Sometimes when I’ve got a record on, I find myself being reminded of a scene from an early season of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Mac and Dennis are arguing with Frank over a business idea when Frank accuses the two of stealing his idea and just repackaging it. Mac counters with this:
“That’s the America way, bro! Take a look at Hard Rock Café! That got tweaked by Planet Hollywood. Coke got tweaked by Pepsi. Transformers got tweaked by GoBots. Our job is to step aside and let the consumer decide.”
We on the blog frequently find ourselves describing bands and records as, “like X Band but with more Y flavor”. How often do you find yourself selling a band to a friend in this fashion? Did you ever stop to think how belittling that could be? I don’t think anyone is trying to do that. I think that’s just how my brain works. And I do the exact same thing all the damn time. So today, I’m taking the opportunity to sell Hyborian to you with their latest record, Volume 2, with that in mind.
Just so we can get it out of the way, Hyborian sounds a lot like Mastodon and Baroness. I know I just wrote some stuff to guilt everyone out of this habit, but it’s undeniable. I wish I could talk about the Kansas City quartet without bringing up 2 of the biggest metal bands of the 21st century but there’s no getting around that quintessential sludgy goodness that makes bands feel like you’re really sinking your teeth into. It gives a really nice grind to the record that combines very well with the melodic tendencies. That combination or ratio gives the record a lot of depth and makes it that much more interesting, and we all know where that sound comes from.
I don’t want to make it seem like Hyborian is some kind of stylistic cover band. They aren’t. They are the real damn deal. These aren’t just rip-off riffs and lyrics. The quartet has a sound and style that’s becoming their own. There’s a real drive to all of these tracks. They’re all going somewhere with purpose. They’re not just a collection of riffs interrupted by guitar solos. This drive is due mostly to vocalist and guitarist Martin Bush as both this record and Vol. 1 go along with Bush’s novel, The Traveler; A Hyborian Tale. Such a background gives a rich environment that music can live in.
To bring it all back, yes, if you’re a fan of Mastodon and Baroness, you’re really likely to be a huge fan of Hyborian. Most Mastodon and Baroness fans probably already knew that though. I can’t imagine the number of “You’d Also Like” lists Hyborian has made it onto. That’s a perfectly acceptable way to start listening to a band, but you have to stick with them for awhile so you can see what they grow into. If you’re just now hearing of them, know this record is a really great listen as was their previous record. I personally can’t wait to see where The Traveler’s story goes next. Hopefully somewhere where the riffs fall from the sky.