Here's a unique release that will surely appeal to both the prog crowd as well as the extreme metal fan. The Arkitecht is the musical project created by multi-instrumentalist Genaro Ochoa from Mexico. Much like studio creations from Ayreon or Avantasia, Ochoa has assembled a solid cast of singers and supporting musicians here, giving Hyperstructure a very rich and well-rounded sound that most would assume is a very seasoned band, but in actuality this is a brand new studio project that works on many levels. Joining Ochoa here are singers Dante Diaz & Alvara Lamadrid (clean/melodic, growls, shouts), lead guitarist Cesar Jueska, drummers Ivan Lopez & Andres Gonzalez, and lyricist Lila Nieto, with Genaro contributing additional lyrics, lead & rhythm guitars, keyboards, bass, orchestrations, and some drum programming.
It's obvious that the leader wears his influences on his sleeve, as you can hear bits of Dream Theater, Symphony X, Porcupine Tree, Fear Factory, Ayreon, Meshuggah, Pain of Salvation, Opeth, Sepultura, and Marillion throughout this CD, but Hyperstructure comes across as a very successful homage to Ochoa's heroes rather than a replica of any of them. Expect plenty of powerful guitar riffs, blazing keyboard and guitar solos, grandiose & bombastic soundscapes, a mix of clean and extreme vocals, stark atmosphere, and complex rhythms, all the right ingredients for a solid progressive metal album, but most importantly, the songs are all catchy and memorable. The highlights are the juggernaut "The Twenthieth Century Feast and the Millenium Hangover", complete with superb guitar work and lots of proggy keyboard textures, the crunchy "Children of the Gods", a real heavy piece with a nice mix of vocal styles and acoustic guitar & keyboard layers that temper the brutal riffs, and the crushing 32-minute "Face Thief", a monstrous mix of brutal death metal and prog rock that takes the listener through many twists and turns that never meanders or gets boring. Vocally, both singers are superb, the melodic styles are very well done, and sure to score with prog & melodic rock lovers, while the extreme vocals just aggressive enough without being too over the top. Instrumentally, there's so many layers and textures here, the songs each display plenty of metal and prog elements, making for one of the most rounded affairs you will hear this year.
Honestly, this one came out of left field and surprised the hell out of me. There's not a weak track anywhere on Hyperstructure, and it really satisfied both the prog and metal lover in me. The artwork and layout on the booklet is extremely well done and needs to be mentioned as well, obviously a lot of work and care was taken in putting it all together. Genaro Ochoa has really made a statement here, and we might be hearing a lot from The Arkitecht in the future if he can follow this winner up with something of equal merit. Highly recommended.
2 The Twenthieth Century Feast and the Millenium Hangover
3 Through Broken Glass
5 Children of the Gods
7 Face Thief