Cyclamen – Senjyu

Cyclamen

Senjyu

01. Mother
02. The Seeker
03. Thirst
04. Hope
05. Comfort
06. With our Hands
07. Grand Annihilation
08. Devoid
09. Hellrise
10. Revenge
11. Senjyu
12. Full Moon Night

[Independent | 10/25/10]

Hayato Imanishi doesn’t like being pigeon-holed. Cyclamen‘s EP catalog prior to the debut album Senjyu featured SikTh-inspired djenty metalcore thrown alongside Envy-like post-rock ambiance and melodies, often through the course of the same song. While this “post-djent” styling is still a player on Senjyu, things are not how you would expect. If you come into Senjyu expecting some sort of SikTh revival, you’re going to be disappointed. Senjyu is a diverse and dynamic album which pulls musical elements across multiple genres, and if you’re an open-minded rock and metal fan, this should definitely provide for an interesting experience.

All of the music on Senjyu was written, recorded, and produced by Hayato Imanishi (with the exception of some drumming done by Sky Eats Airplane’s Travis Orbin), deciding to step back into the role as sole musician for this release. This makes Senjyu a showcase of Hayato’s abilities as a versatile songwriter. Deciding to take the rest of his band out of the process was a bold, yet fitting move. Cyclamen started off as a one-man project, so Hayato wanting to step up for the debut album makes sense.

Obviously, with Hayato being Japanese, much of the lyrics are in the Japanese language. Not only that, but some of the music and themes of the album lend themselves to Japanese cultural influences, with Senjyu coming from “Senjyu-Sengen-Kannon (千手千眼観音),” a Japanese God that saves all mankind with its thousand hands and eyes. While the vocals may become a barrier to some, there are English vocals in Senjyu in which listeners can attach themselves to, such as the empowering “With Our Hands,” which features a grower of a chorus.

Like I said, Senjyu is pretty diverse. There’s the side of Cyclamen that most people know now and love from past releases with the tech riffs and aggression, like “Thirst,” “The Seeker,” “Grand Annihilation,” and my personal favorite,  “Revenge (of the Geeks),” which captures the right amount of technicality and catchiness.

On the flip side, there’s the title track “Senjyu,” which is a slowly building and beautifully climactic post-rock crescendo. Hayato dropped the harsh vocals from the demo version he made available, which takes a bit away from the climax, but this is still a powerful track. There’s also “Devoid,” which is a slowly marching piano-centered piece. The album’s closer “Full Moon Night” captures both of these styles seemingly without effort.

Then you have songs like “Hope,” a slow melodic track, and “Comfort,” a clean jazzy number, that don’t exactly fit in with the Cyclamen sound listeners might be used to. As I’ve said before, Hayato doesn’t like to be pigeon-holed and enjoys music from a number of different genres. Hell, the instrumental “Hellrise” sounds like a stoner metal track. If you think you were a fan of Cyclamen before, you’ve got a surprise in store on Senjyu.

For some, Senjyu might take some getting used to or might not be up to the expectations that were set up, as was the case for me. I expected more songs akin to the tracks on Dreamers and their split with Haunted Shores, where the more memorable songs lie, with big guitars and melodies. Even still, Senjyu is a nice start for a hopefully long career for Cyclamen.

Cyclamen – Senjyu gets…

3.5/5

– JR

Editor and founder of Heavy Blog Is Heavy. Social worker. Only doing this bio because of internal pressure to comply.