Having been through so many phases and transformations throughout the years, it seems that often, heavy metal music can seem over-complicated – too complex, showy or pretentious. Alternatively, it can be too simple, regurgitated or repetitive. It’s easy to forget that putting out an accessible, quality heavy metal recording shouldn’t be difficult. Something inspired but direct, razor sharp but heavy. Truly exceptional music shouldn’t have to be too conceptually and musically convoluted or dumbed-down to push you face-first into that tingling, meditative journey that it should provide.
With replicated, simulated and easily-absorbed tracks dominating the airwaves and often showy, overly conceptualized prog-dilutions ruling the underground, it seems the ability to achieve any sort of balance of the two in metal is primarily lost. Enter Kansas City metal hybrid HYBORIAN, who illustrate a perfect equilibrium of rich concept and straightforward songwriting with their debut album, Hyborian: Volume I. The album drops on March 17, 2017 via Kansas City-based label The Company, and is available for pre-order now via www.thecompanykc.com. iTunes pre-orders will go live on March 3, with their first single, “Maelstrom”, as an instant grat track.
Volume I track listing:
1) As Above, So Below
3) Blood for Blood
4) Dead Lies Dreaming
As many parts stoner rock as it is retro-inspired and deliciously groovy, HYBORIAN‘s Hyborian: Volume I takes the listener on a ride that emits wall-shaking-levels of heaviness and lyrical fantasy, remaining engaging for any metal listener. Immense riffage, barrelling verses and piercing leads combine to create a sound that invites the listener to sit back and become fully-absorbed, when it isn’t summoning involuntary elbow-throwing. Lyrically, the album’s storytelling style is inspired by Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories, but based on an interstellar, extra-dimensional cloaked being called The Traveller. Hyborian: Volume I tells his legends from the time before written language.
Lead vocalist Martin Bush discusses the roots of HYBORIAN‘s lyrical inspiration, “I grew up reading pretty much anything I could get my hands on, which included me raiding my dad’s book collection. He had a ton of classic sci-fi and fantasy, from Asimov and Heinlan to Howard and Cooper. Because of that, this writing style comes very naturally to me.”
He further explains, “Basically The Traveller is a being that exists outside of humanity’s understanding of space and time. He is the source of all life in the universe, but is not omnipresent. He wanders the cosmos, visiting and recording times of great strife or hardship, great suffering or great triumph. We are his chosen mouthpiece on Earth, so we relate those stories, whether from far in the past or far in the future. For instance, “Maelstrom” is the story of a mountaintop battle between a being who has just achieved a higher consciousness in the midst of a scuffle with a sentient storm. In order to defeat the creature in the storm, he expends his newfound powers and gives up his life.
We are also pretty into cryptography, so there are several hidden messages on the album from The Traveller if the listener is clever enough to find them.”
When a band says they built their sound from the ground up, they normally don’t mean it literally. Once again, HYBORIAN prove individuality in this department, as Hyborian: Volume I was recorded at the band’s own studio that they built themselves and eventually began also using as a rehearsal space. The album was then mixed by Justin Mantooth at Westend Studios (Radkey, Family, Godmaker) and mastered by Nick Zampiello at New Alliance East (The Red Chord, Torche, Trap Them).
Bush says that recording on the band’s own terms, in their own space, really helped them achieve their best product: “We decided to build our own space to record simply because it cost us about what it would have cost to track at a decent studio, but now we have a home base to make record after record after record. The art of crafting an album as opposed to a group of songs is somewhat lost, or at least relegated to the realms of people with incredibly deep pockets, so being able to really play around and do all the extra stuff that makes an album an album was really important to us.”
Since forming in 2015, HYBORIAN has performed as support for the likes of Iron Reagan, Power Trip, Mothership, Acid King, Mutoid Man, Tweak Bird, Vektor, Whores and many others. The band will once again give fans a chance to witness their live assault this March during their Midwestern U.S. tour. The run will feature varying support acts in each city. See below for all confirmed tour dates:
HYBORIAN Tour Dates:
3/16 Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room w/ Iron Reagan, Power Trip
3/17 Kansas City, MO @ Private Location Release Party w/ Keef Mountain, Expo 70, Orphans of Doom, Inner Altar
3/18 Omaha, NE @ O’Leavers w/ Dirty Talker
3/19 Lincoln, NE @ Duffy’s Tavern w/ High Ruler, Sweats
3/20 Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
3/21 Iowa City, IA @ Gabes
3/22 Chicago, IL @ Township w/ Guerilla
3/23 Madison, WI @ The Frequency
3/24 Minneapolis, MN @ Hexagon Bar w/ Lungs
3/25 St. Louis, MO @ Fubar w/ Bastard