March 20, 2020

Hyborian – Volume II (Season of Mist)

What should you expect of a group that named themselves after a fictional human era in Conan the Cimmerian? I’ll tell you what: Crom worshiping powerhouses of the highest order, that’s what.

This 3-piece act out of Kansas City, MO is a paragon, the embodiment of what modern hard rock should aspire to be. With a style that combines elements of thrash and stoner metal, Hyborian is upbeat, melodic, riff-heavy, and as powerful as any record I have heard recently. Volume II is fresh and original sounding, but careful to pay proper respect the roots of stoner rock laid down by Black Sabbath.

I found myself not able to listen just once. Beginning to end it is a fist-pounding, tooth-grinding, head-spinning monolith of loud. The riffs are simultaneously sludgy and groovy, with soaring highs and crushing lows. The vocals are volatile without losing melody. The rhythm section is driving, but not overpowering. It is truly hard to believe that a band comprised of just three people can sound so full and intense.

For Fans Of: High on Fire, Planet of the 8s, Helmet, Crowbar

Elephant Heart – Seasons (Chumba/BMG)

Elephant Heart is the philanthropic brain-vomit of producer Jason Evigan and his wife, Victoria. They are on a mission to spread love, positivity, and awareness through a unique blend of multicultural music without a genre-specific starting point. As Jason is the pop-production wizard behind various pop hits by Maroon 5, Demi Lovato, and Madonna, one would expect a certain sensibility and accessibility to his tracks. While those certainly exist on this record, they appear haphazardly and in odd juxtaposition to a distracted and jagged noise-pop beat.

Whatever else this release is, it is certainly a trip. Funky, danceable, noisy, psychotic, disjointed, and infectious. Your inner warrior-spirit is being summoned to shake some ass.

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