Album Review: Hyperia – Silhouettes of Horror

Album Review: Hyperia - Silhouettes of Horror
Reviewed by Sam Jones

I was honestly surprised to see a follow up to Insanitorium when I first saw this record announced. I’m unsure why but it makes me happy to know that the newer generation of thrash bands aren’t just lying around waiting for an album of theirs to gather dust; Hyperia demonstrate the best way to get your name out there is to record, release and repeat. Formed in 2018 the band have been very active over a short number of years hailing from Calgary, Canada, where they got to it pretty rapidly with an EP out the following year before succeeding that with a number of Singles that would also be found on their debut studio record, the aforementioned Insanitorium, which kicked the new decade off to roaring fashion. Now another two years later the band return for their second go at pounding your senses but this time with one less member bringing Hyperia down to a four piece. What impact could this have on their sound and configuration playing together? Let’s delve in to find out.

I particularly took to the ferocity of the vocal delivery herein. I liked how the vocals managed to give us a vicious performance that will drag you into the fray, all the while mixing things up plenty enough to ensure the audience isn’t going to get the same kind of vocal tenacity for a solid 50 minutes. It’s a longer thrash album of course and while the primary vocals would get us through the full duration, it’s still endearing to acknowledge how they’re changed up from the scathing and harsh tone to something that’s a little loftier. Sometimes this alteration in vocal tone can be a result of changing songwriting, as key changes and permutations in the band’s riffs and instrumental performance underlies this necessity to keep evolving with as track in question is progressing. Evidently it’s a part of the band’s plan for the record as you’ll see this occur throughout the very first track.

While Hyperia don’t exactly reinvent the thrash wheel in this case, one cannot deny the sense of speed their playing manages to invoke. A close listen to their riffs and overall songwriting demonstrates a surprisingly intricate and minutely segmented approach to thrash riffs whereby you’ll get plenty of small and blocky moments before the band unleash their prowess once more for flat out speed. That’s not to say without this influx of speed things grind to a halt; the band have a very clear control on how much thrust they’re applying to their tempo. In a way it’s because of this keen control on their adrenaline that render these outbursts of speed so jarring yet invigorating: the band aren’t constantly throwing their true intensity in your face so when it does land, it strikes with a bullseye every time.

Album Review: Hyperia – Silhouettes of Horror

While the aim of the band’s performance is to provide us with a thrash assault we can get behind, it’s rather telling how the band implement unique styles of guitar playing to elevate Hyperia’s personality above the rank and file of more mediocre thrash acts. With close attention paid, you’ll hear the neoclassical influence that’s going into the riffs. Whether this is concerning the riffs or solos, it seriously helps the band to stand out from simply the need to play fast and hard. That much can be easy to do but when it’s the only thing a band does it soon grows repetitive. By endorsing their own brand of thrash fused with this neoclassical approach, Hyperia ensure there’s always something that audiences may be able to discover as they’re listening. If there’s one thing I’ve picked up on, it’s that Silhouettes Of Horror feels much more organised and put together. It feels less like a thrash album vomiting up anything it can throw at us, instead presenting itself as a more refined piece that knows what it has to offer and understands how to best unfold it’s worth to us in a way that works for audience and band alike.

While the band are dead set on giving us a roaring work of thrash/death metal, it’s really nice to see they know how to let their hair down by closing out their record with an Abba cover no less. It’s such a quirky and unusual track to give the heavy metal treatment and yet, I reckon there are many who will take to this attempt. It’s wacky and it’s ridiculous but you’re applying metal to Abba, there is no way this isn’t going to be ridiculous and in many ways the band succeed at realising precisely that. But after the regimented and sometimes neoclassical form of thrash Hyperia have given us for, up to this point 45 minutes, structurally speaking it actually works. This is where the band give you something really unusual yet memorable to pinpoint this record in your mind. Many thrash or death metal acts will close out their records with massive showstoppers, how many are going to close things out with an Abba cover? My money is on not many. It’s also ludicrously fun and works wonders with the metal treatment; I could imagine live audiences absolutely jumping with frivolity as friends get drunk and dance together with this closing out a live set. It has that shared camaraderie vibe to it.

In conclusion, Hyperia follow up with a second album whose strength is just shy of their debut release however I will say that this is still an excellent record to pop on for some quality thrash that requires no effort to enjoy. I think a third album will really see what this band can deliver, especially now that their neoclassical influences are rearing their heads and seriously presenting the band with unique personas for tracks that jump off the record. Silhouettes Of Horror, as we’ve mentioned beforehand, is a far more segmented and intricately played record than their debut work and it does benefit from this. When the pacing intensifies the output is dramatic, especially when backed against the blockier and more structured songwriting Hyperia are bringing to boot this time round. Closing things out with an addictive-to-listen Abba cover, Hyperia ultimately showcase that while they’re here to bring all the notions of devastation and velocity to your current surroundings, they never forgot you need to have a little fun from time to time.

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