Hyborian is a group of loud sluggers coming from Kansas City. This band, who clearly took inspiration from Conan Barbarian mythology, released a ‘Volume II’ – as their second record. This is a following of their debut record from 2017 called (surprise) ‘Volume I’, which somehow slipped through my fingers (headphones). Therefore I was not sure what to expect when I played the first tunes of this record.
The album starts with ‘Driven By Hunger’, which definitely is not a love song. The heavy guitar riff and the harsh vocals immediately brought a positive reminiscence of Mastodon sound, due to the multiple vocalists and the way riffs are built. The sound and the catchy guitar sound drill the ear of the listener with heavy but gentle noise, which takes us into a journey while the guys are screaming ‘today for the hunt, tomorrow the feast’. The song transfers into the next one with a sound of guitar feedback, after which the riff is picked up. The second title on this record is called ‘Stormbound’ and the guitar sound and the mood of the track are very similar, in a positive way. There is a nice riff that takes in the listener throughout these few minutes of harsh rhythmic sounds – perfect to enjoy with a headbang.
‘Sanctuary’ is a more progressive take on the music produced by Hyborian. The song is less upbeat comparing to its predecessors on the album, nonetheless this was achieved without loosing any of the bestial power presented in the first tracks. The chorus section is nicely sang by using multiple vocal layers and finalized with a pace and small guitar improv. The ghost of the album was maintained but the band managed to present a bit more than just crazy energy.
The album is closed with a humongous composition called ‘In the Hall of the Travelers’. This over eight minutes long track would suggest, taking its length into consideration, that it is a prog metal song. And to be honest it kind of is – of course we do not drop the sludgy sound and the pleasant heaviness which is kept on the first place. The novelty here are the instrumental bridges installed in a few places of the track – if I was not mistaken I even heard a clean acoustic guitar hidden behind a distorted guitar sound at some point. Of course this small interlude is slowly evolving into something filthy and the song is closed with a demonic voice incantation.
After listening to the whole album it is time to provide a few words as summary. I enjoyed the record and the guys of Hyborian made a very positive impression on me. The two first tracks provided a few nice minutes of pure energetic stoner sound. Later in the record the energy was changed into something more heavy and slower, which I was still able to enjoy. I bet this tracks would sound even better live, so I will stay tunned for any news regarding Hyborian invading Europe.