Rating:
9.6
Kalisia - Cybion
11 January 2009


Disc I
01. Introduction / Domination
[Part I: Revelation]
02. Aspiration Above [Reception / Translation]
03. Arken Bringer [Union / Construction]
04. Alien Choice [Declaration / Revolution]
05. Awkward Decision [Division / Integration]
[Part II: Elevation]
06. Blinded Addict [Fusion / Rebellion]
07. Beyond Betrayal [Violation / Condemnation]
08. Blessed Circle [Education / Deification]
09. Black Despair [Isolation / Liberation]
10. Blurred Exile [Destination / Alteration]
[Part III: Regression]
11. Cast Away [Damnation / Seclusion]
12. Crisis Bleedings [Illusion / Desperation]
13. Confined Contender [Resolution / Protection]
14. Circuits Distortion [Reconstruction / Intrusion]
15. Contact Experience [Confrontation / Communication]
[Part IV: Extinction]
16. Devices Awakening [Activation / Production]
17. Down Below [Confusion / Resurrection]
18. Distant Chronicles [Realisation / Penetration]
19. Digital Disclosure [Disconnection / Comprehension]
20. Deserved Eternity [Salvation / Connection]

Disc II [Origins] [limited deluxe edition bonus]
01. Tower Of Vanities
02. Chimera
03. Lost Soul
04. The Mental Frames (Part I)
05. How Could I [Cynic cover]
06. A Fortune In Lies [Dream Theater cover]
07. I Am The Black Wizards [Emperor cover]
08. This Dazzling Abyss [Loudblast cover]


Disclaimer: this review might be long (and so is the album) but I couldn't do without the context and other explanations. If you don't care about reading this slab of a review, just go and buy the album straight away.


You may not have heard of French band Kalisia before but they've been among the most praised act here since they released the demo Skies about 15 years ago. I, myself, have discovered the demo back in 2003 I think, and was so blown by this progressive and somewhat death metal music that I was eager for more, for a full length. Back then Cybion was already in the works so everyone was expecting a release sometime soon...
But slowly, as years passed, we started to forget about Kalisia. It came back to our minds sporadically as we could hear news about what was doing the main man behind the band (Brett Caldas-Lima), news that included recording To-Mera's excellent albums, voicing a few sentences in French for Megadeth, joining Cynic live on some dates, etc.
I was starting to think that the whole Cybion project had been stopped... Just when I saw a double CD digipack in a store this March 2009. I couldn't believe my eyes, and I didn't need my ears to listen to it before my mind had decided to buy it (plus, it wasn't that expensive given the package, which included the Skies demo and some new covers in a bonus CD).
Once I got back home came the moment to get the CD out of the classy white package. Pressing "play" would put an end to all those years of waiting, just as if I was now ready to be told the meaning of life, the universe and everything...

The introduction track makes you understand that you're in for an epic. A science-fiction epic to be precise. It's nothing special actually, just a heavily keyboarded symphonic introduction drawing the listener to the second track, "Aspirations Above", opening the first part of the 71 minute long song that Cybion actually is. Cause of course, Cybion is a concept album, divided into 4 parts (A: Revelation, B: Elevation, C: Regression, D: Extinction), again divided into different tracks (have a look at the tracklist, you'll see how clever the listing has been made - all the song titles are written with 2 words that set them in the alphabetical order, so you know where you are in the story just by looking at the initials).

So after the intro you will discover the core of Kalisia's music, which is mostly progressive yet very melodic and exploring many metal genres. If the Skies demo was tagged as progressive death metal, you can't really call Cybion death metal, though it clearly has bits of that, it covers much more metal aspects, from power to industrial and atmospheric, with some not-so-metal moments that are really appreciated (the saxophone bit on "Blinded Addict" for instance). Still, it may come as something "Cynic-like", also "Dream Theater-like" (I'm thinking of their Awake album) but with an epic and electronic atmosphere. Any lover of complex music should try it although those who can't stand growls will have a hard time given that, of the many vocal styles on the album, the main vocals are Brett's growls.

