Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Hypertension – Primeval Tyrants Prevails

Hypertension is a new three-piece thrash band out of the great land of Sweden. While you could say a certain Swedish band is one of their main inspirations, Hypertension draws from a variety of rough speed/thrash/black metal groups. “Primeval Tyrants Prevails” is mostly a thrash record, but it has something that a lot of thrash metal misses these days: pure evil. The best comparison is Slayer’s “Hell Awaits”. Sure, it’s violent, fast, and aggressive like every other thrash album, but it also conjures an atmosphere that it unparalleled. This is something Hypertension manages to do on their debut, and it is impressive. This sound is created in equal part by the vocals, the production, and the riffs. The singing is wholly derivative of Cronos, and it couldn’t be more fitting. The sound quality is laid back, but it works. This really enforces the punch in the bass drum. The guitars are not particularly sharp or crisp, but they’re authentic sounding. It’s very much a “plug in, crank up the volume, and play” scenario. And the only way this really works is if the band delivers quality riffs. Those simplistic, speed metal riffs that dominated early black metal are endless on this release.

As usual, this sound is best embodied on the opener, “Born of the Realms of Darkness”, which after a short intro, bursts into a frenetic fury of riffs. Even at these ridiculously high tempos, the bass cuts through the mix well, and is quite audible amidst Henrik Låsgårdh’s grunts. As the song slows down, it sounds cavernous, as though there is a huge echo going on. This is a prime example of how the band manages to sound like they are doing Satan’s work themselves. With the bar set high early on the album, Hypertension never relents. You’ll struggle to find anything as memorable or interesting as the opener, but that’s only because that track is so strong. Overall, most songs tend to follow the same formula: combine Venom, Slayer, Bathory, and a bit of Celtic Frost, and you come up with up with this evil conjuration. There are a few ways the band mixes it up though. Some of the riffs on "Across The Holy Graves" definitely have a bit of a NWOBHM, and sound quite a bit more old-school (if that's even possible) than the rest of the record. In addition, the next track, "Everlasting Exile", opens with some dissonant chords that would make second wave black metal fans happy. Regardless of what the band does, however, they manage to do it justice.

Overall, Hypertension has created a thrash record that is completely out of the norm, and they did it by going back to the genre’s roots. It’s hard to imagine any fan of extreme metal not loving this album. It’s amazing that this album has gone largely unnoticed, as it should appeal to metal fans universally.

Be sure to check out and like Hypertension on Facebook!

"Born of the Realms of Darkness"
"Everlasting Exile"
"Empire of Yore"

Final Rating
4.5/5 or 90%. 

Written by Scott