There is a certain style of death metal that I think of as “imperial”, and sometimes as “infernally imperial” to account for the demonic shadows that often fall across the music. Those words come to mind, for example, when I think of Poland’s now best-known metal export, Behemoth. Obviously, I’m not using the term to convey a sense of glittering ostentatiousness, but instead as a means of capturing an atmosphere of dark might and majesty.
Hyperial is a four-man, one-woman band who have just released a six-song EP entitled Industry that incorporates that kind of blackened majesty into their music, but also use keyboards and ethereal guitar solos in a way that adds a sense of futuristic atmosphere to the brutish pummeling of the riffs and drums.
With the exception of a brief synthesizer instrumental that creates a moody ambience (“MMXII-MMXXX”), the songs are fast, with jabbing, choppy riffs and slightly off-kilter rhythms, anchored by a huge, groaning bass presence and percussion that frequently erupts in explosions of blasting. The songs are packed with massive (and even bombastic) grooves and the near-constant presence of moaning (and sometimes squealing) guitar chords that conjure up not only images of Behemoth but also Gojira (especially on the title track).
The vocals add to that ominous sense of rampant bestiality, with low-end roaring that sounds like a cross between a barking wolf and an enraged bear, though the vocals also include a trade-off with high-end shrieking that avoids any risk of monotony.
The keyboards are not overdone; they don’t come close to the territory of overripe cheese. Instead they appear hear and there, usually noticeable only briefly, though they are more prominent on the band’s re-recorded version of “The Eternal Paradise of Illusion”, which originally appeared on an earlier demo. They’re also not of the Fleshhgod Apocalypse symphonic variety, but instead generate that synthesized, spacey, futuristic atmosphere to which I referred earlier. They create an interesting contrast with the pneumatic crushing of the riffage.
Hyperial also benefit from mature songwriting and a high level of technical skill in the instrumental performances, everything moving at fairly high speed and sometimes just blowing the doors off in a frenzied maelstrom of noise.
I really enjoyed Industry, and found myself looking forward to hearing it multiple times as I prepared for this review. It’s an interesting blending of styles and certainly strong enough to add Hyperial’s name to the short list of Polish metal bands I’ll be following in the future.
Industry is now available on iTunes. Here are links to the band’s web pages:
As usual, we also have some music for you. Below is the first track from the EP, “Of Concrete and Ash Age” (earlier Hyperial songs can be streamed at their ReverbNation page), which was previously released for streaming on YouTube. In addition, with the band’s permission, we’re also giving you the first public stream of the EP’s second song, “Rotted Society”. Check ’em out.