Greetings, internet traveler! My name is Eldritch, and I’ll be your guide on this unexpected detour to Angrymetalguy.com. I’m sure you’re wondering how you ended up at this humble metal blog. You see, the metal community is a distinctly no-filter bunch, which inevitably generates quite the colorful array of band names and album titles. As a direct result, consumers of discerning taste may find themselves unwittingly whisked away via a search engine to our humble blog while in search of “black fucking,” [Oopsy… – Dr. B.F. Grier] “piss vortex,” or, in your case, “hardcore anal.” You are, of course, free to leave the Hall to resume your search for weird butt stuff elsewhere. If experimental music is another one of your impeccable preferences, however, you should know that you couldn’t have dropped in at a better time; HyperCut, the fourth LP of Monaco’s Hardcore Anal Hydrogen, is an absolute blast of a listening experience.
Hardcore Anal Hydrogen’s previous record, The Talas of Satan, also saw this duo tinkering with bizarro experimental metal. Compared to HyperCut, that album might as well be paired with Simon & Garfunkel as ideal easy listening. HyperCut is a veritable fever dream of progressive music, mashing together and straining death metal, jazz, electronic music, and countless other genres through a glitched-out industrial filter. The album feels like it’s going to fly apart at any moment, but that’s not a result of poor construction so much as sheer velocity. Tracks like opener “Jean-Pierre,” which mimics the madness of City-era Strapping Young Lad by way of Igorrr’s lunatic sampling techniques, feel like they should come pre-baked with a seatbelt warning. The cacophony is handily balanced by more reflective moments throughout, such as the gorgeous, Danimal Cannon-esque chiptune outro of the aforementioned track, which makes for a surprisingly dynamic package.
Hardcore Anal Hydrogen‘s willingness to reign itself in is admirable, but that same restraint is also responsible for HyperCut‘s weakest moments. “Phillip” is a huge, classically composed orchestral setpiece that, though beautiful and ambitious, abruptly halts the flow of the record and feels distinctly out of place1. Elsewhere, a pair of back-to-back atmospheric interludes (“Automne 1992,” “Bontenmieu”) leaves the record at a stall. Yet for every moment that falls short of expectations, a dozen more pick up the slack, be it the frantic DragonForce tremolo run that concludes “Murdoc” or the glitchy piano sampling that serves to wind down HAH’s take on 80’s pop/rap replicated on “Alain, L’Homme Télévitré.” Special mention goes to the outro of “Coin Coin,” which is so fucking wacky that I laughed myself to tears the first time I encountered it.
HyperCut is notable for its isolated surprises, but individual tracks display a surprising consistency despite the way they all come together in a patchwork end product. There’s some kind of twisted logic to the hybrid of 50’s doo-wop and orchestral gothic metal showcased on “Paul,” and the same goes for “La Roche et la Rouleau,” which is essentially HAH’s derailed take on Diablo Swing Orchestra. The record’s relatively straightforward cuts excel with a more focused vision; “Sprounch,” a thirty-second blast of Necrophagist inspired technical death metal, is just as effective as any of the longer cuts. On the production end of things, results are mixed with the loudest moments being pretty fucking loud, but the technical wizardry performed in-studio is deceptively nuanced and breathtaking to behold, and the abundance of softer moments helps balance out the volume.
Much like its namesake, Hardcore Anal Hydrogen is a distinctly love-it-or-hate-it sort of experience, and I fell hard on the former side from first listen. Even with its weaker moments resulting in some disappointing pacing issues, HyperCut is still bound to be one of the most memorable records of the year, and I’ll be listening to it for quite some time – both because there’s nothing else quite like it, and because it’s that damn good. Buy it, crank it, and then spring it upon your friends. I can tell you from experience that hardly anything beats exposing a friend to this record for the first time.