Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Hyperion - Seraphical Euphony (2016)

The debut album from Sweden's Hyperion is already getting some good reviews and has garnered a 93% on Metal Archives from some new reviewer I've never heard of. I just never referred to melodic black metal as a game, but I imagine it would be a pretty interesting one nonetheless. Formed from members of Mist Of Misery, Everwhere and Rest Area Effect, this act has been around since 2010, when they first decided to release a demo, which someone found to be better than this album. Considering the fact that all three of those demo tracks are here on this full-length (Blood Of The Ancients, Moral Evasion and Primal Cosmic Asendancy) there's no need for you to track it down and this nearly an hour long performance will do nicely. I could tell you that they sound like Dissection, but so do many other bands in this style and that doesn't say so much. Just know that you will definitely hear grim tremolos as well as rather bright lead melodies and even some solo sections. In addition to that, we've also a barrage of synths at time, which help to enhance the grandiosity of a couple of these tracks. Synths aren't used in every song, but they do appear here, so if you don't like synths (and some people don't) then you probably won't enjoy the entire record. We have acoustic riffs, as well as some spoken word sections quite like you'll find on melodic death metal albums. Truth be told, it's a formula that we've heard a hundred times over, and we'll be fine with hearing a hundred more times. That's because Hyperion does it right. Sure, we had to wait six years for this record, but it honestly seems like it was worth it. The reviewer over at Metal Archives tagged them as melodic black, even though there's far too much oomph in this record to fall under that kind of simplification. That's why I feel that their actual classification, “melodic black/death” fits a hell of a lot better. “Flagellum Dei” fucking pounds with the might of a steam engine, same with “Empyrean Yearning” and practically every track other than the useless intro “Remnants Of The Fallen.” I understand that it's supposed to be a buildup to “Novus Ordo Seclorum” but I honestly just see most people skipping it entirely or deleting it out of the folder once they've bought the digital from the band's Bandcamp.

That being said, the band still like to begin nearly every song on the record with an acoustic intro (except for “Novus Ordo Seclorum” and “Zephyr Of Grace”) and in doing so, we can appreciate them a little more as part of the songs. You could just go right to the heavy part on closer “Blood Of The Ancients” but it just wouldn't sound quite so damn majestic. That aforementioned in particular, which was obviously more about structure and style than merely blasting the drums and scowling incoherently, which certainly does happen. Yet we also hear something on the track that we don't hear on the rest of the album, and that is frontman Henry Laureans' clean vocal approach. It is dark, forlorn and worked to remind me just a hint of Johan Edlund. Other than those vocals, we of course hear some absolutely immense guitar solos (which shouldn't cut off, cutting off guitar solos at the end of an album is a big no-no, which means I have to wait for a YouTube performance to stream so that I can hear the whole song – he was right in the middle of an awesome melody too!) at the end of the disc of which three gentlemen can actually be accredited to! That's actually something quite rare in bands, as normally I'll either see that there's one or two guitarists in the act, but the fact that these guys have three is pretty insane. Seraphical Euphony is a record that certainly utilizes such a mass number of guitarists quite well, and features hordes of dazzling and brilliant solos on many of the other tracks (which do not get cut off by the way) which really work to decorate most of the musical matter that you'll hear on the disc.

While it's still a heavy album with thrashing black metal moments as well as those with an obviously more death metal and even groove-laced feel, there's an awful lot of beauty here and I think as a whole it's much more than we could have ever bargained for or expected this year. I'm not saying that metal is on the wane, but there are far less intriguing discs than there used to be, as dying trends struggle to survive while truly classy and thought provoking albums like this are usually pushed behind or buried in a sea of more popular and recognizable releases. I really hope that enough people will really sit down with this album as they should, and give it the time and attention it deserves. Mixing dark and light elements like this is somewhat difficult to do, and to do quite so well as these guys have done; so I'd definitely consider it worth your money. Every bit, including the track with the cut-off guitar solo because maybe your autism over it won't be quite so bad as mine. (Deep breaths, Eric.) There are some really stellar hits on this one, which I think you're going to appreciate quite a bit. I've listened to the disc twice already and still don't feel as though I've cracked the shell of it yet. Hyperion have really made a masterpiece of an album and I have no idea how they're going to top it. Some might say perhaps that they've gone a little too much into the realms of common blast-laden black metal and perhaps should step it more with the progressive/technical side, but I feel that the style here will appeal more to fans of that old Dissection style than something a bit more convoluted. I'm not really sure as to whether or not this album is a perfect 10/10 or an awesome 9/10, but I think that's the kind of answer we'll receive in time. If they can outdo themselves in the next couple of years with a new release, they'll definitely get a ten from this reviewer. But for right now, on this date and time, I'm going to consider a smashing album like this something of a nine. Should you still get it? Of course you should. Don't ask such a silly question. If you love superb melodies and solos injected into black and death metal as much as I do, then you're going to love this one. I mean, really love this one. We very well may not get anything this grandiose in the melodic black/death realms for the rest of the year... and it's still only April. I believe that truly says it all.

(9 Tracks, 52:00)


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