Hybrid Sheep – Free From the Clutches of Gods (Tenacity Music)

Thursday, 20th November 2014
Rating: 7.5/10

French modern death metallers Hybrid Sheep seem like they get a fair bit of American metal in their diet. Sure, metal is pretty universal, but if you were to give them a random listen, chances are you’d be more likely to wager that the band is from the States than across the pond in Europe. Probably due to the fact that there’s a bit of ‘core in the mix that tends to pop up a bit more with US bands rather than any other.

Free From the Clutches of Gods actually opens with a metalcore-ish groove more akin to Killswitch Engage than say, The Black Dahlia Murder (albeit a bit heavier than KsE). However, the Black Dahlia Murder references do pop up, often times in the more brutal vocal uses with alternating high/low pitch and melodeath referencing riffs. One of the prime elements that really hits you when listening is the band’s avoidance of some of the usual genre tropes (excessive and pointless breakdowns) and favoring of more classically heavy metal leads and musicianship. Not to say that the breakdowns don’t rear their head, but the band has a bit of control and gives them a more effective and purposeful edge rather than just placing them in the prime “let’s destroy this place” call-out moments. There’s some catchy groove tossed in as well, a prime example being that of the start to “From Stupid to Putrid.”

All in all, Hybrid Sheep debut on the scene with a pretty enjoyable ‘core sound. It’s heavy enough to attract the more death metal inclined fans (not to mention the emphasis on melodies and groove as opposed to nauseating breakdown mania) yet retains enough of the traditional deathcore elements that are what all the kids crave nowadays. An effective blending of both worlds.

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