Hypno5e
Sheol


3.8
excellent

Review

by Trey STAFF
February 21st, 2023 | 64 replies


Release Date: 02/24/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Welcome to Sheol. The cost of entry is steep, but it is worth the price.

French avant-garde metal band Hypno5e has always required a bit of effort to fully appreciate. Their blend of djent, prog, post metal, ambience, and Floyd-ish mellow sections has never been conducive to an easy listening experience; and the required effort has only increased with time. With each release they’ve slowly phased out traditional metal elements in the pursuit of a more abstract and artistic direction. The structures became more meandering, the melodies less melodic, the refrains fewer, and the riffs more atonal. This formula peaked with the release of Shores of the Abstract Line. It was this album that blended the traditional and artistic in the most equal of measures. A Distant (Dark) Source essentially remained within the same musical realm, but it focused less on memorability and even more on sprawling soundscapes. With the two previous albums treading the same musical waters, the question is whether Hypno5e would be content to stick with the same (winning) formula for a third time or if they would feel the itch of progression once more.

After nearly two months with Sheol, it is clear Hypno5e felt the itch of progression while being cognizant enough to retain the basic foundation established on Shores of the Abstract Line. What this means is despite Sheol being the most experimental and abstract of the band’s career, it still shares more than a passing semblance to the previous few albums. Sheol is an album where the crushing djent of songs such as “Sheol – Part II – Lands of Haze” can be jarringly interrupted by poets reading excerpts of their work over soothing clean guitar melodies and strings played by a trio of guest musicians. It’s an album where songs such as “Lava from the Sky” can introduce a sense of unease and tension from the most unlikely of places; in this case with its use of ritardando and accelerando from both the rim-clicking of the drums and an atonal guitar riff before exploding into a dissonant, rhythmic, crescendo. An album where vocalist Emmanuel Jessua utilizes harmonized clean singing and a raspy shout in French, English, and occasionally even Castilian Spanish. Essentially, the foundation of ambient layers, warm acoustic interludes, angular modern riffs, and progressive post metal is still intact, but these elements are rarely delivered in any kind of linear or predictable way… and that can be both a positive and negative throughout the album.

If there is a problem with Sheol it is one of potential. This far into Hypno5e’s career, it feels as though each progression comes with some regression, as well. From a personal perspective, it feels as though they should still be utilizing some of the lost elements that made previous albums (relatively) more digestible and memorable. Previously, there was often a recurring motif or strong melodic section that augmented the band’s experimental tendencies. At the very least, each track felt like a cohesive trip; there was (almost) always a clear progression from the lulling ambience to the crushing crescendos – or at least a sense of forward movement. Sheol lacks any of this in any meaningful amount. Perhaps even more exasperating, despite an increased use of vocal harmonies on Sheol, it still feels like the band spend very little time crafting the mellower sections. Alba – Les Hombres Errantes was entirely acoustic with clean singing throughout. It proved the band were capable of doing more with the quiet side of their sound than they had been doing up to that point. Unfortunately, none of that softer-side creativity made it into A Distant (Dark) Source, and it doesn’t make it into Sheol either.

Outside looking in, Sheol is absolutely Hypno5e’s most experimental and abstract release, but with that comes a steep price of admission. It shouldn’t be a surprise if the first handful of listens all end the same way; with no solid recollection of what Sheol was about, but with a lingering certainty that it was compelling and worth another listen. With repetition, Sheol will slowly morph into the endearing album early listens foreshadowed. If there is anything negative worth highlighting, it’s that sometimes it’s tough to keep up with Hypno5e’s forward momentum when they are perfectly content to drop elements that worked in the past while, at the same time, devoting very little time to progressing the softer side of their sound. Despite these minor complaints, Sheol is clearly another confident step forward for Hypno5e’s sound (even if it comes at the expense of their past) that keeps their long-running formula intact while moving in an ever more abstract direction.




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user ratings (73)
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
February 21st 2023


19676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

Lava From the Sky is easily one of my favorite Hypno5e tracks. Bandcamp stream above and Youtube link below.



Lava From the Sky: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiOSJdQ-0ws



Sheol Part II - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV7pk2Rn0Fs



Edit:

The album is currently "Name Your Price" on their Bandcamp page. Of course, it would be good to pay what you can and not just take it...



https://hypno5e.bandcamp.com/album/sheol

artiswar
February 21st 2023


11210 Comments


Can't wait to listen to this, such a great band.

LunaticSoul
February 21st 2023


2305 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I used to love these guys, then something happened (probably my desire to give this music enough space to flourish) and stopped enjoying their last outputs. Their side-proj A Backward Glance to a Travel Road is still one of my fav discs.



