If Göteborg’s finest boogie-rockers Hypnos’ 2014 self-titled debut gave you the NWOBHM shakes and it’s bluesy hard rockin’ Hellacopters doing ‘Sabotage’ gig was your jam, this record might have turned the tables in your favor even more. ‘The GBG Sessions’ is a live in-studio jam of favorites from the band’s first two albums and a couple new songs, too. The recording features newly acquired vocalist Linus Johansson who is best known for his work in epic speed/heavy metal band Trial. Johansson’s voice offers a grand shift towards late 70’s Judas Priest tonality, whereas previous vocalist Phil Lindgren tended towards retro rock territory. The hard rocking songs of the previous two records, which occasionally dipped into heavy psych/retro rock territory, are now transformed into early 80’s NWOBHM flavored heavy rock music they’d hinted at before.
The staff change will fit better for some and put off others depending if you prefer classic heavy metal seriousness or stoned ass 70’s rock. I’m somewhere in the middle personally and think Johansson’s vocals offer more range and conviction to those old songs, which are only slightly rearranged. The sound may be a live in studio recording but a five piece hard rock/heavy metal band doesn’t need bells and whistles to get their full sound across. The song selection takes heavily from the first Hypnos album and only nabs the epic “1800” from their 2016 album ‘Cold Winds’. Both of the two new tracks highlight the newly evolved sound of Hypnos with “Looking Out” conjuring the spirit of Raven‘s ‘Power Games’ and opener/debut single “Ain’t No Fool” offers up an “Exciter” moment that still has the high energy of band’s original sound. I appreciate the ABBA cover quite a bit, as it washes away the poor taste of covers of “Gimme Gimme Gimme” done by metal bands (Yngwie, Sinergy) over the years.
It isn’t such a grand shift in sound that old fans of Hypnos will be disappointed, in fact they’re just as focused on their own style of ‘heavy action boogie rock’ as ever. Old fans shouldn’t be scared off as the guys haven’t suddenly made a pure ultra-heavy metal release. Although I think this new vocalist’s tone and range fits in with Hypnos’ sonic sensibilities incredibly well. The song selection on ‘The GBG Sessions’ offers a definitive ‘best of’ Hypnos so far, so if you’ve never heard them before it’ll serve as the perfect introduction to the band’s powerful hard rock sound.
|Released||April 20, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp!||Follow Hypnos on Facebook|
Heavy Metal, Hard Rock
The new boogie. 3.85/5.0
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