I am convinced that a malevolent chemical compound is present in Polish drinking water (read: vodka) that imbues its people with both a preternatural ability and burning, unholy desire to create atmospheric, highly technical, punishingly heavy, blackened death metal. After giving Hyperial‘s new full length Blood and Dust a spin, it’s clear the members of this five piece, based out of Dobre Miasto, are keeping well hydrated.
Creating truly enjoyable, memorable technical death metal is a tricky business. Of course, it requires incredibly skilled musicians able to handle the required complexity and speed of the genre, or, when said talent is lacking, an arcane knowledge of Pro-Tools. This only takes you so far; plenty of bands are able to melt faces, though many spend so much time in the wank-zone that everything tends to blend together into one long “Hey, look what I can do!” song, while others create music so mind-numbingly complex it becomes unapproachable. For example, Ulcerate‘s 2013 record Vermis was by all accounts brilliant, but it’s unrelenting technical punishment requires the listener to eat a calorie-rich meal and get plenty of rest before trying to get through the thing, and therefor may not be everyone’s cup of Satanic tea. What makes Hyperial’s new record such a treat to listen to is the group’s commitment to writing actual songs, as opposed to a set of musical exercises.
The first track, “The Plague of The Used Masses”, opens with a hailstorm of blasting percussion that sets an excellent pace for the rest of the album while also employing a series of well thought out rhythm changes that keep things from getting stagnant, giving the music an epic, imperial quality. Further driving this sense of infernal grandeur is Hyperial’s use of synth throughout the record. This element in particular demonstrates to me a high level of songwriting maturity; Hyperial use just enough synthetic elements, played by keyboardist/sampler Aneta Pawtel, to add an ethereal atmosphere to their brutal pummelling. They understand that, similar to hot dogs and PCP, more is not always a good thing, and they therefore avoid sounding corny or pretentious.
The clean guitar riff at the beginning of “By The Alley of Silence”, as well as the song’s many mid-tempo moments, provide a brief respite from the rest of the record’s typically blistering pace. The choir-like vocal synth heard on this track and throughout Blood and Dust continues to lend an ominous sense of dread to the whole affair, as well as highlight Hyperial’s admiration for fellow countrymen and blackened death metal powerhouse Behemoth, whose most recent record The Satanist is a masterclass in creating a truly imposing, majestic atmosphere.
In terms of musical skill, it’s really unnecessary to go into too much detail here; these guys and girl know how to play their instruments. Kamil “Grochu” Grochowski ‘s vocals fit perfectly with Hyperial’s style and modulate between a classic guttural death metal low end with punches of black metal-esque high register rasp. The track “Till The End of His Days” allows new drummer Przemislaw “Bocian” Bednarczyk to display his ability to blast at ludicrous speeds (here’s hoping this isn’t just studio wizardry), as well as lock into a proper mid-tempo groove when appropriate.
Hyperial’s Blood and Dust is a solid record perfect for metal fans who enjoy a splash of foreboding ambiance while having their ear drums assaulted.
Written by Jesse Gainer