Hyperborean - Prey
Blackened Extreme Metal
3 songs (20'56")
Release year: 2005
Reviewed by Alex

When talking about a young, little known band, wouldn’t it be nice to say after they make it big “I knew it all along, I was there in the beginning”. Forget the make it big part, let’s just limit it to “it is great to trace the band’s path forward, demo after demo after demo”.

Such is my case with Hyperborean. I was there to receive their firstborn Of Malice in 2002, the quick follow-up Thorns Scar Her Soul in 2003 which, one would think, could be the demo that could have brought them the deal with one of the many European labels (Spikefarm, where were you?). My contacts with the band grew very sparse, limited to about one “How are you doing?” e-mail per year with the mainstay guitarist Daniel Gustavsson. He told me to expect Prey somewhere in July ’05. Six month later it finally landed, when the less persistent would have probably ceased to exit.

With great pleasure I have re-listened to Of Malice and Thorns Scar Her Soul on my way to discovering Prey. I wanted to refresh my mind why I happened to like the Swedes so much, and to see the progression as the unabashed early In Flames/Dark Tranquillity melodic thrash-death on Of Malice grew into more advanced song writing, more complex guitar parts, more keyboards, more symphonic approach, if you will, without losing the through-and-through sense of melody, both unique to Hyperborean, but also recognizably Norse in nature.

Prey is a different animal than the first two demos. Hyperborean camp has further moved the sound towards symphonic, pompous, long-winded songs. Aside from fret-climbing and explosive leads on Clarion Call and The Concept of Power, guitars tend to be lower in the mix on Prey than before. Instead of keys doing the short fills in cleaner spots, some riffing is now delegated to this instrument (Clarion Call, And the World Did Burn). On the whole, Hyperborean music got bigger, heavier and darker, without previous, almost in your face, melodicism and youthful exuberance. Prey is definitely more advanced effort, but also more generic, making the band sounding less unique, and more like Stormlord, Naglfar and Dimmu Borgir, without the big production and silly theatrics, and even a bit like Cradle of Filth, without the idiotic vocals. Magnus Persson is still covering the extreme metal vocal range from deeper growls to vomitous shrieks. Hyperborean also does not have much of an overt Nordic character on Prey, no songs in Swedish and no female lead vocals.

I would not lie and say that my preference still lies with Of Malice and Thorns Scar Her Soul, I thought the sound of those demos made Hyperborean more distinctive of a band. However, Prey just showcased the fact that Hyperborean is versatile enough to explore different direction of blackened melodic death metal as well. I have enough confidence in this band to put an album full of quality diverse songs. Which direction would they be leaning more towards? No one will ever know until this talented outfit gets a stage to show it.

Killing Songs :
Clarion Call, And the World Did Burn
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 - Thorns Scar Her Soul reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Hyperborean - Of Malice reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
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