Hinayana – Shatter and Fall (Napalm)

Wednesday, 8th November 2023
Rating: 8.5/10

Hinayana’s last bit of output was a short EP to showcase themselves after being signed to Napalm Records in the form of Death of the Cosmic. Given that their only full-length was from back in 2018 (Order Divine), it goes without say that it’s been a while though one has to take into account the COVID pandemic in there along the way. So how are things in the Hinayana camp here in 2023? Well, the short but sweet answer is that they continue to hoist the melancholic melodeath flag with plenty of pride and honor with Shatter and Fall.

Those who have checked out the band in recent years should more or less know what to expect. Hinayana play melodic death metal more in the ways of say, Insomnium than In Flames, and you can expect plenty of mid-tempo yearning wrapped around an epic crunch. What Hinayana have, and continue, to do best is merge the urgency of melodic death metal while keeping the gloominess of a doom band intact. There’s a strong, potent emphasis on melodies in each of the songs, which swing between more triumphant fist-raisers (“Lost to Flame”) to bouts of pensive beauty (“Slowly Light Collides”), while occasionally going further extremes into each direction. “Spirit and Matter” fires up the blast-beat wagon and it fits the band’s sound quite well in adding some extra intensity into the mix to go with some throttling riffs. On the other end, you have the poignant “A Tide Unturning,” which is as melodic as the album comes, with some cleaner sections and an overall reflective tone to it – the song also features Tuomas Saukkonen of Wolfheart – to add to that sense of gloom and downtrodden feeling. Interestingly, the band chose to remake the song “Taken” from their Endless demo from almost a decade ago, entirely proving how they’ve always had that sense of grandeur and desolation in them, and wrapping up the album with a strong sense of introspective, gloomy vibes that encompass everything that the band is about.

Shatter and Fall acts as another step forward for Hinayana. If you seek melodic death metal that spends more time in depressive misery than joy, but still packs a pretty mighty whallop, there’s plenty to dig into here. The melodies are majestic yet sorrowful, the riffs thunder along when needed, and the duality of triumph and introspection is a successful one. Don’t sleep on a US act that can carry just as much emotional weight and melodic wonder as their European counterparts.

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