Hayato Imanishi, returns with the eagerly awaited debut Cyclamen album, “Senjyu”. Fresh from the success of “Dreamers 2010” EP, Cyclamen have been steadily growing an underground following across the globe. From the early beginnings as a solo project in a bedroom, Cyclamen has evolved into a full live band, who have recently graced stages across the UK, playing with bands such as TesseracT and The Safety Fire. For the live shows, Hayato Imanishi enlisted the services of Ed Newman (bass), Nano Sigo (guitars), Olly Steele (guitars) and Duncan Lee taking the drum berth.
“Senjyu” begins with what is akin to a lullaby, ‘Mother’. The sound of a spinning top with the chimes of a music box, accompanied by the quietly overlaid vocals, sung in Imanishi’s native Japanese, combine to create an atmospheric introduction that belies what is to follow. ‘The Seeker’, by contrast, launches straight into a tech metal post hardcore tirade, pausing after a minute or so to introduce the ambient side of Cyclamen, with clean atmospheric vocals. With the ambient interlude over, the tech metal and screaming vocals return. ‘Thirst’ is a two minute onslaught of djent riffs, screaming vocals, rolling bass and pounding drums, with the now customary ambient interlude midway through.
‘Hope’ restores the calm with clean ambient vocals, with lightly distorted guitars alongside gentle percussion. The song steadily grows and has a full sound but loses none of the ambient atmosphere. ‘Comfort’ has an altogether different feel with upbeat jazz guitar riffs, fast paced drums, with Imanishi’s ambient vocals climbing above the music. ‘With Our Hands’ takes a trip back down the heavier path with a return to the tech metal post hardcore sound from the get go, the vocal raucousness then subsides for another brief ambient interlude but the music keeps its intensity, the track culminates in a dark place with an eruption of death metal! ‘Grand annihilation’ continues along the darker path with heavy Meshuggah-esque riffs, fast, heavy drums and screaming vocals.
‘Devoid’ turns another corner with its slow pace and haunting atmosphere, it has the feel of Bohren & Der Club of Gore about it, reinforced by the melancholic piano lines over the top. It shakes the Bohren feel half way through when the guitar joins in, adding to the dark feel that is already well established. With a couple of minutes to go the track fills out with more guitars and becomes reminiscent of shoegazing stalwarts Slowdive crossed with 65daysofstatic. The result is fantastic… ‘Hellrise’ is as different again, under two minutes of instrumental music that doesn’t really go anywhere but it does have a rather nice slice of bass in it.
‘Revenge (of the Geeks)’ returns to the off beat djent riffs, atmospheric interludes, swirling guitars, staccato drum beats and the clever mix of clean and screaming vocals. Albeit for less than two minutes… Title track ‘Senjyu’ is a journey into ambience, an utterly amazing track that again harks back to the likes of Slowdive. A brilliantly orchestrated piece that is both atmospheric and uplifting at the same time. The album closes with ‘Full Moon Night’, with a rather sinister sounding introduction before the song truly kicks in. More staccato riffs and screaming vocals are followed by another ambient interlude before the chaos reigns supreme once again.
“Senjyu” is a smorgasbord of styles that when put together could quite easily go wrong but Cyclamen manage to fit all the pieces together to create a wonderfully crafted debut album. True, there are parts that feel a little flat but they are far outweighed by the stellar moments!