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Hyborian: Vol. II

It’s easy to imagine the end of the world; the movies do it all the time and so do books, podcasts, paintings, and songs. What isn’t so easy is to make the spectacle of the end new and interesting. This is especially hard when the music and lyrics have to capture what Hollywood can do with a generous budget for special effects.

Hyborian’s own take on the end of the world comes in two forms: and album and a companion book. As conceived by Martin Bush (vocals, guitar, and synths), the story concerns “The Traveller” and his experiences as the world ends and something new emerges from the chaos. I haven’t read the novel, but I hear that it covers the same material as the lyrics, only it does so with added depth and detail. I’m interested in checking it out, especially since Hyborian also claims Robert E. Howard as an influence. Pulp fiction is always a source of great fun.

For those wondering what Hyborian sounds like, imagine a sludge band soaring like Mastodon and swaggering like Motorhead. There’s also quite a bit of Metallica-style palm muting on the album. Say what you will about Metallica, the palm muting is an essential technique that never gets old.

I confess that I didn’t throw myself very deeply into the story. It wasn’t for lack of interest; I just wanted to sit back and enjoy the music more than anything else. I do hope to read the companion book and sift through the lyrics at some point in the future. If you, like me, just want to lose yourself in some sludge metal, I’d suggest checking out “Planet Destructor,” one of the most dramatic tracks on the album. I enjoyed its speed and its energy and thought it captured the menace of potential destruction pretty well. I would also recommend “Expanse,” and not just because it got me thinking about that TV show. If you like “Expanse,” just leave the album on through the end. Although the album is solid from start to finish, the last half or so really stood out for its energy, speed, and power. There are also some nice melodic moments to mix things up.

Overall, this is a solid new release. The band is technically proficient and they’re just ambitious enough to try long-form storytelling through music and prose. I’ll definitely be curious to know what happens to “The Traveller” after this.

Don’t forget to check out the cover art--"it’s pretty cool!

Track Listing:
1. Driven by Hunger
2. Stormbound
3. Sanctuary
4. Planet Destructor
5. The Entity
6. Expanse
7. Portal
8. In the Hall of the Travellers

Added: June 20th 2020
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Bandcamp Page
Hits: 623
Language: english

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