Review: Hyborian – Vol. 1
Written by Mason Powell
Grab your flannel, oil your beard, and get your ass up to go buy this album.
Hyborian are from my backyard, boys, and let me tell you, we have plenty to be pissed about. We are, after all, from the goddamned Midwest!
Kansas City juggernauts, Hyborian, are making some waves with their freshman release, “Vol. 1.” It’s beautiful to see some sharp stoner metal coming out of this area.
Hyborian’s sound is a distillation of early Mastodon, Red Fang and The Sword but any doom/stoner metal fan will appreciate their addition to the genre.
The album kicks off with “As Above, So Below” (be sure to check out the matching music video for this rocker). This tune gives you a feel for what is to come on the rest of the album; grinding riffs from the lead and rhythm guitars with a rhythm section that is heavy enough to till fields. “As Above, So Below” is a straight banger all the way through.
Maelstrom introduces us to Hyborian’s softer singing side. Not to fret metal heads, these dudes prove that there’s a place for their style of semi-clean singing. “Chug” is the name of this tune and I’m not talking about your two-week-old natty light keg. Maelstrom’s chug is gritty filled with drum turnarounds that would fit in any Mastodon album (okay maybe the early stuff).
“Blood for Blood” brings us half-way through the album and is an exploration of Hyborian’s faster and thrashier sound. Guitar tones on this tune are unparalleled. Also, the last minute of this tune is clearly a satanic ritual so don’t forget your black robes and sharpest knives. This a great time to introduce your young virgin friends to stoner metal as well.
“Dead Lies Dreaming” is straight stoner thrash. Hyborian are proof that just because you’re a stoner metal head, doesn’t mean you have to stick to the basics. This tune proves that there’s a place for a bit of the Viking-metal sound on any record.
By “Ajna”, the 5th song on the album you will begin to realize that Hyborian have a cohesive sound.
If there is one complaint that I have about this album is that it doesn’t veer far from the road it is on. Pretty typical of a stoner metal album but I would have loved to see where these guys could’ve gone.
There, that’s the best I have for a critique of this album. Much of the riffage in this collection sounds similar but that’s because these dudes slay each and every one produced.
We finalize our exploration of Hyborian with “Dross” and near the end you can hear more clearly their thrash metal influences. I love this tune as it breaks from the above congruence that I wrote about. This tune is slick, pulled back from the larger guitar sounds of the other tunes, this track slams your head against the table.
I am super stoked about this band and look forward to hearing more from them. Their calendars are showing some shows booked locally with some big acts. I’d love to see these guys take off and they’ve clearly got the chops to do it. Keep plowing those fields, dudes. Stoner metal has never looked so bright and I’m glad to see dudes like you holding the lantern. 8/10
Side Note: You know what would be the perfect show for these dudes? Let’s see them paired up with the almighty Telekinetic Yeti. That would be a vortex of flannel, beard oil and stoner metal.