Hibria – Hibria (Test Your Metal Records)

Tuesday, 28th July 2015
Rating: 8.5/10

When impressing the metal hordes out of the gate on your first couple of records, danger lurks in varying the formula. Brazil’s Hibria became a power/speed metal sensation through their 2004 debut album Defying the Rules – blending together Priest, Maiden, and Riot-like charm through stellar guitar runs and harmonies, fluid bass play, and incredible double bass-oriented drumming beyond the requisite multi-octave vocals. The follow up The Skull Collectors solidified their stance, earning high accolades in Europe and the Far East. Through a genuine desire to not stay encumbered by certain conventional parameters, Hibria have experimented slightly in tones, production techniques, and influences to expand their horizons, sometimes meeting with less than ideal approval for the more modern leaning Blind Ride.

Their fifth studio album is self-titled, and first for recently launched Canadian upstart Test Your Metal Records. Early reports involved news sites and journalists discussing the band’s inclusion of horn sections on a few of these tracks… so the wheels start turning in the brain to think how this will work in the Hibria songwriting scheme. Fear not, as the spots they gain attention provide a jazzy nuance to the particular instrumental section at hand – best heard in 3:06-3:42 of opener “Pain” and the sultry and semi-progressive “Ashamed”. Outside of that, those who desire the whirling double handed bass tapping, shredding/tapping guitar elements, and speedy tempos will find plenty to savor in the triplet heavy “Tightrope”, the groove monster “Ghosts”, and heavy, “Painkiller” oriented closer “Words”.

Possessing one strong vocalist in Iuri Sanson is a feather in Hibria’s cap – but also having a secondary supplement in bassist Benhur Lima opens up numerous possibilities for dynamic texture beyond his background duties. His work during certain verses of “Pain” for instance has that leadership emotional connection quality (sort of in line with what you’ve heard from Glenn Hughes during the David Coverdale/Deep Purple era), and hopefully will be explored even further down the line. Not to mention his stunning bass play, employing lead techniques a la Steve Harris and Billy Sheehan to further exemplify their power/speed superiority (check the opening sequence of “Abyss” for proof).

Overall those looking for lightning fast guitar duals amidst their power/speed metal will find plenty to dig into from Hibria once again. Setting their sights on North America should bring a bigger spotlight on this fine South American outfit, as they offer a beacon to possibly rival Angra’s longevity.

Hibria official website