We’ve tried to teach our kids, that instead of saying that they “don’t like something,” to instead say, “it’s not my favorite.” It sounds so much better, and a lot less winey. That said, synthesizers aren’t my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the synths, but with the exception of Children of Bodom and a handful of other bands, I’ve just never been passionate about an overabundance of the keys my metal. The other day though, I listened to an album called Hyperborea by Ancestor’s Blood. After a few days passed, I realized parts of the album were still audibly embedded within my mind. Which parts you ask? The synthesizers, naturally. They were literally stuck in my head. It was like the plot of some psychologically horrific sci-fi flick, acting as the soundtrack to my thoughts, while simultaneously hypnotizing me. At some point would my head explode? Possibly.
Hyperborea, the third album from the Finnish quartet, is a darkly melodic voyage, lush with atmosphere. It’s an album, at times is lead by synthesizers, that’s only describable as…epic. It progresses in a narrative fashion, opening with ambiance and slowly ascending…closing identically but opposite in direction. The title track provides that same ambience around the middle. The ambiance feels a little “health spa” at times, not that being massaged to this album would necessarily be a bad thing, but the rest of the album is a brutal antithesis. It’s filled with constant rhythms blended with building, hauntingly melodic synths that take on an almost sonic appearance, then contrasted with the harsh, scraping vocals. While I’m reminded of Enslaved at times as I listen, Hyperborea is a distinctly, intriguing exploration of metal virtue, synthesizers included.