Hryre From Mortality to Infinity Cover 2016When John Haughm dissolved Agalloch earlier this year it left a giant gaping hole. Their natural, organic take on black metal was a vibrant breath of fresh air in the often stagnant genre. In the wake of the band’s demise, acts from across the world are tossing their home-grown influences in hopes of achieving the same level of influence. England’s Hryre crafted nine hymns rooted in their country’s politics, heritage, and the need to individualize in the form of their ambitious debut, From Mortality to Infinity. How successful are these visionaries?

After a minute-long whoosh provided by the honestly unnecessary “Inauguration,” an impressive fill by drummer Gareth Hodgson kicks off “Devastation of Empires” in earnest. The bio sheet that accompanies From Mortality compares Hryre to FenWinterfylleth, and Emperor, and I can hear where the first two inspire the band. It also reminds me of early Primordial in parts. The riffing by Nathan Patchett and Rick Millington is tight and blistering, and Millington’s screams and growls are performed quite well. There’s a bit of a blackened groove at 1:46, followed by a savage tremolo melody at 2:06. At 3:33, the song slows down, and a somber melody wafts through the ether, giving the song a good doom feel. Another ominous dirge-and-purge riff towards the end, and I’m left impressed.

If the rest of the album could just hold up to that standard, we would have a beast on our hands. Sadly, Hryre suffer from what I call Newbanditis™1. In other words, they’re ambitious and hungry, but with all their ambient whooshes, impressive drum fills, and spoken word pieces, they forgot to craft compelling songs. “Plagues of Ancient Graves” nails the atmosphere musically, but their constant repeating of the title track near the end wore me out. Elsewhere, the beautiful “Cast into Shade Part One (Farewell)” has serene acoustic guitars, sweeping violin melodies, humming background chants, and some of the tritest spoken word poetry I’ve ever heard. Its follow-up, “Cast into Shade Part Two (Black Sun),” plods for fourteen unforgiving minutes. Only closer “Return to the Earth” salvages any saving grace left on the album, with a closing riff that’s both catchy and memorable.

Hryre Band 2016
Sound-wise, From Mortality to Infinity bounces all over the place dynamically, sounding rich and full with “Cast into Shade Part Two (Black Sun)” (DR10), and squashed and muddled in the ironically-titled “Lamenting the Coming Dread” (DR4). The guitars smother when they go into tremolo mode, muffling the bass. The drums possess that awesome wet-cardboard sound as well. But the biggest crime of all is, once again, found in the songwriting. I’m all for experiencing one’s heritage musically, but I must be captivated while doing so. By the way, in case you haven’t noticed, there is nothing on here that even comes close to reminding one of Emperor.

Freethinkers should be heard, authority should be questioned, and everyone should experience nature at least once. While Hryre are noble in their intent to free one’s mind, From Mortality to Infinity falls woefully short of the mark. Nature calls, but sometimes it’s best left for the trees to hear. Disappointing.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Code666 Records
Release Dates: EU: 2016.09.23 | NA: 10.21.2016

Show 1 footnote

  1. Patent pending.
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  • Huck N’ Roll

    Sounds like the latest from Gollum and the Lawn Sprinklers to me.

  • The Unicorn

    Comparing this to Winterfylleth is like comparing a pile of dog shit to a gleaming jewel.

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      Not entirely sure if this is a compliment or a stab at Winterfylleth when both Fen and Emperor were mentioned in the same line.

      • Grymm

        That’s what the supplied one-sheet that came with the promo for this album said.

      • The Unicorn

        Comparing Hryre to Winterfylleth is like comparing a pile of dog shit to a gleaming jewel.

    • pfk505

      Edgy.. except Winterfylleth is basically this exact band 8-10 years ago right down to the cringey band pics.

      • The Unicorn

        Edgy? This isnt Metalsucks guy. If you want to come here all #triggered and throw barbs for opinions, thats just uncool.

        You dont have to like Winterfylleth any more than I have to like Hryre. But you also dont have to come here acting like an internet tough guy.

        This is a “safe place” for metal opinions. Like I do myself, take the “edgy” stuff to Metalsucks where it belongs.


    • Have to say I’ve never got the hype around Winterfylleth… always struck me as pretty boring. That opinion was only reinforced when I saw them play after Voices.

      Then again, most bands playing after Voices would seem pretty boring :D

      • Grymm

        I was gonna say, Voices are a tough act to follow.

  • Chris

    Thanks for reopening the wound of Agalloch’s demise. Now I’m depressed all over again, ya big jerk.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Is blue the new black?

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    That band picture should be captioned “When basement dwellers try to go outdoorsy”

    • sir_c

      well, at least it wasn’t raining that day in England..

      • Necrocustard

        It probably was and they are in a cave…

  • Sophocles

    Newbanditis …. Me performs proskynesis in awe…

  • Jason

    Should I just listen to Fen and Winterfylleth then?

  • Reese Burns

    I’m a bit obsessed with Black Metal, so I’ll probably end up picking this up. Not expecting it to stay in rotation for too long though.

  • Irineu Carvalho

    No Opeth review?!?!

    • Grymm

      SOON. Sometime.

  • Martin Knap

    Why is Luca Turilli linked bellow the article?