A little over a year after their awesome debut, Swedish speed/thrash band Hypertension is back with another offering of blistering tunes made of pure evil! Clocking in at under 32 minutes, “Distant Thunders Call” wastes no time in providing devastating riffs. As with the band’s last record, Hypertension’s focus is on mixing the sounds of Venom, Bathory, and Slayer. If you take the simplistic, NWOBHM-esque sounds of the first two aforementioned bands, and combine it with the speed of Slayer, you are left with devastating riffs, vocals dripping with satanic goodness, and ultimately, pure sonic mayhem.
Of particular interest on this record is the way the band manages to add dissonance to their riffs for a more black metal approach. This is something that was hinted at on the first record, but it is more prevalent this time around. In particular, a track like “Ferocious Oppressors Forgotten” is practically an ode to the mid 1990s Swedish black metal scene at times, as it presents bone-chilling riffs so convincingly that you'd think you were listening to Dissection. At other times, the band goes the opposite direction and plays so fast and heavy that they appear to be worshipping death metal. “Creation Dies” is the prime example of this, as it opens with a pounding beat that never lets up (actually, this song also uses those dissonant chords, but the prevailing influence here is more death metal than black).
From a production standpoint, “Distant Thunders Call” has improved over its predecessor. This album sounds best when played loud, but regardless of volume, the guitar tone is built upon a great raw, crunch that makes the simpler riffs sound incredible. At times, it’s a little too frenetic for its own good (see the intro riff on “The Tension Rises”), but overall, it’s definitely a positive. Fortunately the addition of these higher-pitched melodic riffs opens up a lot of room for the bass to breathe, and its playing is incredibly noticeable (and impressive). The drumming is almost overpowered by the guitars on this album, which is something you don’t hear too often, but they are definitely still loud enough and mixed well.
“Distant Thunders Call” is a seriously impressive offering of extreme metal. It can’t quite be categorized into one simple style, especially as the band has evolved since the last record, but anyone who digs anything that is on the intense side of metal will certainly love this album. The songwriting is as good as it has ever been for Hypertension, and the fact that they’re from Sweden should provide enough evidence that they’re going to put forth a solid effort.
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"Venturous We Are"
"Ferocious Oppressors Forgotten"
4.5/5 or 90%.
Written by Scott