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Album Reviews : Hybrid Nightmares – Hybrid Nightmares

By on May 8, 2014

I’m not going to try and fly under the radar with this one. I’m going to be frank in saying that these next two albums are old; in the sense at least that they were both released prior to 2014. I’ve had them in my possession for a few months now, but hadn’t had the time to properly review them. They deserve the press, however; despite their age. As such, I’m going to employ a bit of an unorthodox method here and release both reviews simultaneously – almost like a 2-for-1 deal. But for metal.

I’ll be reviewing both Hybrid Nightmares eponymous debut EP and Copia’s debut album Eleven : Eleven. And releasing the reviews one after the other.

To kick start proceedings for the evening is Melbourne based black metallers Hybrid Nightmares with their debut EP of the same name.

Enjoy!

 

Hybrid Nightmares EP 2011One of the first things I have to say about Hybrid Nightmares is that there is a real neat and unexpected sound to their music. It’s perhaps best described as ‘melodic black metal’. While that mightn’t sound so groundbreaking on its own, there is something about their sound that just clicked with me. Unlike the generic black metal sound that saturates much of the scene today, Hybrid Nightmares employ a whole myriad of different styles and influences: ranging from haunting, melodic riffs; traditional heavy metal; infectious rhythm sections; and even hints dropped in their music of blues, rock, and interestingly, touches of sludge even.

I think one of the best aspects of this EP is the fact it clearly shows from the outset that Hybrid Nightmares aren’t a band afraid to experiment, which when it comes to a genre like black metal, a genre that at times seems to become a parody of itself, it’s always great when you find bands that push the envelope of what’s been established before and forge a sound that while not necessarily revolutionary does come across as nothing if not fresh and interesting. It’s one of the reasons I fell in love with other more recent black metal bands like Dutch symphonic black metallers, Carach Angren. A band who, like Hybrid Nightmares, have employed a number of influences and styles on their records, and with their most recent album Where the Corpses Sink Forever, created a memorable and engaging aural tale unlike anything else I’d heard from any black metal band at the time.

I feel Hybrid Nightmares have equally achieved this. Even just from flipping through the small, two-page liner notes, in only a handful of fantasy and science-fiction based images and paragraphs, it tells you a story. And this same philosophy of less-is-more translates wonderfully to their music. It’s the other great part about this EP. Instead of coming across as a random set of songs without much structure or connection between one or the other as you occasionally find with some EPs, Hybrid Nightmares (the EP, not the band) feels like a concise and interwoven story. While spanning across a range of eras in a fictional historical setting, we’re exposed to a bleak future where a Lich King-like figure sits upon a gloomy throne of death and hatred; bringing across an almost Warhammer 40,000 atmosphere (which is something always welcomed in my book!).

Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Troy McCosker (Eye of the Enemy) at Pony Studios (with vocals and additional mixing provided courtesy of Aki Oshima of Bloodpuppies Entertainment), the melancholic undertones weave smoothly under the instrumentation, and vocalist Lachlan “Loki” Robson’s brooding lines of doom and sorrowful omens complement his understated screeches. It all synthesizes perfectly with Ben Plant’s and Michael “Gummas” Gumley’s catchy riffs, and little acoustic and blues segments in the midpoint of tracks like “Ashes of an Astral Winter”, as well as the rhythm section, all serve to drive this beast of a band.

As I noted before Hybrid Nightmares approach of ‘less-is-more’ works incredibly well for them with what they’re aiming to achieve here – that being telling this tale of a world besieged by horror and death; and of the forsaken individuals trapped within its bowels.

One of the best things about this EP is just the consistent unexpected moments in the music that have you sit up and think to yourself ‘that was a pretty cool touch’. While weaving a fable of myth, legend, and the horror of a future we’d never hope to see ourselves, the opening segments in songs such as “Upon the Cursed Wings” and the solo in “Mourn Not the Dead” experiment with hard rock styles and melodic, blues inspired chords. All in all it builds a black metal album unlike any other I’ve heard. And c’mon, that part at around the five minute mark in “Mourn Not the Dead” exposes a real awesome, tongue-in-cheek side to this band! As everything grinds down into an almost cult-like verse, it’s then followed by a decidedly Aussie chant of ‘Oi!’ in the vein of AC/DC’s “TNT”. It was a moment I didn’t at all expect, but found myself loving as the smile on my lips developed naturally after hearing it.

Even if you’re not a huge black metal fan (and I must admit, I’m not really much of one either; I just listen to a few bands occassionally), whether it’s in the bluesy sections or in the moments that recall Immortal and Darkthrone – both old and new – I feel there is something that can be gained by everyone through listening to this EP. And I can almost guarantee it will no doubt be a listening experience you won’t soon forget.

Band: Hybrid Nightmares
EP: Hybrid Nightmares
Year: 2011
Genre: Extreme Metal
Label: Independent
Origin: Melbourne, Australia

Tracklisting:

1. Emperor
2. Upon The Cursed Wings
3. Ashes Of An Astral Winter
4. Mourn Not The Dead
5. The Killing Fields

About

Jonathon is an aspiring fantasy/sci-fi novelist and music journalist. Thanks to the influence of the music he grew up with, he has always possessed a keen interest in metal and rock. He is also a huge fan of mythology, legend, and folklore from all across the world. You should follow him on Twitter.