Someone is knocking on Heavy Metal’s door! Big time. And who is brandishing these fucking pipes? ‘Tis must come from Ronnie James, but this dear friend and companion met the other side for a while now. It is Iuri Sanson of the Brazilian Power and Speed Metal band Hibria. And this on their self-titled 2015 amazingly rocky album, signed to Test Your Metal Records. And this stuff they are producing is really good #metal – for most parts! Old style #metal too, kind of showing the Great Old Ones of Heavy Metal, where the new masters are.
I really like the drum work provided by Eduardo Baldo, this is not just the whoom-tchack you usually get, but much more complex structures. I daresay, they will wear him out one day, he is the man working the most in this band. And then there is the stellar guitar performance of Abel Gamargo and Renato Osorio, sometimes a bit too much in the background, but coming out strong on solos and riffs. But more to that later.
Hibria is how Ronnie James Dio would sound on steroids!
When married to Krokus – specifically thinking back to their record Headhunter, that is. If you are looking for Heavy Metal – this is it, but gracing you with a style En Vogue way back in the past. And it is for sure no Lambada that they present you with.
Hibria formed back in 1996 (so they have a little action under their belt to say the least…) and since produced five studio albums starting with a very creditable Defying the Rules, now crowned with their last, released in 2015. And it’s not all old metal. You are actually getting a strange thrashy mix of stuff. All this thrown into a hot cauldron with some wind instruments and other jazzy acoustics that chime in all of a sudden; a little Prog to go with your #metal. They ARE from Brazil after all. You need to compare this album to the very good, but more austere style in Silent Rage and you will understand the difference. And then they throw these stellar, friggin’ riffs at you like there is no tomorrow at every turn of their record. All tracks are delivered flawlessly at a highly technical level by high level musicians.
Now, wait a minute – a word to flawless: When listening to the album, methinks that the mastering went somewhat astray. The bass seems to be ever present in the background and we lose the guitars some at times, which is a pity. This generates this appearance of a somewhat unclean sound in something that should be crystal clear and crisp as hell. Not all the time, but sometimes for sure.
Now to the tracks!
You know, when Hibria took off the first time in my headphones, I thought my choice somehow got mixed with Iron Maiden or Dio, some sort of back to the future feeling. But no, it is the genuine them and Pain just painfully takes your breath away with good ol’ Heavy Metal. I really like the little trumpet interlude in the middle of some of the tracks, some fucking voodoo to spice this up some. This lost them some sympathy from some of the fans, who cannot stand a little dance step or two in their #metal. Tightrope is to be lauded for its stellar riffing, no shit. Then Life gets served and it turns out to be a reasonable rock ballad, again with a remarkable riff to boot.
Now the worst moment in Hibria is Legacy. Iuri testing himself to do what? Growls? Screams? Well, don’t. Sounds terrible and this knocks a star or two off their rating. This is the only real failure I could find and it sucks. Now, some of my co-reviewers have opined that the second half of Hibria is not worth your time of day. True, they somehow forgot to stir their cauldron well enough to keep the soup scalding hot and spicy and it does lose a little steam. There are good spots, though: For starters, try Ashamed, this will rock you around some, even if in this very song we seem to have some mastering issues. It is a hate/love kind of thing with this track. And what is this strange chorus all about? You will also need to be a bit patient: In the beginning there is not much, but then it takes off. And it’s got some jazzy toasted cheese in there that is pretty cool, all of a sudden over-taken by #metal again. Then there is Fame with its doomish riff in the middle.
Hibria with their self-titled album present a very good, no-nonsense Power Metal concoction. Delivered at a highly technical level and well-balanced it is one of the better albums out there. Of course, the jazzy Prog stuff in the album will lose them some fans, but hey – why not? It is part of their brand they want to build and I can live with it. ‘Cause the package you get with the rest is worth your while. Well done.
Go and get it:
– Buy with Amazon!