Review: Hyperborea – Umbra

The Bulgarian death metal band Hyperborea already exists for 22 years. Despite that this is the very first time I hear of this band and this first time is something I definitely don’t regret. Seven years after their formation, in 2004, they released their debut full-length Architecture of Mind, which was three years later followed by Cryogenic Somnia. After that it went silent with Hyperborea in terms of studio-material. Now, twelve years after Cryogenic Somnia was released that changed with their new album, titled Umbra, which was released via Art Gates Records on November the 15th. This is the first Hyperborea album on which drummer Antonis Trochopoulos and vocalist Dancho Ivanov can be heard. Next to them Hyperborea’s line-up consists of guitarists Yordan Kanchev and Andrey Andronov and bass player Vladimir Ivanov.

I already mentioned that I didn’t regret listening to Hyperborea’s Umbra. That’s mainly because of the fact that Hyperborea plays a wide part of the death metal spectrum on Umbra, what makes this a very varied album without deviating too much from those basics.

On Umbra we’ll hear some quite constantly fast, old school pounders that are, with exception of a few rhythm-changes, quite straightforward, such as Home of my Misery, Supremacists and Two Extremities. From Within, Silent Stream and Wrong Planet Syndrome are bringing a lot more rhythm-changes though, just as some regularly proggy elements and very grooving parts. Silent Stream also contains a part that starts with some very lingering guitars changing into a part that sounds more towards atmospheric doom/death, including screams, while Dancho Ivanov mainly brings deep grunts on Umbra, such as in Supremacists and Two Extremities, or growls, such as in From Within. That atmospheric aspect is something that comes back in the quite melodic Unwelcome, Wrong Planet Syndrome and the also very grooving closing track Atavistic Fear, while the doom/death vibe returns in the slower moments of Two Extremities, in which we’ll also hear very nice buzz saw guitars. Speaking of guitars, we’ll also hear some very nice roaring solos in, for example, From Within and Supremacists. In addition to those guitars, the drums on Umbra are very hammering, such as in Supremacists and Silent Stream.

So, are you a fan of death metal in various ways? Then be sure to not miss Hyperborea’s Umbra. Umbra is an album on which Hyperborea plays a wide part of the death metal spectrum in very tight execution, making all pieces of the puzzle falling into each other very well. This surely is recommended for any death metal fan.

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