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Hypersonic - Existentia

Hypersonic
Existentia
by Sammy M at 14 July 2016, 1:58 PM

As is often the case with relatively unknown Symphonic Metal and Power Metal bands, one thing they can fail at is the vocals. Both genres require a certain level of power and grace from their vocalists, and often this just doesn’t happen, leading to the band failing at the genre they are trying to make an impact in. So as a result, every time I hear a new band in one of these genres, I tend to be let down a lot in that department. Therefore I went in to this review with a lot of hesitation. However HYPERSONIC completely defied my pessimistic expectations right from the start. They are an extremely powerful and beautiful band with a great amount of polish.

“Existentia” is the second album by this Italian Symphonic/Power metal band that brilliantly showcases the talent and skill of these five musicians. As I mentioned, the vocals can often let down this certain brand of metal, however Alessia Rapisarda and Salvo Grasso, who share the duty, both have powerful and rich voices that perfectly compliment such elegant music. Both of them display a great range, and seem to know exactly how to play off each other, often switching seamlessly much like the dual vocals of LACUNA COIL.

The songs are generally well written, with a lot happening at once, leading to the majority of the album being quite high energy and fairly uplifting as is often the case with power metal. Aside from the vocals, the other stand out is the at times bizarre keyboard as played by Dario Caruso. He leans fairly heavily on a synth sound rather than an acoustic piano a lot of the time, and somehow this heavily distorted electronic noise seems to work out really well for the band. It adds to that uplifting feeling in the same way that acoustic piano often works more for a more melancholy feel. Speaking of which, the song “Embrace Me” stood out from every other track in that it perfectly breaks up the album with its more sombre feel, having the acoustic piano and slowing down the pace significantly. It’s in this type of song where a vocalist can truly show off their skill and both Alessia and Salvo do this in such an epically emotional fashion. The bass lines shine through here as well, with Francesco Caruso adding a groovy kind of beauty to the song.

Jumping back towards the beginning of the album, “The Eyes Of The Wolf” would be the most accessible song on the album, with its epic riffs played by Emanuele Gangemi and quick precise drumming by Salvo Grasso (along with his usually vocals). It has one of the biggest hooks on the album, and having it placed near the beginning of the album seems much like a strategic play to get you invested in the rest of what’s to come. “God’s Justice” is another brilliant track, starting slow with a spoken intro in a very stilted but chilling way, before getting right in to one of the heaviest moments on the album.  The drums and guitar shine here again, with both playing loud and fast throughout the majority of the song. This has the best display of vocal harmonies on the album, showing how great they can sound together, and with the recording mixing them completely even, instead of having one vocalist drown out the other as many bands with multiple vocalists tend to do. The tenth track named “Pilgrims Path” is not at all a song, instead just random ambient noises with muffled spoken words that seemed to be leading to something. It certainly did. The last two tracks, either one of which would have made a great end to the album, both offer a great example of what makes HYPERSONIC special. “Prayer In The Dark” is everything that power metal should be. It’s obviously powerful, has a great sing-along feel, great heavy, and often dark riffs, and rounded out by the always epic keyboard synth, and sudden guitar solo. I would have been happy if this closed the album, however there was still one more track.

“The Meaning Of… - …Existence” is by far the longest track on the album, at over nine minutes long. Fans of power metal, or in fact many forms of more extravagant metal, would be used to this sort of length, and it was great to see a song of this scope on an album by a band that clearly has the skill to pull it off. It starts with the sound of waves lapping at the shore, then in to a pretty acoustic guitar with Salvo singing, and then it completely takes off. What follows is a song with the kind of perfectly paced layout that you would get from a band like KAMELOT, or NIGHTWISH. It’s not something that I had expected from HYPERSONIC, but they completely owned every part of the song. As like the other bands I mentioned, HYPERSONIC doesn’t burn out within the first few minutes of the song, but instead manage to keep it at a steady enough pace, and throw in enough variety, to make it an extremely enjoyable nine minutes. This is an incredible way to close out an album, and would have had me sold on this band even if it were the only track on the entire album.

HYPERSONIC have proven over and over again on “Existentia” that they have what it takes to make it to the top of the power metal scene. No the album isn’t perfect, there are times where I lost interest in some of the more uninspired songs, however every time this happened, another song would come along that brought me straight back in to it. I expect big things from this band in the future, and very much look forward to seeing where they go from here.

Songwriting: 9/10
Originality: 8/10
Memorability: 7/10
Production: 8/10

 

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
01. The First Sound Of Life – Principium
02. The Eyes Of The Wolf
03. As An Angel
04. Blind Sins
05. Living In The Light
06. Embrace Me
07. Love Is Pain – Heartbroken
08. God’s Justice
09. Life’n Death
10. Pilgrim’s Path
11. Prayer In The Dark
12. The Meaning Of… - …Existence
Lineup:
Alessia Rapisarda – Vocals
Salvo Grasso – Male Vocals/Drums
Emanuele Gangemi – Guitar
Francesco Caruso – Bass
Dario Caruso – Piano/Keys
Record Label: Revalve Records
     


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