Hyperia – Silhouettes of Horror Review

It’s been a long time since I reviewed a thrash metal album. When I stumbled upon Hyperia’s Silhouettes of Horror in the promo dump, though, I knew I had to have it. First of all, the Canadian quartet touted themselves as “melodic thrash,” then they followed up with an elaboration including attractive attributes like “insanity” and “drinking.” Plus, the album artwork boasts that classic stylized look that graced many a thrash slip cover over the years. It seemed to me that Hyperia had all of their ducks in a row for their second record, and I was eager to pass judgment upon it accordingly.

First off, Hyperia nearly hit the bullseye when describing their sound as melodic thrash metal for fans of Havok and Unleash the Archers. If it were me penning the promo materials, I’d likely carry over the Havok mention and replace Unleash the Archers with MetallicaDark Angel, and King Diamond.1 At their heaviest, Hyperia will Kill ’em All as Darkness Descends upon the insane asylum from which this album undoubtedly originated. At their most expressive, they mimic Havok’s penchant for punchy hooks and ripping leads while imbuing everything with King Diamond-esque psychological horror/thriller concepts. David Kupisz lays down hooky riff after hooky riff while lead guitarist Colin Ryley dive bombs the sanitorium and shreds the skin off of every quack in the place. Scott DeGruyter provides ample low-end support to maintain Silhouettes of Horror’s enraged momentum, and session drummer Gord Alexander pummels the foundation of sanity with tight patterns and devastating fills. Screeching and soaring above wails banshee Marlee Ryley, whose blackened shrieks and high-pitched barks bring evil theatrics front and center from front to back.

It’s a vile concoction, but it bloody works. From the outset, introductory trio “Hypnagogia,” “Intoxication Therapy,” and “Experiment 77” righteously capture and highlight Hyperia’s raison d’être: to regale us in tales of mental degradation, escapism by way of fermented imbibements, and inhumane clinical experiments. These three cuts slice and dice in quick, surgical slashes that will leave most listeners bleeding heavily and begging for more mauling. Thankfully, Hyperia had only onslaught in mind, as closing trio “Silhouettes of Horror,” “Operation Midnight” and “Pleonexia” close out the main story with a tempest of scalpels and scotch, infusing every moment of their horror-oriented exhibits with relentless fun and unhinged performances across the board. Even the cover of ABBA’s “Gimme Gimme Gimme” that the band pinned to the tail of the record wins, thanks to faithful reproduction of that song’s big hook and an enthusiastic vocal delivery.

While there is no denying that Silhouettes of Horror is fast, fanciful, and infectious, I find myself underwhelmed by the album center’s lack of memorability and substance. Hyperia approach all of their songs in a similar fashion to Zornheym and King Diamond, where musical drama and conceptual storytelling share the spotlight in equal measure. What’s missing, however, is that unique intangible element that deeply ingrains the best records in my brain. Those aforementioned triple-threats bookending Silhouettes of Horror possess something that is easy and rewarding to recall. For example, “Experiment 77” tells the most interesting story—recalling the American government’s infamous LSD experiments—and features one helluva bass solo to boot. Unfortunately, outside of the highlights, the fun times fade unceremoniously into the void immediately after the album wraps up. While not a fatal blow to my enjoyment of Silhouettes of Horror, being unable to find something substantial to hold on to from over a third of the record’s runtime leaves a bitter aftertaste.

All in all, Silhouettes of Horror gave me what I want for from a modern melodic thrash album. It’s fun, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it’s got cool stories to tell. Hyperia need to find more of that special sauce that elevates their best songs if they want to take their act to the next level, but fans of the genre still get their money’s worth here. I’ll be keeping an eye on these Canadians regardless. I have faith that they will unleash the beast in due time.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-Released
Website: facebook.com/Hyperiabandofficial | hyperiametal.bandcamp.com
Releases Worldwide: March 18th, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. Dark Angel were never melodic! – Steel
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