Hideous Divinity – Simulacrum (Century Media)

Sunday, 17th November 2019
Rating: 9/10

Growing in name as one of Italy’s finest when it comes to extreme metal, Hideous Divinity have been consistently upping their game with each release. Their last album, Adveniens, saw them make good on a hybrid between the brutal and technical side of the spectrum and turn it into something that was hard to look away from. With the band more or less hitting the glass ceiling with their approach last time, Simulacrum sees them enhancing the formula with more depth than you might expect and again raise the potency of the material.

Simulacrum delivers an exciting and initial adrenaline rush that you’d expect from this type of material (and the band’s previous offerings themselves), but there’s more to it than that if you give it the due time in the speakers. There’s some genuine nuance (perhaps an odd thing to say for a band so brutal, but it works) in each of the tracks. Some things may not stand out on the first, or even fifth listen, but your ear will reach out for different things each time around. Whether it’s the rolling basswork that sits playfully in the mix in “The Deaden Room” or a sneaky little melody that weaves its way into the background of “Anamorphia Atto III” – there’s some treasures to be discovered. Along the way of course, the band has not lost a step in their ability to kick out some well-placed grooves, monster riffs that hook you in with both their destructive nature and immense presence, and frenzied speed.

It’s all about the dynamics and tempo change with an album like Simulacrum. Without it, the album would be a blur of different ideas, but given Hideous Divinity’s nature for writing this sort of material, it’s a masterstroke that will bring you back for many listens. There’s just enough fore-front brutality leveraged to get you through the gates, then the band’s impressive writing makes sure you are enticed to listen to the many layers beneath the surface that they deliver on.

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