The early 2000s brought us a wealth of riff-worshipping, bone-quaking goodness – what has essentially become the foundation of many current doom, stoner, and sludge metal acts. Bands like Mastodon, High on Fire, and Baroness expanded upon the standard set by metal’s forefathers with more progressive tendencies, expansive arrangements, fiercer presentation, technically demanding performances, and (presumably) better strains of grass. At the same time (and likely benefitting from the same improved… *ahem* genetics), there was also a bubble of traditionalists like The Sword, Wolfmother, and Saviours who made the case that a more conventional approach was worth revisiting, reinvigorating classic sounds for a new generation of headbangers. It’s from this very specific nexus that Australia’s Hypergiant explode, harkening back to familiar territories on both sides of this early-00s coin.
Hyborian, out of Kansas City, MO, don’t sound like a new band needing more polish on their debut release, Hyborian Vol. I. I was given this album with the description of “Mastodon worship” and that isn’t that far off base. The band cite High on Fire and Crowbar as influences and you can definitely hear the former in the guitar tones. The reality, however, is this band lies somewhere in the very narrow valley of the above influences particularly on opening track, “As Above, So Below”. They are able to harness that same thrash-y malevolence and driving power as they raise the curtain on this effort.