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Follow The Cipher: Follow The Cipher
Follow The Cipher 2018 Debut Album Music Review

Follow The Cipher: Follow The Cipher

Melodic/Heavy/Power Metal
4.0/5.0

Coming from Sweden, Follow The Cipher is a young upstart metal band started by guitarist Ken Kangstrom. If that name seems familiar, it should. Kangstrom has worked with Sabaton vocalist Joakim Broden to write and produce more than few songs for the Swedish power metal. That collaboration gave Kangstrom the incentive to pursue a personal dream of forming his own band, Follow The Cipher. The band drops their self-titled debut this month for Germany's Nuclear Blast Records.

Follow The Cipher Band Photo

Follow The Cipher

For their metal sound, Follow The Cipher follows in the tradition of European melodic and symphonic, heavy power metal, with female lead vocals from Linda Toni Grahn. Ms Grahn has a powerful presence in every song, singing melodic and clean with a breadth of range. Yet she doesn't quite fall into the operatic metal diva role, reminding more of a traditional metal singer.

As for the other characteristics of the songs, again, you'll hear the traditional elements: twin guitar harmony in riffs and leads, a sturdy rhythm section to deliver both gallop and groove, and a significant synth layer to provide both atmosphere and orchestration. The result is, especially with the combination riffs and synths, a rather epic and bombastic sound from Follow The Cipher. Even more, the band has penchant for theater as they dress in costume to perform.

On to some song highlights then. At the start, Enter The Cipher displays the Follow The Cipher (FTC) sound by first introducing us to Grahn's voice which sways between a metal and rock presentation. The song turns on sweet rock groove, while it mixes tempos. The characteristic synth layer swells the arrangement, and fiery guitars light it up. With Valkyria, FTC bumps up the synth orchestration and playfulness, while offering parts heavy and light. The lighter part being the fine refrain. This is also the first song with some slight death/dirty male vocals. They return in A Mind's Escape where, with the sharpness of the riffs, Grahn's voice is almost shrill. The death vocals loom larger in Starlight, a loud and bombastic metal song that features fellow Swedes Joakim Broden, Nils Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors), Johnny Lindkvist (Nocturnal Rites) and Ronny Hemlin (Tad Morose). The album finishes with Kangstrom's interpretation of Carolus Rex which he wrote for Sabaton. Not unlike their version, the FTC version is made grand and bombastic by the combination of synths and guitar riffs. It powers along building climatically to a thrilling guitar solo.

While hardly a fan of death/dirty, Follow The Cipher's debut is a strong one, an album of epic and bombastic, melodic and symphonic, heavy metal led by a powerful female vocalist in Linda Toni Grahn. If you like the genre, get the album. You won't be disappointed.



CraigHartranft.net - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

The Bottom Line

Follow The Cipher's debut is a strong one, an album of epic and bombastic, melodic and symphonic, heavy metal led by a powerful female vocalist in Linda Toni Grahn. If you like the genre, get the album. You won't be disappointed.

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