Written By: Noctus
If someone told you that their band was basically Xasthur but with no riffs, no vocals, less distortion and no variation in tempo, would you bother to listen? Thank heavens that labels have hyperbole to sell their records because bands like Hypothermia are lost without it. Described as depressive black metal with songwriting flair from post-rock, I cannot name a single merit that this band brings to the table and I don’t think a promo has ever left me more apathetic than this one.
I have little experience with their prior works but if Svartkonst is anything to go by, anyone calling Hypothermia a post-rock band is the kind of person who has never listened to post-rock and think that simply ‘going soft’ qualifies as one. This is depressive black metal at its most stereotypical, if less in-your-face and more mid-paced, with the gain turned down from 11 to 6. This would be fine – that is, if the album wasn’t horrible.
It genuinely sounds like a raw demo you’d pass to your bandmate, definitely not something you’d print to disc and put your name on. Everything about this album, what little there is, does absolutely nothing to inspire any sensation of feeling whatsoever. The dull, barely distorted power chord strumming sounds the same whichever track is playing, and outright refuses to leave that comfort zone. The drumwork sounds languid, with occasional fills that sound like the drummer getting bored with what’s going on rather than any musical construction happening.
Each of the five tracks are based on the same key, each meandering through their motions in the most lethargic way imaginable. Even as background music it’s really, really pushing it as far as lack of content goes. Instead of defined sections you just have incidental shifts, perhaps moments that are a bit louder and the guitar turns up the distortion a bit; but they all seem to be totally for the sake of themselves and refuse to be part of a greater whole. Calling this songwriting is a real push – it’d be more accurate to call it lost recordings from the world’s most boring jam session. You could cut up sections from these tracks, interchange them with others and change nothing at all.
I was rather surprised Hypothermia opted to make this album instrumental, and not in a good way. I doubt that vocal presence would have made the biggest difference in the world considering how poor the songwriting already was, but in its absence it’s nigh impossible to tell these five tracks apart. It’s stripped down and barren to the point of head-scratching. I’m all for minimalism and eschewing over-complication, but if there’s nothing interesting to listen to, what leg does your record have to stand on?
If it wasn’t already plain as a gloomy, tepid day, I’m at a loss for what on earth Hypothermia were going for. It’s an album utterly void of emotion or anything remotely personable. You can argue that this was the point, but if the main focus emotionally is apathy and lethargy, good luck getting me to care. I can’t see this as anything but style-over-substance drivel without any sense of identity or musical worth. Nice logo though, I guess.