25 October 2010
by Tomas Doyle
Cyclamen are nothing if not proof that the standard template of what constitutes a band is something which is being slowly eroded. Advances in technology, home recording equipment and the power of the INTERNET (have you heard about it? it’s brillopads!) has meant that lunatics like Cyclamen mastermind, Hayato Imanishi, can spirit entire albums out of thin air without so much as a visit to a pro recording studio or practice room.
The DIY ethos is something which we here at Thrash Hits deeply approve of, but there is an important difference between Do It Yourself and Do It With Other People – and herein lies the rub with Senjyu. As a wise sage once said “no man is an island” or, more importantly, in matters creative, no made should be an island (just ask Axl).
That Cyclamen are a band of mercenaries, a spinning set of electrons round Imanishi’s nucleus is not itself a bad thing, but it perhaps goes someway to explaining the disjointed nature of an album which seems keen to cover every base and in doing so sells itself a little short. In the opening half dozen tracks we move from ‘The Seeker’ with its slow-fast-slow hardcore dynamic, to ‘Thirst’ which encompasses more ‘technical’ elements and then to ‘Comfort’ which is basically a ‘This Town Needs Guns’ song with Japanese singing. The obvious ambition not to be pigeonholed in to one genre is evident and admirable but leaves Senjyu lacking any real sense of cohesion or identity. You get the feeling that locked in a bedroom studio with no-one around to reign him in, the captain of the Cyclamen ship has indulged every facet of his musical influence without too much consideration for what impact that has on the overall feel of an album.
What is clear though, is that Imanishi is an outstanding musician, and there are some moments of real brilliance here. The grinding atmospherics at the end of ‘Revenge (of the Geeks)’ are beautifully judged and the aforementioned ballistic attack of ‘The Seeker’ is a real highlight. The juddering, percussive headbang of ‘With our Hands’ should get two thumbs up from most fans of progressive, modern metal whilst ‘Thirst’ really is just completely mental.
Watch the video to ‘Never Ending Dream’ by Cyclamen:
There are other notable issues in evidence here which one might associate with the DIY model – the screamed vocal delivery feels coarse and at odds with the polished guitar production whilst the sung vocals feel lacking in impact on occasion. Nevertheless there is plenty of promise on show, with riffs aplenty and enough to glimpse that Cyclamen have the potential to mix it with tech metal’s big boys. You have to feel that with a more focussed and concise approach there could something rather special afoot. If a cemented group around him can help Imanishi can combine his influences rather than merely place them next to each other then whatever follows Senjyu will be very interesting indeed.
Sounds Like: TesseracT, Sigur Ros, This Town Needs Guns
Top Tracks: The Seeker, Revenge (of the Geeks), With Our Hands
Cyclamen – Senjyu tracklisting:
With Our Hands
Revenge (of the Geeks)
Full Moon Night