A couple of years ago, this little art-y metal band from France called Hypno5e came along with an album entitled Des Deux L’une Est L’autre, that in the most complex manner ever, floored me. This album devastated my reality and all that I thought I knew about heavy music. It was an intense listen that scrambled the brains with its complicated time signatures and dramatic musical shifts. An epiphany, of sorts.
Please welcome in the band’s long-awaited follow up album, Acid Mist Tomorrow. In a word . . . holy . . . yeah, that’s pretty much me sitting with my headphones on, spinning this disc over and over and over again, and with every subsequent spinning thinking to myself, ‘ This can’t be possible.’ My reality has, once again, be turned inside out, flipped upside down, positive made negative, cats and dogs living together, dark into light . . .
The last album from Hypno5e was a bludgeoning, highly involved listen. Basically, I felt one had to think too much while listening to it and was often left exhausted afterwards. At times, it had a jarring effect from song to song. Not a bad thing, necessarily, just noting how it was an album that could intimidate. Acid Mist Tomorrow has a far better fluidity to it. The songs are much more seamless, even as the band goes from the mellowed out, acoustic and soft passages into the heavily distorted walls of cacophony. Everything is executed with, if it were even possible, greater precision, and then tempered with an even softer touch. A contrast of tones.
The open forty seconds or so of the first song (also the title track) is enough for anyone to know that this album has the makings of something far beyond what we’ve come to know and love from this band. A subtle clean toned guitar with a somewhat tranquil and distorted sound bite of nature hauntingly humming away in the background starts the song. The production of this short bit is perfect, captured in what sounds like mono . . . giving the sounds an old transistor radio vibe . . . before the heavily distorted guitar chugs away at a mighty riff, and then, BAM! The song goes to stereo, hitting us with this incredible sonic weight . . . and yet, the band gets this great stuttering effect to play for a second as the song is just about to take off, and this little effect, tiny and almost insignificant to most, adds all of this juice and gusto to introduce this song. Without that effect, sure, the song would be fine, but with it . . . added intensity and breaking of tension that makes the listener more vested in what’s going on. The rest of the song roils and tumbles all over itself, highlighting the musicianship of the band and the performer’s insane abilities to start and stop in a fraction of a second. Hypno5e bludgeons with the hardest of them, but the trait that separates these guys from the masses of hyper-intense, metal-core, math-core, progressive neophytes is their ability to bring everything crashing down to the most mesmerizingly melodic and mellow passages. Absolutely beautiful and brilliant moments of tranquility and serenity before they kick the music back into high gear.
The album is essentially five songs in length, however, three of those songs are multi-part passages. One of those multi-part tracks that requires multiple listens for sheer brilliance alone is “Gehenne (I – III)”. Part I is an almost tribal, throbbing and mesmerizing tune with lyrics that sound as if they’re being sung in Spanish rather than France. I could be completely wrong about that . . . the Romantic languages have a tendency to throw me from time to time. Suddenly, as if from out of nowhere, Part II kicks in and we are beaten senseless with the blastbeat that time forgot, and these manic harmonics mixed into the ferocious guitar riffs . . . and then these bizarre string sweeps that raise the hairs on the back of the neck . . . and then, almost as suddenly as when all hell broke loose, the music winds down, the tempo slows a bit, the noise abates, and Hypno5e serenade us with their elegant voices, harmonized just so. Part III picks up there the chaotic frenzy of Part II left off, and almost immediately drops into a chilled out passage that almost sounds like its being led by a mandolin. The remainder of the song is a topsy-turvy affair and ends with us listeners sitting back in our chairs with an audible sigh.
Hypno5e push their music further and further with every release, hell . . . practically with every song. They’re progressive in so many different aspects . . . with their virtuosic abilities, then with their conscious effort to shelve an idea if they’ve already used it, then again with the sonic exploration of heavy and light music, then with their use of samples to further a story along . . . these guys are fucking genius! Smarter than all of us combined! Acid Mist Tomorrow is an early favorite for my Best of 2012 list. I can’t stop listening to the album, probably because they add so many new wrinkles to their style, most notably the mellow melodic portions. These elements tug on the heart strings and are packed with so much raw emotion that I can’t help but go back again and again. This one is a stunner!