France has had some very interesting bands poking their heads out into America’s ears these past few years. Hoping to join the likes of fellow Frenchmen Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! and Gojira – who have both had some success on this side of the Atlantic – are a post-metal band called Hypnos. Hypnos recently released their debut record, The Fall; I can definitely say that, though this piece might not make as many waves, Hypnos certainly has quite the story to tell.
One particular thing to note with this band is that, though the songs range in size from seven to 10 minutes in length, such sizable tracks actually have very slow transitions to them – which creates an almost jarring, drone feel to it. They definitely live up to their name, for these songs hypnotize you in a sense. The first two tracks, “Burden” and “Arrow,” clocking in at nine and 10 minutes respectively, both progress at almost a snail’s pace, yet my attention was still held throughout by the subtle changes made, along with screaming remarkably similar to that of Gojira’s vocalist. In a sense, it almost feels like metal meditation, both lyrically and musically.
This pace doesn’t change much throughout the next few tracks, “Phantasm” and a pair with the [h]elle prefix (“The Fall” and “Abyss”), and I can almost say that these songs are dwelling along the lines of ambient background music and soundscapes for movies. There is such a simplicity to each step taken by Hypnos that, even though there is so little going on between each track, I’m more than content to keep listening, and it lets my mind wander a bit. It’s almost a breath of fresh air to be able to sit back and relax with a metal record, let alone allow my mind to just drift as it progresses. Each song has a few heavier parts that definitely hold a Gojira influence to them, but the overall feel of each song remains on that same line: meditation and overall calm.
The final track, “Beast,” starts out on a level of heaviness that I expected from the likes of a sludge metal band, but at the same time, the pace is kept at a remarkably slow rate. Being the heaviest track on the record, the slow pace leaves each note hanging to distort in a way that becomes more and more unsettling as it progresses – which I can applaud for creating quite the interesting atmosphere. Though, once the track has finally ended and concluded the record, I’m left feeling almost disappointed. Looking back, the songs left me lulled to sleep, and in some ways, that could be a bad thing because the songs weren’t gripping enough to leave me interested in a similar way I would be with other forms of music.
Hypnos definitely has an interesting beast on their hands with The Fall. It dwells along post metal and ambience as it crawls along its 42-minute playtime, and it works more so as a means to calm the listener than to actually keep the listener heavily interested. It’s almost like Hypnos and Gojira are polar opposites of metal – with Gojira covering the fast and powerful, whereas Hypnos explores the dark, atmospheric side. I highly recommend giving this album a listen, just for how remarkably original this concept is.
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