Courtesy: Seek & Strike Records
Hard rock band Hyvmine has made quite the impact on the music community since it released its debut album Earthquake in 2017. In the short time since its release, the band – Al Joseph (guitar, vocals), Bill Gerrity (drums), Alon Mei-Tal (guitar) and Chris Joseph (bass) – has continued to carve out its own place within the music community (and more specifically the hard rock community). The band’s upcoming third full-length studio recording Retaliation serves to continue that impact through its heavy riffs and thought-provoking lyrical themes. This is proven in part early on in the form of ‘Life in Fire.’ This addition to the album will be addressed shortly. ‘Imitator,’ shows in its own way why Retaliation maintains Hyvmine’s success, and will be discussed a little later. ‘Assassins’ is one more example of how Retaliation continues to show the collective talents of Hyvmine’s members. When they are considered along with the remainder of the album’s entries, the end result is a record that proves in whole once again, that Hyvmine is one of the leading names in the next generation of hard rock.
Hard rock outfit Hyvmine is without question one of the leading names in the next generation of hard rock. The band has already proven that over the course of its past two albums. Its recently released third album Retaliation supports that statement even more, with its heavy musical arrangements and its equally powerful lyrical themes. ‘Life in Fire,’ which comes early in the album’s 40-minute run is just one of the songs that serves to support the noted statements. The song’s musical arrangement almost instantly lends itself to comparisons to the best works of Sevendust. That is due to its heavy, crunching guitars and equally strong sounds from the drums, and front man Al Joseph’s vocal delivery. Chris Joseph’s work on bass joins with the other noted elements to make a whole that is easily one of this record’s most notable arrangements. The song’s musical arrangement is only one part of what makes it notable. The song’s lyrical content adds its own share of interest to the song’s whole.
Al Joseph sings in the song’s lead verse, “You said something to me about live and learning/Oh, but you chose to take the back way while I was burning/Hey, don’t you see/How I’ve listened to your every word/Oh, and the fire that once consumed me/Has made its turn for the last time now.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “I buried my pain beneath distant nightmares/It ain’t about where I’ve been/But how I got there/Oh, don’t you see how I’ve been been forged in your every wake/Oh, endlessly I’m cleaning up for your past mistakes/For the last time now.” He is joined by his band mates in the song’s chorus, in which the group collectively sings, “A day in the life/You would be looking for nothing/A life in the fire won’t be taken away from me/It’s time to face that fire.” This collection of lyrics seems (this is only this critic’s own take) to hint at perhaps a story of someone recounting the trials and tribulations that he has faced through his life and realizing that despite the negativity that he has endured, he would not change it. This is inferred as Joseph notes, “A day in the life/You would be looking for nothing/A life in the fire won’t be taken away from me.” It almost seems like metaphorical language for the old adage that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, and what this song’s subject has gone through has made him that much stronger. That is inferred even more as Al screams right after the song’s break, “Why don’t you know/It’s taken away, but I need to work harder/I’m facing defeat, but I need to work smarter.” Considering all of this, the song can lyrically be inferred to be a work that encourages people to not give up, even in life’s most difficult times. Rather, people should use their negative experiences to become better, overcome and persevere. When this is considered along with the song’s musical fire (no pun intended), the whole of the song’s musical and lyrical content makes the song in whole a powerful statement from Hyvmine in its latest recording. It is just one of the album’s most notable entries, too. ‘Imitator,’ the album’s latest single, is another of its most notable additions.
‘Imitator’ stands out in part because of its musical arrangement in that this arrangement boasts more of that previously noted Sevendust influence, but also boasts something else. One could argue that there’s a bit of a Breaking Benjamin influence evidenced in this song’s arrangement as well as maybe even a light Alice in Chains influence in the stylistic approach to the vocals at times. At the same time, there is a moment in the song’s bridge that conjures thoughts of Dry Kill Logic. Yes, it seems like quite the amalgam of influences, but that complexity somehow works here and, in the end, makes this arrangement one more of the album’s most notable compositions. The song’s composition is, of course only one portion of what makes it stand out. The song’s lyrical content will appeal to a wide range of listeners, too.
