HSB, german death metal, absolute beasts. Casing point that I travelled all the way down to reading to see them perform in a support slot to Rise To Remain which due to complications turned into a headline set, it was one of the happiest days of my life and one of the best gigs considering the reasonably low attendance and tiny venue. Something struck me here though mostly with the artwork, they’ve abandoned their standard death metal logo for standard typeface and got a relatively calm looking album cover, I’m not going to lie it’s concerned me a little but hey never judge a book by it’s cover right? Let’s have a look.
One thing I do notice is the length within some of the tracks allocated to introduction, I mean the build up and instrumental start up’s are a bit of a joke: “They Shall Not Pass” clocks in at 1 minute 30, “Save Me” a little less at around 1 minute 15 with the king of them all “The Cry of Mankind” at a whopping 2:30! Not a big problem I mean it depends how you feel about waiting for the song to kick in, I am not a fan of waiting. Uncharacteristically there are some clean vocals in places prime example being “The Cry of Mankind” which whilst unexpected I’m not against because I think it adds depth is used periodically with this kind of music alongside the slower pace. One thing I can state here is that this here is certainly an experimental album taking “They Shall Not Pass” which bugged me for ages trying to figure out where I’d heard a very similar soft riff before and the closest I could find (but I still don’t think I’ve found it) was “Storm to Pass” by Atreyu, with the heavier part having a slight resemblance to “Doomsday” by them too, not a band I ever thought I’d type in a HSB review but there we are. “Downshifter”, “Passage of the Crane” and “Extermination Order” are more the type of song I was expecting here due to the crunchy tone and high octane pace, other songs seem less chaotic, more thought out and tighter structure which isn’t really something I expected, however “Corium”, “River of Crimson” and “They Shall Not Pass” really work with it so something went right!
As far as HSB albums go not my favourite by a long shot however it does have a lot to offer as I find myself quite fond of a majority of what is on display here, whilst there are some changes that may take a while for some hardcore fans to take in I feel it’s a tactical choice as nobody can say that their material is getting stale.
Review by James Webb