Coming from Switzerland, HUBRIS return with their third album Metempsychosis. This act is definitely one for the fans of RUSSIAN CIRCLES, PELICAN and SIGUR ROS. This four-piece composed of Jonathon Hohl (Guitar), Nathan Gros (Drums), Matthieu Grillet (Guitar) and Lucien Leclerc (Bass) wrote this album with a focus on the myths of the ancient world including the tales of Hepius, Dionysus, Icarus and Dedalus, Adonis and Heracles.
The album opens with Hepius, who is also known as Asclepius the god of medicine and healing. One of the associated myths is that having become so adept at healing people, Hepiusdecided to test himself and bring the dead back to life. For the opening track, this is apt as it feels restful and then slowly my alive. The pace quickens with each bar and the guitar sounds brighter as the song grows until Hades gets mildly annoyed and decided that someone stealing his subjects really wasn’t ok. So, Hades, like any sensible person, goes to his brother Zeus who himself was a bit concerned and killed him with a lightning bolt. The track mirrors this and builds to an intense wall of distorted guitar. It then suddenly returns to the restful way it started mirroring the return to death.
Heracles or Hercules is perhaps one of the most famous mythological figures the western world has ever known and with the final track on this release HUBRIS tells one of his many tales.
“He was not only given the chance to be born in the first place when Zeus intervened at the trial of Heracles’ mother who had been sentenced to burn at the stake but was the only mortal who was granted access to Mount Olympus after his death. The song’s repeating patterns echo Heracles’ own life, as he was constantly tried, most famously by Zeus’ resentful wife Hera. The song is divided into twelve parts alluding to both Heracles’ labours and the different stages of his life, the last two being musical illustrations of his rise to Mount Olympus and his place among the gods until the end of times.”
At least, that’s essentially how the band describes it.
Did they achieve their feat?
Yes, and no. The song uses repetition to great effect to mirror the repeated testing but due to this the twelve parts struggle to be distinct and really drive home that these are the different parts of his life. But that would likely leave it feeling a little disjointed. I would be interested in knowing how they would implement lyrics into this but I feel that words would struggle to add anything to this song that has not been added before.
This is an enjoyable listen, and I commend such an undertaking, to tell these stories without words is an admirable goal and I wish that more acts would endeavor to try such things. HUBRIS certainly has not shown excessive pride here, but their feelings towards the gods of the past may be a little uncertain.
Words: Jacob McCrone
Metempsychosis is out now.
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