Retaliation is the new full-length album from Hyvmine. This progressive metal band, hailing from LA, bring a unique sound to the scene; few bands attempt to combine hard rock with metal and do it successfully. Fans of the experimental will certainly be interested in this album.

Born To Wage establishes Hyvmine’s sound and is a dynamic track that explores a number of genre influences. This track has clear hard rock influences which can be seen in the guitar tones and vocals. The breakdown adds further depth to the track bringing in strong progressive metal ties. The bass drops are a particularly effective addition and are also somewhat expected in a track with such strong hard rock ties. Born To Wage’s chorus is very catchy and has a pop-rock feel to it. The soaring backing vocals are uplifting and atmospheric whilst the lead vocals ground the section. Life In Fire introduces some development of melodies in both the lead guitar and sections of the vocal line. Once again, the track includes a very heavy breakdown. The presence of harsh vocals adds further dimension to the track. Immediately following this with a minimalistic, calm section creates an effective contrast before launching back into the chorus. By carefully choosing their guitar tones and balancing the instrumentation, Hyvmine have managed to combine multiple genres and produce a cohesive sound.

Imitator introduces a theatrical element to the album. The huge sound of the introduction is incredibly atmospheric; all the layers of instrumentation can be heard and combine effectively to produce a powerful sound. The lead guitar melody is clear and emphasises the theatrical element. The guitar tones in this track, along with the tone of the drums, bring the heavy sound that ground the track. The vocals carry the hard rock aspects whilst the synths and other instrumentation fill out the higher ranges. The short heavy breakdown and harsh vocals add an extra bit of variety, whilst the following guitar solo cuts through the instrumentation. The ending sees the intro riff return. It would have been more effective, and possibly more cohesive, to have included the riff or a variation of it in the chorus. As it is such an atmospheric section, to only have it in the intro and outro makes it feel somewhat disjointed from the rest of the song. The instrumentation of Dark Holes is very metal focused. The rhythm patters and low melodies are dramatic. By filling out the lower tones with the instrumentation, the vocals are free to fill out the upper ranges. The dynamics of this track are explored further with harsh vocals blending well with the metal instrumentation, and the presence of rock inspired guitar solos enhancing the overall feel of the track.

Assassins sees Hyvmine’s sound exploring further styles. The Oriental melodies, with the introduction played on traditional instruments, introduces a new sound to the already diverse album. Combing Oriental sounds with metal is not a new concept – but one that does work very well. Merely combing these elements was clearly not enough for Hyvmine as they included a hard rock chorus in the track. This is an unusual sound combination. It does feel somewhat disjointed transitioning from such a minor, heavy sound to a major chorus. It may have been more effective to have the chorus more in keeping with the rest of the track. However, this doesn’t affect the fact that this is an enjoyable track. The guitars take the limelight in this track with an extended solo, primarily consisting of sweep picking melodies. Fans of shredding guitars will certainly like this part of the track.

Hyvmine’s sound is very dynamic and merges genres in a non-conventional way. Incorporating hard rock, metalcore, progressive and theatrical elements successfully is no mean feat. The power and unique sound of the vocals are constant throughout the album and contribute to the effective joining of so many musical elements. Retaliation is a strong album and it’s great to see something different in the progressive metal scene.

8/10

For fans of: Periphery, TesseracT, Gojira
Words by Holly Royle

‘Retaliation’ by Hyvmine is released on 14th July on Seek & Strike Records.

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