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Hiraes – Solitary Award winner

Hiraes
Solitary
by Thomas Kumke at 04 August 2021, 3:23 PM

HIRAES are a newly formed melodic Death Metal band from Lower Saxony, Germany. Four of the five members came from the much acclaimed melodic Death Metal outfit DAWN OF DISEASE. After their split in 2019, they restarted as HIRAES with vocalist Britta Görtz, formerly with Thrash Metal band CRIPPER and more recently with German Death Metal outfit CRITICAL MESS. “Solitary” is the debut full-length album which was produced by legendary Jens Bogren (AMON AMARTH, AMORPHIS, ARCH ENEMY) at Swedish Fascination Street Studios. The album was released via Napalm Records and has a length of about 44 minutes.

HIRAES, which is derived from the Welsh word hiraeth, is not simply a continuation of DAWN OF DISEASE although one is tempted to think so. HIRAES is a restart with a new orientation within the framework of the melodeath world. How to do this better than adding a vocalist with more than a 15 years history in Thrash and Death Metal? I personally was a bit surprised to see Britta Görtz having vocal duties in the traditional melodic Death Metal arena, but I had no doubts that she would be a great asset for the band. “Solitary” is the best of both worlds that DAWN OF DISEASE and Britta Görtz had to offer: finest Death Metal with lots of inspirations taken from the Gothenburg school, an inexhaustible reservoir of melodies, an excellent blend of different rhythms and textures, and the outstanding and powerful female vocals as an icing on the cake.
 The 44 minutes journey starts with the measured and melancholic driven “Shadows Break” which is largely dominated by the lead guitars. For me, the opener has still somehow intro character until it transitions into “Under Fire” which has a strong start including a short blast-beat section. It is the classical melodeath mid-tempo song with sharp guitar riffing, epic lead guitar melodies, and the growling vocals that have a great variation in the guttural range and simply make the difference. Melodies and sound have some similarities to that of ARCH ENEMY or EVIL DRIVE, but that does not take anything away from one of the highlights of the album. “Under Fire” was released as video and the YouTube link is given below.

Grain Of Sand” is one of the faster songs on the album. It is more direct, a bit more aggressive, and a bit more complex in structure. The chorus section is in mid-tempo with epic melodies and harmonies. A strength of the album is the diversity in rhythm and sound. “1000 Lights” has a measured, rather stomping, head-banging rhythm for most parts and an unexpected break near the end of the track where all hell breaks loose. “Eyes Over Black” and “Outshine” are another highlights on “Solitary”: a mixture of catchy guitar riffing in mid-tempo, melodic sing-along choruses, breaks with blast-beat outbursts and fast, aggressive riffing, combined with slower melancholic parts. Both tracks have simply everything what modern melodic Death Metal stands for.

The title song “Solitary” is the fastest and most aggressive song on the album with flesh-ripping guitar riffs, relentlessly hammering drums, but still an epic character during the chorus section. The extended lead guitar solo is direct, dynamic, aggressive, and fits perfectly to the song and is another highlight of the album. “Strangers” and “Running Out Of Time” cannot quite cope with the fireworks of the first seven songs, but both songs have their moments: the promising beginning of “Strangers” with a short clean vocal part that transitions into a head-banging mid-tempo section with catchy riffing or the unexpected piano finale in “Running Out Of Time”.

The debut album of HIRAES is an excellent melodic Death Metal album that has its strengths in the outstanding guitar work of both guitarists and the vocals that are among the very best in Death Metal. “Solitary” is an enhancement of that what started as DAWN OF DISEASE but with the very own HIRAES signature. All songs are very diverse and technically sophisticated which is evidence for very good songwriting. The album is very well produced. With “Solitary”, HIRAES set the bar pretty high and the album belongs to the collection of every melodic Death Metal fan.

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  9
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Shadows Break
2. Under Fire
3. Grain Of Sand
4. 1000 Lights
5. Eyes Over Black
6. Outshine
7. Solitary
8. Strangers
9. Running Out Of Time
Lineup:
Britta Görtz – Vocals
Oliver Kirchner – Guitars
Lukas Kerk ­ Guitars
Mathias Blässe – Drums
Christian Wösten – Bass
Record Label: Napalm Records
     


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