HYPERIA – The Serpent’s Cycle

HYPERIA – The Serpent’s Cycle


BAND URL: https://hyperiametal.bandcamp.com/

Hyperia is a Canadian technical heavy thrash metal band founded in 2018 and they have just released their 3rd (after Insanitarium²⁰²⁰ and Silhouettes Of Horror²⁰²²) full length The Serpent’s Cycle²⁰²³ on November 17th, independently but courtesy of two promotors Jon Asher & Asher Media Relations and Sonja Schlicht & CMM GMBH, a good album with typical genre trappings.

To the good, Marlee Ryley (vocals), Colin Ryley (guitars), Skyler Mills (2023-guitars), Jon Power (2023-bass) and Aaron “Bell” Berg (2023-drums) can thrash with the likes of Anthrax or Overkill or D.R.I. like it’s 1986 (stylings) and Revocation like it’s 2013 (power), the best examples the Mozartian (in stylings and a movie quote) “Prophet Of Deceit”, the favorite the excellent title track with its strong Hell Awaits¹⁹⁸⁵ Slayer stylings or the more traditional metal “Trapped in Time” reminiscent of Fistful Of Metal¹⁹⁸⁴ Anthrax, that last one particularly revealing a major flaw of the album: Marlee Ryley’s vocals. When she growls a’la ex-Arch Enemy Angela Gossow, she both fits the music and follows the guitars but when she tries to sing cleanly, especially at highs, she just sounds as if she had a hellish time following the guitars, either that or perhaps she’s too low in the mix which is far from perfect at any rate, sounding like a garage recording most of the time. In any case, both features actually distract from the listening pleasure and remind us that Hyperia are not fantastic song writers, just good to very good ones.

I do appreciate that they’re trying to prove they are not a one trick pony and, for instance, “Eye For An Eye” offers more of that nuance and a bit of progression (howbeit not enough for an additional tag under the review) we know from Testament albums such as The New Order¹⁹⁸⁸ or Dark Roots Of Earth²⁰¹² or, what should have been the closer, “Deathbringer” reminding us what Revocation is doing, but I wish Hyperia would have taken even more risks with this material as The Serpent’s Cycle²⁰²³ (which side of the Serpent would they be on?) too often sounds generic and some tracks, such as the opener “Ego Trip” are simply boring despite their ferocious pace (or perhaps because of it?) bordering on filler, never a good thing to start an album with. And why they chose to end with a “Crazy On You” Heart cover other than to make it almost unrecognizable from the mediocre original, prove beyond reasonable doubt that Marlee Ryley is quite good at mid register cleans but just as tough to listen to the highs as she’s straining hard and, finally, to unwittingly force an impression that perhaps Hyperia should try more of that kind of variety in their own songs?

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