Acid Mist Tomorrow

01. Acid Mist Tomorrow
02. Six Fingers In One Hand She Holds The Dawn (Part I)
03. Six Fingers In One Hand She Holds The Dawn (Part II)
04. Story of the Eye
05. Gehenne (Part I)
06. Gehenne (Part II)
07. Gehenne (Part III)
08. Brume Unique Obscurite (Part I)
09. Brume Unique Obscurite (Part II)

[Klonosphere/Season of Mist]

France has been an ever-growing presence in the realm of metal, blossoming into a vibrant source of stand-out musicians from the likes of Gojira, Alcest, Gorod, and Betraying the Martyrs, just to name a few. The great thing about this growing metal mecca is that these French bands are often quite artful. That’s a common theme that Montpellier-based prog quartet Hypno5e carried through their career thus far, releasing their debut album Des Deux L’une Est L’Autre to critical acclaim and breaking out with the 2009 Metal As Art North American headlining tour alongside Revocation and The Binary Code. Their sound since its inception has invoked cinematic imagery and a broad scope of musical scenery, and their sophomore effort Acid Mist Tomorrow continues the trend.

If you aren’t too familiar with Hypno5e — which is likely considering how criminally ignored and elusive this band seems to be — they are a progressive and experimental metal band that draws influences from the tech-heavy grooves of Gojira and Sikth with compliments of Opeth-like dynamic songwriting that focuses on the shift between harsh and soft, creating the duality of spastic aggression and haunting serenity. Listening to Hypno5e entails massive riffs towering over lush scenery and watching them crumble into destruction, falling into ebbs of contemplative atmosphere littered with samples from old films, creating quite a cinematic air.

Hypno5e are a master of both sides of their songwriting coin, but they excel in greater lengths during their heavier moments. The visceral opening of ‘Six Fingers In One Hand She Holds The Dawn (Part II)’ is one of the record’s highlights. These incredible grooving riffs carry into strangely harmonic screaming, and then disappear without being heard from again, which leads me to Acid Mist Tomorrow‘s unfortunate flaws.

While all the parts that make up Acid Mist Tomorrow are top-notch, the actual songwriting is in need of a touch-up. These songs tend to meander a bit, and while I appreciate the shifts of dynamic, the album doesn’t flow as well as it really should. Sections come and go and are often immediately discarded, which is a pet peeve of mine. Tensions build during the album’s many beautiful lulls, but sometimes have trouble building up to proper climax. It’s as if Hypno5e stitched many excellent parts together, but they often don’t make sense the way they’re arbitrarily connected. I enjoy a fair share of continuous compositions of non-repeating parts from time to time if they’re framed right, but maybe a reprisal of some key themes and elements would make these tracks into more coherent and memorable songs.

‘Gehenna’ manages this across its three parts, but as an additional minor squabble, it doesn’t make much sense how the longer songs are cut into separate tracks. The title track and ‘Story of the Eye‘ go on for a little over 10 minutes, and perhaps it could be argued and understood that this was a decision made to help make Acid Mist Tomorrow seem more digestible, but ‘Six Fingers In One Hand She Holds The Dawn‘ seems to be disconnected for no discernible reason, cutting off an introduction that is less than a minute in length into a separate track. These could have remained as a singular track, as could have the remainder of the tracklist, given their target market being progressive metal fans.

Despite its flaws though, Acid Mist Tomorrow is an artistic achievement to be proud of. This is an album that is no minor undertaking, challenging on all fronts. Acid Mist Tomorrow has depth, and there’s a lot to take in on first listen that may leave some listeners scratching their head, but it’s a must-hear album for prog fans in 2012.

Hypno5e – Acid Mist Tomorrow gets…


– JR

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