HyperioN – Into the Maelstrom (Fighter Records)

Sunday, 26th April 2020
Rating: 9/10

Previously impressing this scribe through their debut record Dangerous Days, HyperioN return with a follow-up effort for Into the Maelstrom that aims to the quintet’s impeccable blend of heavy metal and bursts of power/speed. Career-wise, once the foundation is set as far as songwriting and talent – it becomes more about adding those extra touches while executing to the highest degree possible. For HyperioN, it’s evident right away on initial listen to these nine tracks that those who love the more melodic side of the genre with high octane performances on all fronts will find themselves headbanging, screaming, singing along to key moments, and championing this product to all the people that they can.

Let’s start through the professional and robust vocal range for Michelangelo Carano – because his acrobatics near the top of the falsetto stratosphere as well as his harmonization during key verse/ chorus moments will wow even non-believers. Think of the greats – including Tony Moore and Graham Bonnet – when checking into the mid-tempo anthem “Ninja Will Strike” as well as “Fall After Fall” (the latter featuring some interesting drum shifts from Marco Beghelli that settle into an interesting progressive meets four on the floor groove shuffle). The main riffing and lead breaks float between solid Judas Priest/Iron Maiden mechanics and advanced bluesy meets arpeggio/shred movements – where artists like Riot, Accept, and even early Metallica come into the picture for “The Maze of Polybius” and up-tempo charging closer “Bridge of Death”. Stunted clean guitar/bass work puts “Driller Killer” into rarefied air, the electric charge that bursts forth perfect for those high-speed highway days where you want the top down and the wind whipping through your hair. Although most of the material is in a tight three-five minute window, the nine-minute epic “The Ride of Heroes” allows HyperioN to stretch their musical wings, including exemplary bass play from Antonio Scalia and a boatload of cultural/Celtic textures that probably will bring out the Thin Lizzy/Iron Maiden maneuvers in us all.

Considering the love of those classic artists even today, it’s great that Into the Maelstrom chooses to pay homage to that style while also keeping the tones and production values a little more current. These gentlemen have all the tools to go places – solid songwriting, impressive musical chemistry, a killer vocalist – that it’s well worth keeping a keen eye on their moves.

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