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Album Review: Hyperia – “Silhouettes of Horror”

From the rolling plains of Calgary, to coastal shores of Vancouver, Hyperia has shifted their base within Canada to allow themselves to not only expand musically but, creatively as well. Fresh off the release of their 2020 album, “Insanitorium”, Hyperia drops in with their new album titled “Silhouettes of Horror” due to debut March 18th, 2022. This album is conceptual, taking on the influences of parapsychology, night terror hallucinations, and inhumane government experiments. It’s fast, heavy, melodic, and brimming with all the elements of Thrash at its core.

For those who enjoy bands like Havok, and fellow Canadians, Unleash the Archers, you’ll be in for a treatment of the dark and loud with a touch of campiness to lighten the mood. Composed of David Kupisz (Rhythm Guitar), Colin Ryley (Lead Guitar), Marlee Ryley (Vocals), Scott DeGruyter (Bass), and Gord Alexander (Session Drummer), this album is certainly one that will more than simply ‘knock your socks off’.

The first track “Hypnagogia” sets the pace for the album with relentless speed. Hypnagogia can translate clearly as the state between sleep and wakefulness where someone may experience hallucinations. The combination of lyrical highs, embracing chaotic visions and the mad riffage depicting a loss of sanity, this track is an absolute mind-bender. With twisted vocal growls and arching melody, the title of this track is well portrayed.

“Intoxication Therapy” rolls in next and is purely classic thrash, with its topic about the dependency on alcohol and the party life. It borders on fun but, can come off as all too relatable to bands and fans alike. The foundation of thrash is prominent in the riffs here; slap that with Marlee’s wicked howls and you’ve got a track that demands to be played LOUD. It’s a song that depicts the complex battle between one more drink, and calling it a night, with the knowledge of when enough is enough. For some the track is simple – head-banging thrash but, beyond the spine-tingling riffs, there is a deeper message; one that resonates with many all too deeply.

The third track is “Experiment 77” written about a government experiment where they chose to dose test subjects with LSD for 77 days to study the human mind. Each day they doubled the dosage, resulting in some terrifying and intriguing results. Dueling guitar solos, bass solo, and intricate moments for instrumentals, this track dwindled on the edge of Godlessness with wildly diverse solos and a brilliant musical explanation of the effects of drug experimentation. The deep bass solo hits different, like a thought on the back of your mind itching to break through your lips. The battling guitars are like a battle of intellect and madness, where one seeks rationalization and the other, control. It’s got musical depth that stretches beyond thrash and seeps into mastered craftmanship.

“Severed” is the slowest on the album but, far from a letdown. Lyrically it speaks about how Humans were originally interconnected but, throughout time the link to our collective consciousness was severed. If you’re hunting for instrumental depth, this is another track to open your ears to. With unhinged riffs, chaotic drums, and a complex bass beat, this track is as intricate in musical composition as it is in its lyrical content. There’s a killer solo that absolutely screams stage show just before the 3-minute mark, bringing some energy to this slow yet, deeply disturbing song.

Number 5 is “Prisoner of the Mind”, introduced by a super melodic and classically based lick that leads into speed and thrash. Verses are lengthy but, catchy, with a chorus that’s easy to find yourself singing along with. This track discusses being a slave to thought and conditioning, a literal prisoner in our own minds.

 

 

“Terror Scum” follows up to discuss living a life in fear. It’s a metaphor for being injected with fear by the media, news, and our entire culture. It’s a high-energy song with a range of vocal styles and an extended c-section that focuses on harmonized guitar leads. The introductory growls and subsequent vocal display is legendary; Marlee truly puts her abilities to the rest on this track but, the instrumental is not to be outdone. The combination of break-neck speed and skilled chords at every angle amplify the target message of fear, and how relatable it is to feel it when it’s being poured down your throat like tainted koolaid wherever you turn.

“Whiteout” is influenced by Stephen King’s novel ‘The Institute’ where a government runs experiments on young people in order to harness their powers and create psychological warfare. Classic thrash comes through as a surefire pit-starter with this track. Marlee’s intro scream is frightening and drums up the energy from deep within. The warfare element is displayed in contrasting instrumentals with distorted guitar solos, hammering drums, and ear-piercing vocals; a battle for power, against one another, in pure insanity.

The title track, “Silhouettes of Horror” starts out with only guitars and slowly builds with drums into a speedy double-kicker frenzy. Heavy vocals, pulse, and instrumentals you can feel crank the intensity of this track from the moment it starts. You wait for the kick in the face that comes quick in both vocal and double-kicker relentlessness, and I love the darkness and depth of this track. It’s got thrash but, feels hyped up by black metal with deeper, darker vocals and hard-hitting instrumentals at every turn.

The song “Operation Midnight” is the first single from the album. Melodic vocals and sporadic riffs complete this album’s definition. It’s a literal headbanger with skin-scratching shrieks, and boundless riffs that are plentiful. It’s a punch in the throat with a magnitude that quenches your thrash thirst with blood, sweat and tears.

 

 

“Pleonexia” is the grand finale and longest track, lyrically divulging corporate greed and how it affects our society. Vocally layered with drastic performances of high-pitched growls and disembodied howls, this song is stacked with brick after brick of rough riffs and feverish drum action, wrapping the album up with a bang.

However, no true album or band is complete without a wild cover or two. And ABBA’s “Gimme Gimme Gimme” is given great tribute here. As an ABBA fan (as I’m sure many of you must be willingly or not) I had to give it to Hyperia for demonizing this pop classic with flare. The opening of this track is one that calls to your very soul and Hyperia keeps the feel by utilizing vicious guitars to carry it out. Marlee perfects her vocal command over the chorus to keep the lyrics at the forefront and amplifies them with her harsh tones. It doesn’t overdo it, keeping overkill at a minimum while still shredding down some killer verses for a high energy drop at the end.

In my opinion, this album is the perfect blend of terror and thrash that blends well to create something uniquely familiar. It hits all the musical notes you’re after, while still indulging in a few out of this world solos and combos that are to die for.

Favourite Tracks: Experiment 77, Silhouettes of Horror

Release Date: March 18th, 2022
Label: Independent
Rating: 6/10
Track Listing:
1.) Hypnagogia
2.) Intoxication Therapy
3.) Experiment 77
4.) Severed
5.) Prisoner of the Mind
6.) Terror Scum
7.) Whitecoat
8.) Silhouettes of Horror
9.) Operation Midnight
10.) Pleonexia
11.) Gimme Gimme Gimme (ABBA Cover)

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