REVERB_REVIEWS: Cyphier ‘Cerebral Warfare‘ EP

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“Think for yourself” – what does that even mean anymore? Day after day, we’re being pummelled with toxic information and exaggerated imagery telling us what to buy and who to be. The world is littered with systemic agendas designed to dissuade us from seeing the world on our own terms. Well, Cyphier (Louis Cyphier on vocals and Jason Karlsson on backing vocals and programming) are back to remind us to fight for our freedom of thought with their new EP, Cerebral Warfare, on Electric Bat Records!

Unapologetically raw, the London electropunk heavyweight duo have never had a problem telling it like it is. Sure, you could say it’s “pissed off, angry music” but you could be missing the point. Considering their aggressive approach, it can just as well be seen as “getting it off your chest” music. With previous releases, they’ve tackled a broad spectrum of socio-political subjects, from suicide to punching Nazis, and just about every other issue in between.

This time around, Cyphier’s latest entry, Cerebral Warfare, takes a dive inside society’s mind. Cyphier is known to say what I’m sure most of us want to, and they’re going even further with this release. Hosting three new tracks and two renditions, it’s just as lyrically bold as their previous material, but has more atmospheric density than past offerings with pronounced elements of darkwave, dance and hip-hop. It’s also not quite as in-your-face and intense as a seasoned listener would come to expect. It’s not to say it lacks the aggression Cyphier fans are familiar with, it’s just as fierce but in a more subtle way.

‘Family Love’ is the EP’s opener. Welcoming you to the Cyphier Family, it’s a headfirst plunge into their brutal honesty. The beat is driving, working in tandem with Louis’s vocals which keeps the momentum of the track going. Lyrically, it’s got a ‘fall in line’ kind of vibe, cautioning us to heed the consequences of our actions in the eyes of the establishment. 

The second track, ‘Lost That Right’, opens up with a chilling robotic voice chanting “Scourge to free thought” followed by a pounding beat reminiscent of our hearts while in the throes of an adrenaline rush. Accompanied by an anxiety-triggering synth, the song punches and the its chorus carries a solid hip-hop flow. It’s another action vs. consequence track but carries more than enough diversity to keep the overall sound of the EP fresh.

The final track, ‘Let Me Die’, easily distinguishes itself from the two previous tracks. It’s brooding. Not only does it contain a pounding darkwave feel reminiscent of early Nine Inch Nails, it also features the darkest lyrics on the EP. The track explores the internal dialogue of someone suffering from severe depression in a very real way. It’s quite sobering and demands multiple listens because of how well it illustrates the raw feelings we internalize while projecting the image of being fine to others. The track can be summed up as an anthemic cry for help on behalf of those who have difficulty reaching out and externalizing their emotions. It’s a brave move on Cyphier’s part to portray the frightening realism of severe depression that goes all too often goes unnoticed and, for that reason, deserves recognition.

Cerebral Warfare also contains Cyphier-ized renditions of such classics, like Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick In the Wall’ (or ‘The Brick Suite’ as titled on the EP) and Irish Rover’s sea shanty ‘Drunken Sailor’ (‘Drunken Fascist’ on the EP). It also has a hilarious hidden track – but for all that, you’ll need to check it out for yourself. Give it a listen below!

It’s an awesome listen, especially if you’re familiar with their work. Given its runtime, it would have been interesting to hear how they could have expanded on the sound presented in this EP, however, they’re not showing any signs of slowing down. Never using the same approach twice (while staying within their signature sound), it will be cool to see how Cyphier will evolve with their future releases.

Cyphier is doing a quick run across Ontario and doing a dip into Montreal to promote their EP and will also be appearing on RiseUp TV’s live filming at Eastside’s Bar & Grill on Tuesday, May 29th. Follow their tour and see what they’re up to by following them on Facebook.

Also be sure to check out their previous releases on Bandcamp.