STYLE: PROGRESSIVE METAL
CATALOG#: SC 288-0
FORMAT: CD DIGI
THE LONELY MOUNTAIN
THE DEVIL RIDING THE EVIL STEED
SCAVENGER AND THIEF
Hyaena might not be a, ahem, roaring success, but does prove much better than expected. Cheezy synths and hackish melodeath have been stripped from the mix in favor of bubbly bass and heavy riffs that borrow heavily from ’90s prog-death, whether that be Atheist, Cynic, or Death. Introducing “The Lonely Mountain” is a riff straight from Individual Thought Patterns followed up by a groove that screams Unquestionable Presence, and the album only gets more referential from there. “Pachycrocuta” (add 1/2 point for reference of extinct taxa) sees the band sinking further down into the pits of anachronistic brutality, but “Bouki” livens up the album with an almost Dream Theater-ish synth line and the album’s strongest melody. Tommy Talamanca really gives the song his all, sounding like a late-era Schuldiner trying to pass a hyrax, and I mean that in the best possible way. His voice is unmistakably grating and full of energy, cutting through the riffage with the ease of a hippo tusk fenestrating some tourist’s chest cavity.
Though the first half of Hyaena makes for a strong comeback, the later songs keep the momentum and carry the album through what I really expected to be a precipitous decline in quality. “Eternal Enemies” and “African Devourers” are energetic and fun and serve to cover up the boring “Scratching Rocks.” However, the back half’s real gem is “Genital Mask,” which I say partially because of its engaging percussion, and partially because you get to hear Trevor Nadir scream “GEN-I-TAAAAAAAAL” a pleasing number of times.