The lyrical content presented in ‘Imitator’ will appeal to a wide range of listeners as it seems to center on the issue of a broken relationship, but in this case perhaps not a romantic, but personal relationship. This is inferred as Joseph sings in the song’s lead verse, “Fear setting in beneath my skin beneath my skin/This twisted feeling/Caught up in the act again/Betrayed by my blood/My closest friend.” As he continues in the song’s second song, the song’s subject seems to come to terms with the situation, but will not let the situation hold him down. That is inferred as he sings, “This chapter ends/Closure begins/I’m taking over/Caught up in the act again/betrayed as another means to an end.” That sense of determination as the song’s subject sings in the song’s chorus, “What is love without meaning/What is peace without feeling/I’m just getting this feeling you’re imitating/What is life without devotion/What is heart without motion/All these games that you play/I just can’t get it right.” He continues in the song’s bridge, “Walls are closing down (this is the final act)/Crashing to the ground/How will you live knowing I’m not around/I’m taking control, now where will you go/It’s too late/Now your apologies can hit the f****** wall/Hit the road.” Simply put, this is someone who has had a lot of wrong done to him, but is through letting it happen. The song’s musical arrangement, set alongside this seeming concept, makes the song in whole a deeply emotional work that is certain to connect with a wide range of listeners. That very real impact shows just as much as ‘Life in Fire’ why Retaliation is another strong offering from Hyvmine. It is definitely not the last of the album’s most notable songs. The album’s closer, ‘Assassins,’ which is also the album’s latest single, is yet another example of what makes the album stand out so positively.
‘Assassins’ stands out in part – just as the previously discussed songs – because of its musical arrangement. Once again here, the Sevendust influence is clear and present. At the same time, there’s a certain agro-rock feel that lends itself to comparisons to works from Staind and other similar acts while also featuring a bridge that resurrects the band’s familiar progressive metal roots. One might not think that such a combination of genres would work together, but once again, the band managed here to make it work. When it is coupled with the song’s lyrical content, the song in whole proves even more appealing.
The lyrical content exhibited in ‘Assassins’ is certain to generate just as much discussion among listeners as the song’s musical arrangement, if not more so. That is because of its deeply metaphorical nature. Joseph sings in the song’s lead verse, “Welcome to the sanctuary/Come honor all that fell before/We’ve sharpened the blades we carry/We’re washed up on these bloody shores/Hold steady in place/the order that I give/We’re ready/We’re taking back the way we live.” He continues in the song’s second verse, “Welcome to the mortuary/You’ve never seen this place before/legend as they speak/Be wary/Will shake you right down to the core.” Joseph’s band mates join him in the song’s chorus, singing, “I’ve never wanted the blood you shed/I only wanted to chase the dead/I’m cutting you down for my sake/I’m spilling the blood as you wake/Forget all the prayers that you make/I’m sure you’ve heard I’m your assassin.” Again, this is some very deep metaphorical language that even this critic cannot immediately decipher. Keeping that depth in mind, it in itself is certain to generate plenty of discussion among listeners. When the discussions generated by the song’s lyrical content is coupled with the enjoyment and discussion that the song’s musical arrangement will generate, the whole of the song proves even more clearly why it is one more of Retaliation’s most important songs. When it is considered along with the other songs addressed here and the rest of the album’s works, the whole of Retaliation proves to be a strong new musical strike from Hyvmine.
Hyvmine’s third full-length studio recording Retaliation is another strong offering from the up-and-coming hard/progressive rock band. It is a work that shows this band is definitely one of the next big names of the next generation of rock in general. That is evidenced through 11 songs that show a definitive stylistic change of pace for the band. The three songs discussed here are just a small example of that change. The lyrical content featured throughout the album is just as certain to generate some interest among listeners. The album in whole proves to be a step in a strong, positive direction for the band that is a strong new musical strike from Hyvmine. The album is available now. More information on Retaliation is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:
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