Saw this band once in 2008 or 9, playing inside the school hall of a small town close to my home, we must have been 10 people all in all lol.

Willie
Moderator
February 21st 2023


19676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

If you have a free second, check out that song "Lava From the Sky" and see if it reignites anything. I haven't heard this side project you're referring to. Is that the band name or the album name?



I've never seen them live in person, but I saw their A Distant (Dark) Source live stream of that entire album and it was really good.

cloakanddagger
February 21st 2023


594 Comments


This is probably the first Hypno5e album since Shores of the Abstract Line that I'm really excited for. Lava From the Sky was a really fun listen so I'm hoping the rest of the album is a similar quality.

I'm also hoping it'll be the first 2023 release I really get into as so far it's mostly been a pretty disappointing start to the year.

Willie
Moderator
February 21st 2023


19676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

I'd say the rest of the album is of similar quality, but "Lava From the Sky" is easily my favorite on the album. An album of "Lava From the Sky" quality would be an easy five from me.

LunaticSoul
February 21st 2023


2305 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Is that the band name or the album name?"



Both! :D https://abackwardglance.bandcamp.com/album/a-backward-glance-on-a-travel-road



The album costs a fortune though. 1 EURO. Imagine the dissonance and ambient aspects of Hypno5e brought into an acoustic-only mindset. Imho it´s one of their best creative outputs ever.



Just checked wiki, and it is essentially a Hypno5e disc, with the line-up of their first two discs.



Anyway, Lava from the Sky I actually heard it a couple days ago when the single popped in my YT feed, it´s a jam. Very old school Gojira-esque, which considering Gojira is not really going for that sound anymore, it´s a plus in my book.

LunaticSoul
February 21st 2023


2305 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Anyway, I really missed music like this! There´s not many bands anymore going for this sound imho. Sheol is a very good listen, curious to hear the full disc when it pops on Bandcamp.

WalrusTusk
February 21st 2023


1587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So hyped for this album. One of the most underrated metal bands today imo. How the hell did you get it two months ago?!

Willie
Moderator
February 21st 2023


19676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

@LunaticSoul: Thanks for the link. I'll have to check it out soon. Is it similar to their actual all-acoustic Hypno5e release?



@WalrusTusk: Agreed. I got the promo a while ago. I'm glad because it was definitely a grower. I came away with very little the first few listens.

WalrusTusk
February 21st 2023


1587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've enjoyed Sheol 1 and 2 but haven't hit the other singles yet. I completely agree that Hypno5e biggest struggle, in general, is developing motifs across their larger compositions. Will probably have to do a discography dive after the new album comes out in order to form a ranking. The only one I haven't listened to is Des Deux

Willie
Moderator
February 21st 2023


19676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

My personal is: Shores of the Abstract Line > Sheol > A Distant (Dark) Source > Acid Mist Tomorrow > Alba - Les Hombres Errantes > Des Deux l'une Est l'autre

MarsKid
Staff Reviewer
February 21st 2023


18344 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Gonna check these guys out a second time before this, only ever heard Acid Mist Tomorrow.

WalrusTusk
February 21st 2023


1587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Shit, I think Alba is my second or first place choice. Love that album to bits.

Willie
Moderator
February 22nd 2023


19676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

I think Alba easily features some of their best mellow stuff, but it's too two-dimensional to beat out the more fleshed out releases. I do wish they would do more Alba stuff on metal releases. Like the review kind of mentions, they don't really seem to put as much effort into the quieter side when Alba proves they could clearly do more.



@MarsKid: Couldn't hurt to get reacquainted before diving into the new one.

LunaticSoul
February 22nd 2023


2305 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Des Deux is their harshiest, top slammer.



Acid Mist is my favorite.



I think "Lava from The Sky" is cool because it follows a more common song structure with choruses etc. I can't recall right now the name of that song on Acid Mist that has the chorus in Spanish "Boliviaaaa yo quieto más aire..." that is my fav Hypno5e.

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2023


18175 Comments


I'll be checking this today

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
February 22nd 2023


18175 Comments


It's one of those albums that takes its time to sink in, but the first impression was good. The Dreamer and his Dream was the one that caught my attention the most on first listen.

Willie
Moderator
February 22nd 2023


19676 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8 | Sound Off

That's pretty much my experience too. Impressions are always good, but it definitely takes a while to actually sink in.



It's streaming now for those without promos.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xufwscJM_8k

LunaticSoul
February 23rd 2023


2305 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Willie damn you beat me to it, was about to post it. will jam while working.



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