Album Review – Hyperia / Insanitorium (2020)

Are you crazy enough to enter the “insanitorium” together with one of the most promising names of the current Canadian Thrash Metal scene?

Are you crazy enough to enter the Insanitorium, the debut full-length opus by Canadian Melodic Thrash Metal unity Hyperia? If your answer is yes, you better get ready for over 40 minutes of wailing and harsh vocals, melodic guitars, intricate bass lines and hard hitting drums, ranging from traditional Thrash Metal to Power Metal and even Death Metal, highly inspired by a myriad of bands such as Havok, Overkill, Running Wild, Hypocrisy and Gojira,  among others, with the album’s lyrical themes being based around the concept of being stuck in an insane asylum for committing evil crimes and having no way out. Put differently, after listening to Insanitorium, you’ll quickly understand why the band comprised of Marlee Ryley on vocals, Colin Ryley and David Kupisz on the guitars, Scott DeGruyter on bass and Jordan Maguire on drums was one of the nominees for “Metal Recording of the Year” at the 2019 YYC Music Awards and “Music Video of the Year” at the 2019 Stinger Awards, hosted by the CSIF – The Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers.

Recorded and mixed by Colin Ryley himself at Singularity Sound Studios in Calgary, Canada, mastered by Mika Jussila (Finntroll, Children of Bodom, Ensiferum) at Finnvox Studios in Helsinki, Finland, and featuring a beyond classic cover art by Belarusian illustrator Andrei Bouzikov (Municipal Waste, Skeletonwitch, Toxic Holocaust), Insanitorium perfectly represents what Hyperia are all about, proving that despite the fact the band was only formed less than two years ago, more specifically in September 2018, they can already be considered one of the most interesting and hardworking names of the Canadian underground scene, thrashing venues and taking the metal community by storm since their inception. Put differently, who doesn’t enjoy some old school shredding accompanied by soaring female vocals, right?

In the opening track Mad Trance, a movie-inspired intro morphs into ass-kicking Thrash Metal with a Melodic Death Metal twist, with both Colin and David showing what they got with their incendiary riffs before Marlee comes crushing with both her clean vocals and she-wolf gnarls, and a demented scream by Marlee sets fire to the also berserk Starved By Guilt, where the whole band puts the pedal to the metal spearheaded by Jordan’s frantic and vile beats. In other words, it’s simply perfect for slamming into the circle pit like a true metalmaniac, whereas in Asylum it’s time to break our necks headbanging, blending the ferocity of Exodus with the melody of Arch Enemy and showcasing an amazing sync between Colin and David, providing all Marlee needs to vociferate the song’s psychological words (“My dead lover under a cover / Screaming, trapped in monomania / They cringed as I unhinged / I’m drowning, set me free / Straight jacket because of a hatchet / Bewitched, lost in compulsion / I’m banished, mind vanished / Fixated, please help me!”).

Then eerie noises are quickly joined by the band’s strident guitars in Unleash The Pigs, evolving into another sonic onslaught where Jordan brutally smashes his drums supported by the rumbling bass by Scott, while Marlee once again delivers a superb performance on vocals; and fasten your seat belts as Hyperia flirt with old school Death Metal in the high-octane tune Nullified,  a very detailed and dense creation that lives up to the legacy of extreme music, sounding as frantic, aggressive and demented as it can be, and with Colin being unstoppable with his riffs and solos. And bringing elements from the music by Metallica, Megadeth and other fast and furious thrashing masters we have Fish Creek Frenzy, where Marlee’s wicked vocals are beautifully complemented by Colin’s and David’s flammable riffs, not to mention all the energy flowing from the song’s spot-on backing vocals.

