Danish/Turkish ‘new old school’ death metal quartet Hyperdontia‘s sophomore full-length ‘Hideous Entity‘ is -just- a death metal album. We could dance around it with dizzying chthonic adjectives and endlessly spit-thrashing and wide-eyed Eldritch wordplay in an attempt to work up a proper visualization of its aggressive update to enduring death metal forms but the Wes Benscoter painting and the slime-dripping logo on the cover have already done fine enough work for us. You are getting exactly the quality of creation implied and if you are blind to these signifiers, woefully and willfully ignorant amongst the disengaged, I don’t doubt a record like this would still manage to state its case by way of its tuneful attrition. The larger point on my part isn’t that this ~40 minute capture of prime death-riff action is average or mediocre, this is the right sort of high-value ‘known quantity’ that makes extreme metal’s many shades so interesting, but instead that this sort of record doesn’t benefit from a maze of qualifiers or hype. The worst sort of cliché holds fast herein: If you like pure death metal, you’ll like this.
What’s next, is this guy going to blab on about “riffs” for two huge run-on paragraphs? Yep, eventually. And this should be expected if you’d followed these Copenhageners/İstanbullu before or after their acclaimed full-length debut back in 2018. Just as ‘Nexus of Teeth‘ had the right stuff in terms of riffcraft yet didn’t offer anything trendy or smug for the masses so does ‘Hideous Entity’ — Their traditional death metal songcraft speaks for itself from Side A through the last moment of Side B. The larger evolution of this troupe can be lightly sussed out in my review of the previous album but that isn’t to say nothing has changed in the last three years, they’ve been pushing it hard and working on this gig seemingly nonstop judging by the quick expansion of their discography.
First thing folks should notice is the change of vocalist, David Torturdød of Phrenelith and Undergang has been “swapped” for Mathias Friborg (Sulphurous, Taphos) whom has an entirely different register which I’d describe as a bit more Florida/Netherlands and less New York/Finnish tonality, easing off some of the guttural affect of the first album and diving into a more feral roar with a middle of the mix presence a la Corchado on ‘Diabolical Conquest’. This should not be taken as subtle change in the slightest as Hyperdontia likewise reach for more technical tier riffing which only allows Friborg to dig a deeper pit of wrath with each successive song, easing into slower movements and commanding the early Sinister-esque brutality of certain pieces. The second thing most folks will notice, depending on their long-term memory, will be a far more balanced production which is closer to the member’s other projects (Diabolizer, Sulphurous) 2021-released albums which is now less connected to the cavernous early Dead Congregation-esque presentation of the first album.
Side A just kinda blasted past my skull to start. It was all ablur and then some as I’d approached ‘Hideous Entity’ admittedly kinda burnt out within the mid-November flood of ambitious late AOTY contention and to be honest Sulphurous‘ record is still in rotation on my part. Confounding factors aside the main reason for this is frankly just how
dense pregnant with riff ‘Hideous Entity’ is, kicking into two ~6 minute castle-scaling beasts to start. “Snakes of Innards” takes a full three minutes to stop cutting riffs and even then they’ve only slowed to a thrashing ‘Imperial Doom’-esque jog to lean into a whammy-flailing lead or two as the song fleshes out from its initial density; This opener would seem to be a prime highlight up front but the riff standard is raised by a 1.25x to 1.5x magnitude per song from that point and we’re forced to pick favorites based on how memorable certain movements are rather than their quantifiable linkage. “Trapped in the Void” is nonetheless an early standout for its more neatly phrased song structure and use of slower nigh death/doom chunking in the second half of the piece. Here we get a clear hit of the bass guitar tone and some more thoughtfully lain lead guitars, which are satisfyingly full of harmonic squalls. They could be a big more patient in these slower sections but there is the sense that they’d not wanted to drop below a certain energy level and risk losing momentum. As suggested these traits only amplify as Hyperdontia hone their mid-paced attack here on Side A and for my own taste “Beast Within” is the major piece to sell the full listen up front, an absolutely classic circa ’92-’94 death metal piece in terms of structure, adept rhythmic shifts, prog-death bass touches flicking around and a huge atmospheric weight built ’til the very end.
Whereas Side A was positioned to impress and showcase the breadth of their capabilities in revised form Side B is arguably the major achievement of Hyperdontia‘s second album starting with “Grinding Teeth”, the “Whoa, this album has riffs” moment on the full listen for those of us whom still attempt to hold classicist death metal to some kind of higher-evolved standard with the 2000’s not blatantly ignored. Sure enough they keep on whipping riffs the rest of the album, finding a groove that isn’t quite so obsessed with the evolution of ‘Onward to Golgotha’-esque dynamic and hammers away at a strong variety of imposing, oft-thrashing and doomed feats of riffcraft obsession. The duo of “Grinding Teeth” and “Lacerated and Bursting” best showcase this expanded side of the band with the latter of the two being my personal favorite cut of the record for its downstroked to Hell main riff and the strong feature of the bassist’s work throughout (see also: “Impervious Vale”). It was just one of many pieces that began to stand out and catch the ear as I’d reach my fifth, tenth, and umpteenth listens of ‘Hideous Entity’. It is -just- a death metal album, neither a grand experiment nor a trendy folly, and all the better for its purist-yet-personalized treatment of the artform. A high recommendation.
|LABEL(S):||Me Saco Un Ojo Records,|
Dark Descent Records,
|RELEASE DATE:||November 19th, 2021|
|BUY & LISTEN:||Bandcamp | MSUO Store|
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