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Hyena - Live at Sanctuary

Live at Sanctuary
by Ian Yera at 09 December 2021, 8:53 PM

HYENA is a straight forward heavy metal band from Cajamarca, Peru without an actual full length LP yet. They have an EP from 2019 and while this one is titled as a live album/EP it seems more to me just like another EP, or at least I can't hear the crowd in this "live album". I can at least appreciate the energy on display. There are moments of this performance that remind me of early VIRGIN STEELE or MANOWAR, just with far less intricacy.. The vocalist is just okay, but he's really giving it his all and I respect that. The guitars are going the whole time and providing a nice mat of riffs underneath, not that there's much to be underneath. I suppose this is more of a genre based complaint, but the arrangement of instruments always seems so empty in this kind of music. Like outside of the guitars there's just nothing going on and I get bored pretty quickly. Fortunately at 21 minutes this EP doesn't outstay it's welcome and I actually found several moments throughout that managed to impress me, if only somewhat.

“Ready to Explode” is both the longest and most aggressive song on the album, it really gets across the energy level the band is aiming for and it was definitely one of the more enjoyable songs. “About Rock and Roll” was actually better than I expected, while the trite lyrics about Rock and Roll will always cause me to roll my eyes, here the dueling guitars provide enough entertainment to keep me from skipping the song. Then we get a cover of “The Beast” by Randy which is fine I guess, like I really don’t have much to say about a cover of a song I’m not all that familiar with. “Keep it True” is when the vocals just go off the tracks, for some reason on this song El Sucio is really flat, maybe it’s just a register problem or the song being written in slightly the wrong key, but it doesn’t quite bother me as much as it would because of the energy he’s putting into his performance, and as a vocalist myself I understand how a performance can sound great at the time, but then the recordings sound different than it did in your in-ears. “Star Maker” is pretty standard, no frills hard rock, same with the final track “Hyena”, but that’s part of the problem, or maybe it’s my problem; part of why I don’t really get classic heavy metal, it’s just straight forward and boring with nothing extra or interesting added. I know interesting is a very vague and subjective term, but part of being a prog fan is that you get used to lots of transitions, multiple harmony lines, crazy breakdowns and extended bridges. This music contains none of that, and so unfortunately I was never really going to be thrilled by this.

As I said though, I respect the energy and even though I can’t hear the crowd in this live recording I respect what these guys are doing and their dedication to that classic hard rock/heavy metal sound. Maybe they’ll actually release a full LP someday and we’ll be able to hear what they actually want to sound like. There’s a couple solos in here that grabbed my attention, but none of the hooks really grabbed me and honestly I thought the last two tracks were quite boring. I can’t call this bad or anything, just mildly boring.

Musicianship: 5
Songwriting: 5
Memorability: 5
Production: 5

2 Star Rating

1. Ready to Explode
2. It’s about Rock and Roll
3.The Beast (Randy Cover)
4. Keep it True
5. Starmaker (Battleaxe Cover)
6. Hyena
Alfonso - Guitars
Gherald Salazar - Bass
Diego Leonardo - Drums
Sergio - Guitars
Harry “El Sucio” - Vocals
Record Label: Inti Records


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