Hypnosis (France) – Cyber Death

Of all the things I can compare this to, the best I can think of is Rigor Sardonicus.  Certainly not in sound, but just in the inherent ‘wrongness’ of the album.  Similar to that bizarre band, this is again the sort of idea for music you’d think up at twelve years old and dismiss in your later years.  It was never MEANT to be made because as childishly cool as the idea is, there’s just no way for it to be as good as you’re imagining it in your mind.

Unfortunately yes, the title of the album is in fact a clue as to its contents.  Hypnosis on this album attempts to create a fusion of death metal and electronics.  This isn’t too silly; the idea is plausible.  Or at least it’s plausible if you’re thinking, well, maybe they’re noisy, industrial electronics like The Berzerker, or breakcore programming like Noism, or perhaps the spacey synths of Augury.  It’s none of those.  The electronic influence in Hypnosis’ music is full-fledged clubby dance music or bits of synthwork which sound like they come from a circa ’93 PC game.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

Honestly, the idea is just so absurd and executed in such a random and bizarre way that even I don’t know how to feel about it.  The two main influences of death metal versus electronic rarely interact fully; most of the time there’s an atmospheric, electronic intro or outro to a song and perhaps some slower breaks where keyboards and effects will introduce themselves.  The drums are supposedly real, but they sound like an electronic kit to me.  Moreover, beyond the electronic influences, the death metal itself doesn’t really sound anything like ‘death metal’ as you’d think of it.  The riffs are mostly tremolo based and speedy over double bass and blasting but they seem more oriented towards the sound of a band like Ram-Zet than Morbid Angel or Suffocation.  Vocals are a standard male growl occasionally alternating with a clean female voice.  It’s a very, very strange listening experience.

I almost get the feeling that this is some attempt to make death metal into dance music with the strange programmed effects, but the metal parts themselves aren’t really poppy enough to accomplish such a feat.  The electronic sections aren’t very melodic; they kind of remind me certain synthlines in the soundtrack for the game Unreal Tournament.  The whole package feels very artificially futuristic, like they’re trying their hardest to give it a ‘night club in the future’ vibe.  I’m totally unsure as to whether the band is playing this straight or sees how bizarre and silly it is.  The idea makes me think the latter, but there seems to be no indication of such in the music.

I can go either way on this, really.  On one hand I have to congratulate the members of the band for being willing to just go for such a ridiculous and immature idea and end up with music that isn’t completely horrible.  Even if it was completely horrible I’d still have to laud them for having such balls.  On the other hand, this stuff is like barely listenable; the music as a whole has very little coherency because half the riffs don’t really make any sense, clean female vocals pop in out of nowhere, a burst of programming pops in at an inappropriate time, and the package overall is very cheesy and hard to take seriously.

You know, I’d actually recommend this to people even if I don’t have much desire to listen to it at all simply by virtue of it being such a simultaneously fantastic and idiotic idea.  Maybe another band can pull off such a combination in a more genuinely satisfying way, but at least Hypnosis is trying something weird out.  There’s a track which literally sounds like the beginning to some cybergoth club hit.  It’s a minute and a half of techno beats and clean, flanged guitar and synths over gothy vocals.  Really, that’s the point in the album where I start the slow clap.

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~ by noktorn on September 1, 2008.

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