Dystopia is another awesome composition bursting with rage, madness and heaviness, all embraced by the insurgent lyrics blasted by Marlee in a mix of Black and Thrash Metal styles (“War, bloodshed, slavery, hypocrisy / Everywhere, everyday it’s all you see / Take a look at yourself and your plight / It won’t end unless we STAND UP AND FIGHT”). Well, do you think they still have energy for more violence and bloodshed after so many thrashing hymns in a roll? Their answer comes in the form of the metallic hurricane entitled The Scratches on the Wall, with the sick growling by Marlee being flawlessly boosted by the bestial shredding by the band’s guitarists, as well as Jordan’s nonstop beats and fills, while pure, unrelenting riffage is the main ingredient in Contagion, sounding at the same time very old school, inspired by 80’s Heavy Metal, but also bringing a fresh, modern vibe thanks to the polished production of the album. Lastly, how about more undisputed, deranged Thrash Metal to close the album? That’s what Hyperia have to offer us all as infernal riffs and fast and rhythmic drums permeate the air in Evil Insanity, and when it’s over you’ll feel absolutely disoriented just the way we love it in extreme music.

The nonstop metal thrashing madness blasted by Hyperia in Insanitorium can be fully appreciated on YouTube and on Spotify, but if I were you I would definitely show my true support to such promising name of the current Canadian metal scene by purchasing their sensational debut album from their own BandCamp page, as well as from the Dead Pulse webstore or from Apple Music. Also, don’t forget to follow them on Facebook for news, tour dates and all other things Hyperia, because you know, you have to be absolutely insane not to support those Canadian metallers, and even more “insane” to slam into the circle pit to their melodic, furious and utterly entertaining creations.

Best moments of the album: Starved By Guilt, Fish Creek Frenzy, Dystopia and The Scratches on the Wall.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Sliptrick Records

Track listing
1. Mad Trance 4:36
2. Starved By Guilt 3:55
3. Asylum 4:08
4. Unleash The Pigs 4:56
5. Nullified 4:18
6. Fish Creek Frenzy 3:41
7. Dystopia 4:14
8. The Scratches on the Wall 3:57
9. Contagion 4:09
10. Evil Insanity 4:01

Band members
Marlee Ryley – vocals
Colin Ryley – lead guitar, backing vocals
David Kupisz – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Scott DeGruyter – bass, backing vocals
Jordan Maguire – drums

Album Review – Mutank / W.H.A.T.S.T.H.A.T. EP (2017)

They have a lot of thrashing songs that have abbreviated titles, and they kick some serious ass with their old school music and hardcore attitude.

They have a lot of thrashing songs that have abbreviated titles on their menu, and all those songs will certainly put you to slam into the circle pit with their endless electricity and catchy melodies. I’m talking about Canadian Crossover/Trash Metal act Mutank, who have just released a new EP titled W.H.A.T.S.T.H.A.T. (which according to the band means “We Have Alotta Thrash Songs That Have Abbreviated Titles”). Displaying a kick-ass old school cover art by Andrei Bouzikov (Holycide, Municipal Waste, Skeletonwitch), W.H.A.T.S.T.H.A.T. is not just a set of five amazing Crossover Thrash songs, but it’s also a follow-up to the band’s 2014 debut album M.E.C.H. METAL, which carved Mutank’s name in the Montreal Thrash scene and led them to play at Wacken Open Air that same year, as well as a taste of what’s to come as the band will have a full-length album to follow the EP later this year.

Inspired by Megadeth, Overkill, Iron Maiden, Municipal Waste, Mike Patton and the golden age of Thrash Metal, this Montreal-based quartet describes their sound as a “T-Rex skateboarding down a volcano”, which is exactly what you’ll find in W.H.A.T.S.T.H.A.T. “Our upcoming EP W.H.A.T.S.T.H.A.T. sort of started as a joke. I just thought it would be funny to force an acronym for ‘what’s that?’ and I came up with ‘We Have Alottta Thrash Songs That Have Abbreviate Titles’. From there we came up with the concept of an EP with a bunch of forced acronym titles. The EP itself was written somewhat conceptually with the individual songs being very short thrash songs that come together to make one longer progressive thrash track, which harkens back to the title since we don’t even know what it is! We have a ton of new material in the works as well, people can expect new stuff sooner rather than later!”

