Hibria - The Skull Collectors
Spiritual Beast
Heavy/Power Metal
9 songs (49:38)
Release year: 2008
Spiritual Beast
Reviewed by Thomas
Album of the month

I hate to love bands that spend forever on making another album after a completely mind-blowing debut. Hibria made a huge splash in the underground as well as the international metal scene with one of the highlights of 2004, their brilliant debut Defying the Rules-. As many others, I’ve spent the last couple of years searching for information on an upcoming album, but the band themselves have been dead silent, and by God has it been annoying. Five years (four for the lucky Japanese) have passed since Defying the Rules, and finally, the new Indiana Jones-y The Skull Collectors is out and the Brazilians show that they’ve not lost whatever made their debut so successful over the last couple of years. In fact, it seems like they’ve been using their time wisely. Even though the songwriting isn’t quite as blistering on The Skull Collectors, this new album is somehow more complete, and maybe more mature even. The production is better and complementary and the overall quality of the songs is just as good if not better than on Defying the Rules. Yes, you’re right, there’s more kickass heavy metal coming your way.

The speed-fest kicks off with the blasting Tiger Punch (Ignore the song-title). The ever so virtuoso Marco Panichi is a truly excellent bass-player, and his insane turns through every corner here is downright mind-boggling. He’s one of the few bassists that aren’t afraid of experimenting and letting himself go in a creative shredding inferno, and should be a perfect example on what you can actually do with the rumbling instrument. The bass is nearly just as crucial to the music as the guitars are. He follows every line and every passage smoothly, and never seem to struggle. The guitar-duo consisting of Abel Camargo and Diego Kasper are way more creative than you’d expect. Every song is chock full of entertaining and speedy riffs and wizardry leads that’ll make Kiko shake in his panties. Last but not least, for some the highlight, for others a little exhausting, the chief behind the mic, Iuri Sanson. If you find high-pitched wailing tiresome, then don’t say I didn’t warn you. This guy stays entirely in the higher tone-register, and his powerful soaring never wears off as he slashes his way through everything, piercing the sky like the tower of Babylon with his sometimes majestic and especially mountainous strong voice. If I were to compare him to anyone it would probably be Ex-Lost Horizoner Daniel Heiman. He’s got the same range, maybe not quite as explosive but still pretty damn close. As I said, if you’re not a fan of this, it might be a bit much for you, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed, right?

The songs here are blasting out of the speakers with sparkling intensity from moment number one. They never let up on speed, aggression, intensity or melody. You won’t be able to find a moment here that’s neither catchy nor melodic. Especially on the opening quintet where sparks are flying with the riff-y Reborn From the Ashes, while the incredibly lovely and catchy Sea of Revenge contains some of the greater melodic moments on here. Despite the more or less one-sided tempo, this is surprisingly impressive when it comes to variation and diversity. Clearly because it’s so chock full of hooks that you won’t be able to draw your attention from it unless you turn it off. Even then you’re bound to go humming them to death and beyond. With this Hibria more or less confirms their position within the Brazilian as well as the international metal scene. They bring us speedy and powerful heavy metal reminiscent of a faster Judas Priest. While some of the songs aren’t as outstanding, the brilliant title-track and astonishing closer Wings of Wax should be gold for any metal fan who appreciate their power, melody and aggression.

It all boils down to that this is another great release by Hibria which just shows that a band doesn’t necessarily have to evolve significantly to make a great follow-up. Opinions will vary on which of their two full-lengths is of the highest quality. For me, it’s as close as it gets to a tie. This is maybe not as blistering yet it is better produced and maybe a little more mature. Defying the Rules was however more fun and just like this one full of quality. Definitely recommended.

Killing Songs :
Thomas quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by Hibria that we have reviewed:
Hibria - The Blind Ride reviewed by Thomas and quoted 50 / 100
Hibria - Defying the Rules reviewed by Cody and quoted 95 / 100
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