Progressive death metal is a genre that can be quite difficult to appreciate at times. It took me some time to get my head around some of its intricacies. I would now consider it to be one of my favourite sub-genres. Unfortunately there don't seem to be many bands from the northern hemisphere that are playing it so I was excited to hear what France's Hyaena had to offer. Straight off the bat it is clear that Hyaena have a bit more to them than some of the more generic progressive death metal bands around.
The music is essentially a riff soup that is continually stopping, starting and changing tempo. There aren't any direct comparisons to be made to other bands though there are plenty of influences including Hate Eternal, Dillinger Escape Plan, Between the Buried and Me and Meshuggah. The sheer intensity of this album is something to behold. It has all the characteristics of a band that have been playing and recording together for years, and that’s true as they released two EP’s prior to this record. It is a credit to their musicianship and provides a glimpse and a hint towards what they may be able to achieve in the future.
Not only is 'Existence' extremely heavy, it is ultra technical also. There isn't a moment where the entire band are resting on their laurels. While the guitars are shredding away, drummer is putting in one of the most spirited performances I have heard for some time. Though he isn't the fastest drummer I have ever heard his choice of beats and fills is really interesting and creative. His playing reminds me a lot of the late Steve MacDonald from Gorguts. The production of the album was handled by Jamie King, and that really makes difference. Everything is audible and certainly doesn’t lack the bite and the punch that would push the sound to the next level.
Hyaena is an asset to France's metal scene and should have a long future if things keep going the way they are. Pre-order 'Existence' here.