Hyperborean - Of Malice
Self Financed
Melodic Metal with Death/Black influences
4 songs (16'43")
Release year: 2002
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

When my colleague Mike asked me to review the demo by Hyperborean I gladly agreed. After all it was blisteringly cold outside which perfectly coincided with the band’s moniker which means “a native of the country named after the God of Northern Wind”. It took a while for the demo to arrive, no thanks being given to the “extremely efficient” US Postal System. Yet when the demo finally made it to my player it immediately warmed my heart as it is probably one of the best demos I have ever sampled.

Let me start with the packaging. Some people say it is superficial, but it undoubtedly forms the first impression. Professionally put together CDR, nice cover graphics, bio page and two photos of seven young Swedes in their 20s.

Of course, no matter how good the packaging is if the music contents are substandard it can’t save the band. Well, in the case of Hyperborean they don’t have to worry about it. As soon as the guitar intro of The Death of the God of Light transitioned into the fast leads and the drums kicked in I was immediately reminded of the twin guitar Maidenish harmonies. Extremely well done with the speed and tightness rivaling that of the mighty and defunct Dissection. Guitarists, David Stromberg and Daniel Gustavsson, can really dazzle you with their work. I especially loved it when the lead was supported with heavier riffs and drum double bass. For almost the first minute and a half the song has no vocals. So, when some whispery vocals surfaced they didn’t really sink in. That moment was brief though. Male vocalist, Magnus Persson, sings with a black metal voice. It is not screetchy or demonic, but more of the screamy variety. I would not call him one of my favorites, but he really gets better as the record goes on. His performance on Of Malice, Tempest and Storm and In the Dead of Winter is much more convincing as it fits the style of music more than on the opening track. On the first two tracks Martina Forss supplies serene female vocals that contrast Magnus extremely well. Drummer, Jonas Martensson, is very good. He holds the whole framework together and tries to slip in a roll whenever he can to spice things up.

The second track Of Malice, Tempest and Storm is somewhat thrashy, but with an undeniable melodic Gothenburg feel. Blast beat rhythm and a quality Norse melody made for a catchy song I keep on humming even now. In the middle of the song keyboards make themselves known for the first time on the album and dominate the melody in spots. Of Malice, Tempest and Storm is, probably, the best track on the demo. Sorgesang is a 3 min acoustic guitar/keyboard interlude with Martina singing the lyrics entirely in Swedish. Entrancing song, very reminiscent of the title track from Entombed in the Midnight Hour (solo album by Naglfar vocalist Jens Ryden) with its mystic atmosphere.

As the first three songs differed in style, I almost expected In the Dead of Winter to be a tribute to Immortal judging from its title. Even though it probably is the heaviest, most riff oriented song on the demo, it is in no way thrashy black metal. I would still classify it as a melodic death metal with a beautiful triumphant melody reinforced by the middle keyboard break. Jonas Martensson mashes his cymbals into a pulp in the course of this song as well.

My recommendation to a band should not be misconstrued as criticism. In fact, I loved the demo so much I want it to be even better. Hopefully with their next productions Hyperborean will manage to add more meat and power to their riffs. Guitars seem to be a little bit behind the rhythm section in the production and it is a shame since both guitarists deliver a quality product. Magnus Persson vocal improvement is also key.

Lyrically, the album deals with Norse mythology which is always an interesting subject for me.

I have always said that it is almost unfair how well many young Scandinavians can play Heavy Metal music. What is it? Does every Swede have to play a musical instrument by the age of 12, or what? Hyperborean feel for melody and rhythm is uncanny and extremely mature, even though their songwriting is straightforward and their influences are obvious. They are one extremely talented up and coming band. Any label signing them to their roster would do well. Hammerheart and Nuclear Blast, what are you waiting for? If you have trouble finding the band check out www.hyperborean.nu

Killing Songs :
All songs are very good, but Of Malice, Tempest and Storm stands out
Alex quoted no quote
Other albums by Hyperborean that we have reviewed:
Hyperborean - Mythos of the Great Pestilence reviewed by Alex and quoted 81 / 100
Hyperborean - The Spirit of Warfare reviewed by Alex and quoted 73 / 100
Hyperborean - Prey reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Hyperborean - Thorns Scar Her Soul reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are no replies yet to this review
Be the first one to post a reply!