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Cypher Seer – Awakening Day

Label: Sentinel Steel Records
Format: CD
Released: 2007
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

Ok so how is this resume for a debut? Based in New Jersey and formerly known as Malakis Reign, singer James Rivera (Helstar, Destiny's End, ex-Seven Witches) and bassist Mike LePond (Symphony X) appeared on the band's first demo with Jack Frost (Seven Witches) producing/engineering.


Under the new name Cypher Seer, the U.S. power metallers current line-up includes past and present members of Gothic Knights (Kevin Myers), Arctic Flame (Rod Mariani), Onward (Michael Grant), Crescent Shield and Legend Maker. "Awakening Day" also was mixed by Fredrik Nordström (Hammerfall, In Flames, Sinergy, Supreme Majesty, Dark Tranquillity). As you can see a lot of people must have believed in this group of musicians and what they had to offer. With that in mind you would think this record must be amazing huh or at least better than average given you level of expectation?

Here are my thoughts…… The first thing I noticed is the production which is really good, full and balanced with enough space in the recording allowing keyboards to breath, a punchy drum sound, an almost synthesized at times guitar sound because of the accenting keys (reminded me of Iron Maiden’s "Seventh Son" on a track like 'Act of Desperation'). Michael Grant serves as a great voice for the music as his deep tone blends well into the powerful arrangements, example; 'Walk Through Hell'. He reminds me of former Iced Earth singer Matt Barlow.

Starting off with Helloween’s energy and chorus for 'V.666'' you can tell the European influence will be present throughout, yet not over powering. Cypher Seer are not a rip off of their influences which is good to hear.

'On Chained Down' has a Hammerfall like delivery and spirit but heavier in sound. As far as each chorus I don’t how memorable they are but each song is arranged rather well being semi progressive with tempo and riff changes, plenty of lead work and trade offs by Sergio and Rod, and steadfast drums provided by Kevin Myers. 'Awakening Day' is a strong one, incorporates creative guitar leads and rhythm changes to keep the energy levels high.

Overall it’s a solid debut for a group of players with a lot of potential. With all the above mentioned contributing to the band’s first E.P. and then Fredrik’s mix it all came together very well. I like the way the band finds a pretty good balance between the heavier sections, dynamic transitions, orchestrated, and melody. I’m interested to see what they do next.

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