenty of time-signature changes here.I hear Symphony X in this song but Fractal Cypher definitely has their own interpretation. Simon passionately sings “Just show us the way to go, so we have something to believe…we need to find a place home on this prison planet” during the anthemic chorus. The band really gels on this song. The chorus is sure to get stuck in your head. Prison Planet is just one of many examples of the maturity level of Fractal Cypher‘s lyrics. Kudos to them.
I noticed from the beginning Fractal Cypher‘s writing was influenced by djent. But for some reason, I notice it more in this next song, Imminent Extinction. But it’s only a splattering of it mind you. One of the many things I love about this band is they don’t let one particular genre of influence shine above another. Imminent Extinction also incorporates growls but ever so slightly. This song contains some really good instrumental duet work between Vincent and Ludovick.
Final Abode contains some pretty heavy chugging in the beginning and throughout. The band doesn’t lose a step on this track. I love the groove during this song. Vincent plays an excellent solo here. Lyrically, Final Abode states, “the light is fading away, the night is dragging us down.” But ends with the introspection of “the choice is ours to make.”
Awakening is a moving ballad. I thought it was really cool to have a violin and viola featured on this song about beauty and life. The chorus is heavy and the end of the track contains a great guitar solo. The more I listen to this one, the more it touches me. Bravo!
Idle Words opens with another great driving beat and then turns into a djent (think Periphery) moment of instrumental wonderment. Make sure you’re in a place to listen to this one at full volume. And turn the bass up. Tommy once again has a great bass part during this song. The vocals are so powerful and emotional here. Personally, I believe Idle Words is the showcase for Steven Cope behind the drum kit. Love the tempo and time changes permeated throughout. During the chorus, I find myself nodding my head to the beat every time. What an infectious groove. But, wait! There’s more. As an added bonus, just as you think the song is over, the band rips into a little jazz ditty just to make things interesting. But before long, they’re right back into the groove beginning with another fantastic solo by Vincent.
The Ghost Of Myself is quite possibly the heaviest track on the album. The opening reminds me of Firewind because of the way the keyboard carries the melody until the verse begins. Simon is full of passion with this last track, as he is on the whole album. Vincent is featured in another great solo. And just as the album began, the album closes with a sitar fading into the unknown.
Fractal Cypher‘s influences are fairly obvious. Dream Theater, Symphony X, Periphery, Meshuggah, Kamelot, Scar Symmetry, and Opeth just to name a few. But they do a great job of incorporating and not copying. I can’t wait to hear what else they might record in the future. But for now and for years to come, I’ll be salivating with this impressive debut.
Written by: Steve Howell
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