In the opening track, titled  L.I.F.E. (“Lament Infinity, Forlorn Eternity”), we’re treated to the sharp, thrilling guitar riffs and solos by Costa Skoulikas and Lee Whiskey in one minute of old school Thrash Metal, warming up the listener for I.D.I.O.T. (“I’ll Do It Over Tomorrow”), with its sick lyrics being nicely declaimed by lead singer and bassist Stephen Reynolds (“My brain’s a backed-up toilet / Can’t function cuz’ somebody soiled it / The posterior of prosperity / Thoughts too inbred to decongest / They’re unrelated so it can’t be incest / As I plunge into depravity”), whose rumbling bass also adds an extra kick to the song. Slam into the pit, have a beer with your buddies or simply bang your head nonstop to this uncompromised and electrified tune, before Mutank brings forth more shredding and thunderous bass lines for our avid ears in the faster and more hardcore mosh pit-generator P.O.P.U.L.O.U.S. (“Price Of Progress: Ugly Little Organisms Undermining Society”). This awesome composition sounds like the Thrash Metal played by Anthrax with Mutank’s own touch, turning it into the best track of the EP in my opinion.

F.O.G. (“Frailty Of Genius”) can be summarized as a minute and a half of pure madness led by the groovy beast by drummer Ahmed Daas and the inebriate vocals by Stephen, who once again sings the song’s old school demented lyrics with all his strength (“I walk around saying “It’s too late” / I know it ain’t / I guess that’s why I hold my breath under the water / ’til I come back up and drown in air”). And D.E.A.T.H. (“Divine Evaluation Awaits Thee Human”), the longest of all tracks, is also the one with the highest amount of complexity, showcasing thrashing guitars and a badass attitude, with Stephen and Ahmed sounding simply bestial with their bass and drums, respectively.

In ten minutes, Mutank slam more than several bands in their entire careers, and that says a lot about the overall quality of the music found in W.H.A.T.S.T.H.A.T. You can get to know more about Mutank and their wicked acronyms and abbreviations at their Facebook page, listen to their high-voltage music on YouTube and on SoundCloud, and purchase W.H.A.T.S.T.H.A.T. through their BandCamp page. I was trying to come up with a fun abbreviation to conclude this review, but you know what? Leave those to Mutank, as they definitely know how to condense words and, more important than that, amazing music into their short but extremely fun compositions.

Best moments of the album: I.D.I.O.T. and P.O.P.U.L.O.U.S.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Boonsdale Records

Track listing
1. L.I.F.E. (Instrumental) 1:01
2. I.D.I.O.T. 2:06
3. P.O.P.U.L.O.U.S. 1:40
4. F.O.G. 1:33
5. D.E.A.T.H. 3:50

Band members
Stephen Reynolds – vocals, bass
Costa Skoulikas – guitar
Lee Whiskey – guitar
Ahmed Daas – drums

Album Review – Holycide / Annihilate… Then Ask! (2017)

A fantastic album of old school “Motherfucking Thrash Metal” by an unstoppable quintet from Spain, annihilating everything and everyone that dares to cross their path.

What started in 2004 as an uncompromised Thrash Metal project by vocalist Dave Rotten (frontman of underground Spanish Death Metal act Avulsed) long before the New Wave Of Thrash Metal exploded massively has finally reached its final stage of evolution, culminating in an unstoppable and pugnacious thrashing beast for lovers of bands such as Dark Angel, Infernäl Mäjesty, Atrophy, Coroner and Sacrifice. In other words, it might have taken over a decade for Madrid-based steamroller Holycide to become a reality, but after listening to the crushing music from their debut album, the excellent Annihilate… Then Ask!, you’ll see the wait for this new entity created by Mr. Rotten was definitely worth it.

The intention, from the very beginning, was to create a very aggressive kind of thrash, exempt of commercial touches and focusing on the intense side of this kind of music. However, Dave was able to record the project’s first demo only in 2013, named No Escape, followed by the EP Toxic Mutiation in 2015. Although those releases might not have been exactly what Dave had in mind at first, they certainly fueled him and his bandmates to keep moving forward and become a full-bodied Thrash Metal group in the next couple of years. Featuring a kick-ass old school cover art by Andrei Bouzikov (Municipal Waste, Skeletonwitch, Toxic Holocaust), Annihilate… Then Ask! not only brings forward all the passion of the members of Holycide for the most hostile form of Thrash Metal, but it’s also the first major step in the career of a project that can now be considered one of the best and most electrifying new names of the genre worldwide.