Speaking of which, I shall tell you that the lyrics are also special. As you read them in the booklet, you realize it's more a text than a series of verses and choruses. In fact, there's hardly any chorus on the album: you're told a story mostly through dialogues between different characters so that the sentences are complete and natural for the most part, not only rhymes you see. And what is the story about, you ask? Well, all I will tell you is that it's set up in a future where humankind has reached quite a significant technological level and then meet the Arkens (aliens speaking the Kal language, invented for the album needs), and not all earthlings will follow them and their teachings so that some will set for another home. It's actually much more complicated than that but I have to admit it's a bit confusing and well, I can't permit myself to spoil everything for you!

A note on the bonus CD, starting with the whole 1995 demo Skies. The song "Tower Of Vanities" explains why they were referred to as a progressive/death metal band, "Lost Soul" is a bit quieter and features female vocals and "The Mental Frames part I" is somehow Kalisia's equivalent of Dream Theater's Metropolis part I, though it's an instrumental ending with a frustrating fade out...
After the demo tracks are a few covers, featuring many guests: "How Could I" (Cynic, with Angela Gossow and Christophe Godin), "A Fortune In Lies" (Dream Theater, with David Scott McBee, Tom MacLean and Charly Sahona), "I am Black Wizards" (Emperor, with Sonnm) and "This Dazzling Abyss" (Loudblast, with Ludovic Lopez and Paul Masvidal). My fav being "A Fortune In Lies" but this may be because I used to be a DT fan.

In the end, is Cybion fulfilling all the expectations that have risen from all those years of making? Certainly, if you're into this kind of ambitious adventure. If you don't like long stuff and can't figure yourself listening to a big song for 1 hour and 11 minutes (funny!), if you can't stand keyboards, or hate sci-fi, then you won't like it. But otherwise, you will probably love the first album of Kalisia and no doubt you will come back to it many times to enjoy it in details, as it is a very rich piece of work. I'm sure the guys have some more of it running through their minds and so I set myself in waiting mode once again... Even if I have to wait for another 10 years, if it's worth it like Cybion is, then it's perfectly alright.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Band profile: Kalisia
Album: Cybion


 


written by wrathchild | 08.05.2009



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Abattoir - 18.06.2009 at 23:04  
This product realy suprised my not that good taste for progressive metal. It's very original and diversitiy staff, which I haven't heard quite a long time.

Very good release, rating somewhere in the top of this year released albums.
septi¢ - 03.07.2009 at 19:50  
Written by Dologan on 18.06.2009 at 22:18

If this album doesn't win at least the best debut album this year I will personally set something important on fire. Like Estonia or something.


And I will be joining you for sure if it happens.
Harlequin - 05.07.2009 at 13:01  
This thing is totally overrated. But a lot of people already did a lot of discussing about that, so I won't go into detail here. I'd give it a 6/10 at best.
Dangerboner - 06.07.2009 at 17:55  
Ok.... I still haven't heard this, but ever since the review was published, the album title makes me think of the vibrating dildo/horse machine used in some porn. I think it's spelled sibion or something....

I'm just saying lol
Redwolf - 07.07.2009 at 22:34  
The album has some great moments, but seriously, 70+ minutes? No wonder a big part of it is just generic wankery. Still, my #5 or 6 this year so far.
BloodTears - 12.07.2009 at 11:18  
I really don't think the album is that good, it gets boring actually. But, having said that, it has shining moments, more towards the end. I gave it an 8 but if I were to consider how I don't like the Children of Bodom type of vocals that would be a 7. I do like the whispering and the female vocals a lot more.
whitepawel - 12.07.2009 at 21:34  
Ok, it's listenable, but it actually has no sense and it's way to long. Album of the year? Oh, come on
Maxx666 - 12.07.2009 at 21:59  
Written by whitepawel on 12.07.2009 at 21:34

