It’s time to take a look at the highly anticipated debut album from German melodic death metallers Hiraes that dropped on June 25. The band was founded in 2020 after the split of Dawn of Disease by the ex-DOD members Lukas Kerk, Oliver Kirchner, Christian Wösten and Mathias Blässe with the fantastic Britta Görtz as their new singer. If you know Britta and her brutal growls from Cripper and Critical Mess, you know you’re in for a treat.
The album opener “Shadow Break” is a solid melodic death metal song with catchy hooks, great guitar riffs and melodic growls of Britta. It’s quickly followed by “Under Fire”, one of the most brutal tracks on the album. The song features dark growls and screams, but still, remains very melodic and the chorus will be stuck in your head for days. With a crazy guitar solo and surprise piano part at the end, the song is very diverse and intense. The following “Grain Of Sand” and “1000 Lights” are powerful tracks that immediately attract the listener’s attention and doesn’t let you catch your breath until the last second is over. “Eyes Over Black” kicks off with an explosion; fast riffs and brutal growls open up the third single off of the album with a variety of melodies and blast beats, it’s one of the most prominent tracks of the album.
The sixth track “Outshine” starts with a beautiful melody and continues in a powerful manner; dominated by tempo changes from beginning to end. And once you get to the title track “Solitary”, you realize how well this union of ex-DOD members and Britta works as Britta’s unreal low growls start the aggressively blasting song. As already proven earlier, it’s a piece of cake for Britta to make the chorus sound brutal and catchy at the same time. The song is just loaded with energy and that epic guitar solo… Without a doubt, this piece is the highlight of the album for me.
“Strangers” starts a little different than all the other songs and is quite a surprise with its quiet melody and spoken/whispered parts at first, but it’s not long until Britta let’s everyone hear her roaring again. Overall, it is a solid song, but does not quite reach the level of tracks like “Solitary” or “Eyes Over Black”. With its six and a half minutes, the last song of the album, “Running Out Of Time”, is ironically the longest track on “Solitary”. The beginning sounds massive and blast beats give the tune a bit of a black metal vibe. Britta’s unbelievable vocals, strong melodies and guitar riffs take hold of the listener through the song’s entirety. The track finishes off with a soft piano, a melody which sounds so magical that you could ask yourself if it even belongs to this intense, powerful album. A rather unexpected but, pleasing ending.
With the musical past of the band members, the expectations were high, but Hiraes delivered a high-quality piece of melodic death metal. It is true that there will always be parallels between Hiraes and other melodic death metal bands with female guttural vocals, but in general, Hiraes has already established their own identity with “Solitary”. You can hear that these extraordinary, talented musicians have been making music for quite some time now, and it’s not the typical debut album.
Hiraes is going their own way, even if you can find some signature elements and a few Scandinavian influences here and there. Britta’s lyrics are deep and at times provoking; just as creative and emotional, which was already to be expected if you are familiar with her amazing song-writing in Critical Mess. The band created a versatile album without clean vocals, which, in my opinion would have fitted pretty good into a few songs. In any case, “Solitary” will be loved by every melodic death metal fan who already likes bands such as Dark Tranquillity, In Flames or Arch Enemy. I am already looking forward to their first tour and live shows.
Release date: June 25, 2021
Label: Napalm Records
1. Shadows Break
2. Under Fire
3. Grain Of Sand
4. 1000 Lights
5. Eyes Over Black
9. Running Out Of Time