Guitarists Miguel Bárez and Salva Esteban, together with drummer Jorge Utrera, build the stage for Dave and his demented growls in the opening track, a brutal and metallic devastation named Afterworld Remnants, a perfect sample of what the band calls “Motherfucking Thrash Metal”, followed by the insane title-track Annihilate… Then Ask!, presenting more of Dave’s sick screams supported by the reverberating bass by Dani Fernández. This is another classic chant with amazing backing vocals during its beyond-fun chorus, with the album’s crisp production boosting its already belligerent vibe. Dani continues to kick us in the head with his bass while the rest of the band delivers pure Thrash Metal for our total delight in Human’s Last Dawn, in special the awesome job done by the talented Jorge on drums and the old school guitar solos by Miguel and Salva. And following the path of icons such as Exodus, Forbidden and Overkill, the band blasts high-speed, visceral Thrash Metal that will certainly inspire you to slam into the pit in Eager to Take Control, with highlights to the always inebriate and acid growls by Dave.

Motörhead, Holycide’s tribute to the most badass Rock N’ Roll institution of all time is flammable, potent and as thrashy as hell, with an entertaining bonus for the listener in all the references to Lemmy and his crew in its lyrics, while the band delivers unstoppable beats, classy solos and endless aggression to our ears. The next tune, Bonebreaker, is an uproarious, rhythmic and ruthless composition, with the bass lines by Dani and the riffs by Miguel and Salva cutting our skin deeply (the song could have been slightly shorter to keep the music fresh, though); whereas the band’s raging onrush of Thrash Metal goes on in full force with another furious spawn entitled Deserve to be Erased, where Dave continues to be the madman on vocals while Jorge accelerates the music with his frantic and precise drumming. Needless to say, this song should sound fantastic if played live.

Holycide’s cover version for Losers, one of the most famous songs by American Thrash/Speed Metal band Détente, is a thing of beauty, living up to the anarchy and hardcore vibe of the original version, with its guitar solos being exactly what we want in Thrash Metal, while Leather Spikes Chains & Blood carries in its name all elements we crave in good heavy music. Musically speaking, it’s a magnificent feast of slashing riffs, thunderous bass lines, powerful beats and a superb performance by Dave on vocals, supported by the song’s sick backing vocals. Put differently, it can’t get any more thrashing than this. And the album ends at maximum speed and savagery with the merciless tune Back and Forth, a demolishing hymn led by the hellish growls by Dave and Jorge’s intricate and demonic drumming. Well, what are you waiting for to have some beers and get smashed into the circle pit to the sound if this sensational song?

If you’re still not convinced about the absolute awesomeness of the music by Holycide, simply click HERE and, after around 42 minutes of sheer havoc, you’ll certainly bow your head to this amazing Spanish quintet (or at least headbang nonstop to them). Holycide can be reached through their Facebook page, where you can keep updated with everything the band is working on, while Annihilate… Then Ask! can be purchased at their BandCamp, at the Xtreem Music’s BandCamp or webstore, on Amazon or at Discogs. When you have in your hands an amazing album of old school Thrash Metal like what Holycide are offering us, you don’t ask anything. You simply annihilate whoever crosses your path.

Best moments of the album: Annihilate… Then Ask!, Motörhead, Leather Spikes Chains & Blood and Back and Forth.

Worst moments of the album: Bonebreaker.

Released in 2017 Xtreem Music

Track listing
1. Afterworld Remnants 4:13
2. Annihilate… Then Ask! 4:04
3. Human’s Last Dawn 4:43
4. Eager to Take Control 3:24
5. Motörhead 4:42
6. Bonebreaker 4:56
7. Deserve to be Erased 4:47
8. Losers (Détente cover) 3:13
9. Leather Spikes Chains & Blood 4:20
10. Back and Forth 4:00

Band members
Dave Rotten – vocals
Miguel Bárez – guitar
Salva Esteban – guitar
Dani Fernández – bass
Jorge Utrera – drums

Guest musician
Juancar – guest vocals on hooligan chorus