Ok, it's listenable, but it actually has no sense and it's way to long. Album of the year? Oh, come on

Yeah it's listenable, but surely not #1 of 2009.It gets too boring sometimes
bloodwrage - 31.07.2009 at 23:56  
Written by Maxx666 on 12.07.2009 at 21:59

Written by whitepawel on 12.07.2009 at 21:34

Ok, it's listenable, but it actually has no sense and it's way to long. Album of the year? Oh, come on

Yeah it's listenable, but surely not #1 of 2009.It gets too boring sometimes

I've listened to some of the other stuff on the top album list of 2009, and this beats them all, no question.
Ellrohir - 01.08.2009 at 09:20  
Written by whitepawel on 12.07.2009 at 21:34

Ok, it's listenable, but it actually has no sense and it's way to long. Album of the year? Oh, come on


it has no sense?! oh my...

it's way too long?! oh my again...
Fat & Sassy! - 01.08.2009 at 11:00  
Written by Ellrohir on 01.08.2009 at 09:20

it's way too long?! oh my again...


I think this is a valid argument. The length of this album along with the kind of music it is... can really test one's patience.
Ellrohir - 01.08.2009 at 11:36  
I will simply never agree with any person saying "album longer than 1 hour is boring and stupid"...have heard the same about Nigtwish's Dark Passion Play - "too long, boring, whatever"...hate this...
whitepawel - 01.08.2009 at 15:17  
Written by Ellrohir on 01.08.2009 at 11:36

I will simply never agree with any person saying "album longer than 1 hour is boring and stupid"...have heard the same about Nigtwish's Dark Passion Play - "too long, boring, whatever"...hate this...



I do not say that every "album longer than 1 hour is boring and stupid". I love many albums that are even longer than Cybion.
Ellrohir - 01.08.2009 at 16:53  
Ok, fair enough, sorry

but anyway - i dont like much of progressive (or even progressive death), but Kalisia absolutely destroys my personal charts...
ponderer - 06.08.2009 at 17:22  
This shit is pretty brilliant. Didn't know the French could produce this level of metal
Elio - 06.08.2009 at 18:10  
Written by ponderer on 06.08.2009 at 17:22

This shit is pretty brilliant. Didn't know the French could produce this level of metal


To say the truth, French can do waaaay better than this
K†ulu - 06.08.2009 at 18:36  
Written by Elio on 06.08.2009 at 18:10

Written by ponderer on 06.08.2009 at 17:22

This shit is pretty brilliant. Didn't know the French could produce this level of metal


To say the truth, French can do waaaay better than this


Indeed Take Gorod or Adagio...
Elio - 06.08.2009 at 18:56  
Written by K†ulu on 06.08.2009 at 18:36

Written by Elio on 06.08.2009 at 18:10

Written by ponderer on 06.08.2009 at 17:22

This shit is pretty brilliant. Didn't know the French could produce this level of metal


To say the truth, French can do waaaay better than this


Indeed Take Gorod or Adagio...


I was thinking more of Alcest, Amesoeurs, Peste Noire... but it's ok
Fat & Sassy! - 17.08.2009 at 07:26  
Written by Elio on 06.08.2009 at 18:10

Written by ponderer on 06.08.2009 at 17:22

This shit is pretty brilliant. Didn't know the French could produce this level of metal


To say the truth, French can do waaaay better than this


Oh yeah, their bread is awesome!

French bread, ftw!
Mizer - 17.08.2009 at 10:04  
Brilliant album!! The music is constantly varying and is so complex at times that I understand how people have hard time getting into this.

On the first listen I was totally blown away by the variety of all the styles, different vocals, effects and cool sounds the album features. I just had to listen to them over and over again. I have never come across anything quite like this. After listening Cast Away, I haven't been able to stop listening to the album. I do however have to admit that if you try to listen the whole album through in one go, it can feel a bit too much. Try listening to it in smaller sections..

