Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Hybrid Nightmares are best categorised simply as extreme metal, for they combine pure black metal vocals with progressive tendencies and the musicianship typical of both death metal and classic heavy metal. Today we’re introducing you to the first instalment of The Ages, a series which essentially splits a double album’s worth of material onto four EPs, all of which were released in 2015. Not only that but the whole series is a concept release, detailing the fall of a utopian human civilisation into a maelstrom of chaos and death. Sounds pretty cool right? Check it out below.
The listener is first greeted by ominous samples and a peacefully soothing, yet somehow melancholic acoustic guitar. Once we’re done with the intro track we encounter the rest of the band, with the arrival of electric guitars, prominent double-kick and black metal shrieks. “Illumination” highlights one of the band’s key strengths, their ability to seamlessly blend groove and melody within their guitar work, a feature which would help define the remainder of the EP. The band clearly favour the tried and true technique of mixing light with darkness, with the former supplied by melodic leads and the latter well represented in the vocal department. The results are surprisingly catchy, even down to the vocals, and we also get a lengthy guitar solo which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Pink Floyd album.
“Black Heart” has hints of Iron Maiden gone death metal, with tremolo picking accompanied by melodic guitar leads, prominent bass lines, a multitude of shifts in tempo and, for a few brief moments, there is even a galloping feel to the music. Closing track “Inside” captures both extremes of the band, with an atmospheric interlude part-way through the track followed by a beautiful section of dual-guitar tapping, before furious drumming transitions the song into the heaviest moments of the record. The final few minutes contain some of the band’s best guitar work, combining killer riffs with some engaging solos to end the record on a high.
While the raw production hinders the proggier and more melodic passages of music, that probably won’t trouble those who enjoy the raw, more black metal elements of their sound. All in all it’s solid stuff and, as we said, if you like this there are three other EPs, all part of the same concept, which are begging to be listened to over at their Bandcamp page. Oh, and they have a Facebook too, you should probably follow that.