HYPNO5E "A Distant (Dark) Source"
As a preface to this review, I'd like to bring to readers attention a rather important fact. I don't get material assigned to review - out of the dozens of promos received on weekly basis, I personally pick albums that I personally like, and in the vast majority of cases, physical copies (on vinyl or CD) will become permanent fixtures in my personal collection. I won't waste any of my own time reviewing something that just doesn't cut it. There is no financial gain from running this eZine. Therefore, it shouldn't be odd for the readers to find the articles published in these pages being overtly biased towards the albums reviewed, praising their qualities. Thank you.
Title: A Distant (Dark) Source
Label: Pelagic Records
Release date: November 22, 2019
Format reviewed: (high-rate) mp3 promo
Hailing from the French south coast city of Montpellier, HYPNO5E were never strangers to inciting thought provoking ideas through their music, ever since the band was established back in 2003. Receivers of high accolades for their past works, the avant-garde metallers are now unleashing upon mankind, their best opus to date, the monolithic "A Distant (Dark) Source"!
From the get-go, it have to be mentioned: this album must be played as a whole and in the given sequence, due to the many twists and turns and in order to maintain the fluidity of the story telling. Therefore, find yourself seventy minutes of quiet, undisturbed time and let yourself go ...
At the center of this conceptual album is the former Lake Tauca in the Altiplano of Bolivia. A saline lake the disappeared many thousands of years ago. "A Distant (Dark) Source" casts the musical imagination of a night in this desert, during which the old shores of the lake see the return of the shadows of the people who used to live in this area before its disappearance. Part of a conceptual saga, "A Distant (Dark) Source" is the second part of this story (deliberately released before the first part) and takes place during one single night … but don't be deterred by such conceptual enthusiasm, as HYPNO5E’s sound is powerful, visceral, and immediate. The other connection to the location, on this inward journey to the land of the ghosts of the past, is Bolivia, where singer and guitarist Emmanuel Jessua has grown up, and continues to find inspiration for his musical endeavors.
The compositions on the album are broken into distinctive parts, where every feeling is uprooted and exploited in this intense, emotional rollercoaster ride. Alternating with the aggressive sound eruptions, the listener is taken thru a vast array of surreal soundscapes, that not only add dramatic weight to the music but also immerses the listener into new, perhaps uncharted, meditative depths. Integral part of the technical (as fuck!) aspects of this epic opus, are the vocal parts: flawlessly intertwining the melancholic, stoic at times, clean voice singing parts, with the dissonant desperation of the blackened screams. Doubling in places, in a poetically apocalyptic fashion, highly relevant to the harrowing emotions converging from the music and it's grandiose arrangements. Besides the typical rock/metal instruments, the band freely incorporate sounds created by violin, mandolin, piano, and even Quena (the traditional flute of the Andes), all of them blended into a dense (at times), yet extremely clear body of music. There are moments that might remind the listener of the expansive technical elaborations of Between The Buried And Me, but there is also the careful melancholia of Cynic and the sheer power of Gojira ... but in the end, all these comparisons fail. HYPNO5E's organic sound is undoubtedly their own. Unlike so many bands who rely on a single sound or technique to create their music, HYPNO5E are not bound to any precondition.
I pity the fools whom already published their 2019 end of the year lists, crowning winners in the process, as "A Distant (Dark) Source" is clearly destined to make high ranks, if not even top many of this year's best album lists! Fans of Cynic, Between The Buried And Me, Gojira, Meshuggah, Opeth, Cult Of Luna, Pink Floyd, Tesseract, Soen, and Monuments take heed. Absolutely recommended! 10/10
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© 2019 by Emil Chiru