Also the main thing I like about this album is that all the "progressive & techincal phases" actually sound good. Its just great melodies&sounds after great melodies&sounds.....There is no random tech-wanking, with the exception of only one awkward dream theater moment in Beyond Betrayal @ 2:48.
THE_BLACK_GOD - 03.09.2009 at 21:43  
Very nice review but really couldnt read the last paragraph !!! I'll try this album for sure.
Biddle127 - 25.09.2009 at 13:36  
Written by Fat & Sassy! on 17.08.2009 at 07:26

Written by Elio on 06.08.2009 at 18:10

Written by ponderer on 06.08.2009 at 17:22

This shit is pretty brilliant. Didn't know the French could produce this level of metal


To say the truth, French can do waaaay better than this


Oh yeah, their bread is awesome!

French bread, ftw!


Don't forget their wine, they make excellent wine
Fat & Sassy! - 25.09.2009 at 22:23  
Written by Biddle127 on 25.09.2009 at 13:36

Written by Fat & Sassy! on 17.08.2009 at 07:26

Written by Elio on 06.08.2009 at 18:10

Written by ponderer on 06.08.2009 at 17:22

This shit is pretty brilliant. Didn't know the French could produce this level of metal


To say the truth, French can do waaaay better than this


Oh yeah, their bread is awesome!

French bread, ftw!


Don't forget their wine, they make excellent wine


Yuppers!
Yogi - 29.10.2009 at 18:22  
I tried listening to this album serveral time. I acknowldge the hard work, musicianship, complixity and varity but I will never think that this album should have any more than 6/10 in comparison with watershed, which I would rate 9.5/10
Fat & Sassy! - 29.10.2009 at 21:27  
Written by Yogi on 29.10.2009 at 18:22

I tried listening to this album serveral time. I acknowldge the hard work, musicianship, complixity and varity but I will never think that this album should have any more than 6/10 in comparison with watershed, which I would rate 9.5/10


Uh... I don't get the comparison... They are two completely different albums by two different bands. :/
Array - 09.12.2009 at 17:07  
Uninspiring, superficial and self-repeating. Crappy vocals.
Eddie Misery - 20.12.2009 at 21:20  
Amazing cd. I love it.
Eddie Misery - 20.12.2009 at 21:27  
Written by Yogi on 29.10.2009 at 18:22

I tried listening to this album serveral time. I acknowldge the hard work, musicianship, complixity and varity but I will never think that this album should have any more than 6/10 in comparison with watershed, which I would rate 9.5/10


Two things..1.) Watershed was, at best, an extensive exercise in mediocrity by a band who used to kick much ass. 2.) Watershed doesn't compare to this album at all. For that matter, Watershed doesn't even compare to the rest of Opeth's catalogue.

Not that that's even really relevant to this review (which was great), I just was surprised that anyone could even put this album and Watershed in the same string of thoughts.
Saviour73 - 24.12.2009 at 02:41  
This is my favorite album of 2009 and one of my all time favorites! It has everything one could want in a metal album, great vocals throughout, enjoyable guitar parts on almost every song, inclusion of so many genres from progressive to death to some jazz and even some dance vibes Most of all I love the key/synth parts and the story is EPIC! How could this album not be number 1 with Arjen Lucassen on board
Ander - 27.03.2010 at 22:34  
Apart from the fact that this album kicks MAJOR ass (and makes me proud of being French by the way), it also features an absolutely fucking AWESOME Emperor cover if anyone noticed.
Ellrohir - 28.03.2010 at 00:02  
But only in extended version

anyway i didnt liked exactly I am a the black wizards cover that much
Vonpire - 30.03.2010 at 20:35  
Written by Harlequin on 05.07.2009 at 13:01

This thing is totally overrated. But a lot of people already did a lot of discussing about that, so I won't go into detail here. I'd give it a 6/10 at best.


Finally a opinion like mine, but i'll give it 7 instead of 6.

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