Someone is knocking on Heavy Metal’s door! Big time. And who is brandishing these fucking pipes? ‘Tis must come from Ronnie James Dio, but this dear friend and companion met the other side for a while now.
It is Iuri Sanson of the Brazilian Power and Heavy Metal band Hibria. With their self-titled 2015 amazingly rocky album, no less. The RMR deck crew really fancy their powerful and – I daresay – old-style approach to metal. 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. Complex structures galore, as opposed to the bass-snare concoctions you usually get. And 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. In other words, Hibria play a style of metal very much En Vogue way back in the past. Even if, apart from leaning towards tradition, Hibria do like to spice things up to a new level of complexity too. You actually get a strange thrashy mix of stuff on some tracks. 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.
Then again, they throw these stellar, friggin’ solos at you like there is no tomorrow at every turn of their record. In short, all tracks are delivered flawlessly at a highly technical level by high-quality musicians.
Now, wait a minute – a word to flawless: 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 soloing, no shit. Then Life gets served and it turns out to be a reasonable rock ballad, again with a remarkable solo to boot.
Now the worst moment in Hibria is Legacy. Sanson is 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.
We did find some 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. Or you’ll find Fame with its doom-ish riff in the middle.
Hibria with their self-titled album present a very good, no-nonsense Heavy 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 the 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, and we of course hope that more Hibria goodness will float our way soon.