Hybrid - The 8th Plague
Eyesofsound Records
Technical Death/Sludge
8 songs (37:34)
Release year: 2008
Eyesofsound Records
Reviewed by Goat

For a band that once featured members of cult Tech-Death heroes Wormed, you’d expect Spanish fivesome Hybrid to be masters of their instruments, capable of turning on a dime, parking on a quarter, and swivelling on a cent. And you wouldn’t be far wrong, although any comparisons to be made with the wormy ones would be forgotten as soon as you actually listen to The 8th Plague and a ferocious burst of brutality comes forth, Meshuggah meets Mastodon via Neurosis and even Slayer. Whilst Wormed are pretty single-minded in their destruction, Hybrid prefer to mix things up to such a degree that you get a Jazz breakdown in the very first song, Hundred Years Ocean. The first damn song! And whilst most would be content with a few Dream Theatery riffs thrown in amongst the mosh-friendly violence, Hybrid actually put everything on hold for a minute whilst they play actual, proper Jazz, saxophone and all. Although the rest of the album goes on to put you over its knee and spank you senseless in a variety of ways, it’s this moment that stays with you the longest, that sits you down, holds your hand, and solemnly informs you that you’re listening to something rather special.

If there’s a problem with this album, it’s just that; you get the impression that Things are going on, but trying to recall them a few hours after listening is useless. Moments such as Soul Prolapse may twist and writhe, fantastic instrumentation (especially the drums, handled adroitly by Chus Maestro) yet if you’ve listened to a fair amount of Technical Metal, you may well find it less original and exciting than others would. Coming from the perspective of someone who never quite ‘got’ the whole Tech-scene (where are the songs, for gods’ sakes?) I nonetheless enjoyed The 8th Plague a lot. There are a lot of great moments here, moments such as the dip into epic Sludge a la Cult Of Luna in Sleep Of The Defeated, the Jazzy opening and backing moments to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder’s schizophrenic deluge (the more Avant-Garde moments on the album are integrated very well) and the epic dip into Brutal Death on Sun Burnt, to name a few. Otherwise, it’s a blur, a fantastic blur of tumbling carnage that should keep any fan of the Tech happy.

There are faults. Tracks 3-7 are a bit samey, with little to separate them that you’ll get on the tenth listen, The Omega Swarm steps rather disconcertingly into Metalcore territory, and nine-minute finale Ashes Of Babylon is a wasted opportunity, slowing things down to a Doom crawl that’s a few steps short of the intense, heavy-as-a-concrete-slab pulverising that the band doubtless intended. Plus, the vocals are mostly ‘Core growls rather than the more respectable Brutal Death variety, meaning that a few people will probably be put off. Still, if you are the sort of person that enjoys their Death Metal to be challenging and technical as well as harsh, then Hybrid should be on your ‘check-out’ list. They’re definitely on the ‘keep an eye on’ list over here... not quite there yet with the songwriting, but with enough skill to mark them out as serious contenders for the Tech crown in future years.

Killing Songs :
Hundred Years Ocean, Soul Prolapse
Goat quoted 74 / 100
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