Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hypno5e - De Deux L'une Est L'autre (Overcome Distribution, 2007)

This album was released a couple years back, but it's just now being distributed and promoted stateside.

Ambition's a bitch. You gotta shoot for the moon to make an impression these days, but great ideas come way before the development of abilities to see them through. France's Hypno5e aren't lacking for ambition. The band swings low for downtuned metal riffing, hurtles into space for post-metal preludes, wedges dialogue samples and sepia-toned piano lines in that place in between "pensive" and "creepy," and stretches the whole thing over a 73-minute album -- too long by half an hour, even if you're Tool. Apparently Hypno5e's live show features custom-curated movie projections and lighting. And all of this without cracking a smile or breaking into a major key. 

"Maintained Relevance of Destruction Part 1"

On Des Deux L'une Est L'autre, Hypno5e's first full-length release, the band are concerned more with the self-aware expansion of their art than making it stick. Individual elements stand out without relating meaningfully to the rest of the songs. Hypno5e's pretty moments can tingle the spine -- the febrile opening minutes of "The Hole" and the close of "Scarlet Fever" weep stinging rain droplets, and "Naked Lunch I" feels like a journey through a miasma of memory, reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor's best work. But there's no internal momentum to this album, no sense that the hazy atmospherics of "Naked Lunch I" is part of the same experience as the industrialized metal riff that follows it in "Naked Lunch II." Searing heaviness and harmony vocals and female opera singers do-si-do in interchangeable patterns.


Also telling is that the hardest moments on this album are hopelessly out of date. The tritone-intensive riffs on "Maintained Relevance of Destruction Part 1" sound like Hypno5e were going for Gojira but ended up closer to Machine Head -- that post-thrash, slouching towards nü-metal riff style that sounded staid a decade ago (coincidentally, that was around the time when having an inappropriate number or punctuation mark in your band name went out of style). Hypno5e are self-styled "metal experimentalists," so why do they limit the experimentation to the softer end of the musical spectrum? Des Deux L'une Est L'autre is the band's first proper album, so we'll call it an issue of unmet potential. Skip the record and go see them live, where their pretensions can flower in sight and sound.


1 comment:

O Justice said...

Interesting find, at the very least. They sound like what every shitty metalcore band believes they sound like, when in actuality they sound like dogshit thrice stepped upon. Hypno5e would definitely never make a regular listen for me, but I'm glad I heard it. At least now I know that the chuggachugga can work sometimes, even if they're kinda uneven as a band.