Hissing – Hypervirulence Architecture

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For its brutal and relentless extremity, Seattle’s black/death metal act Hissing aspires for the ideal modus operandi on their sophomore 'Hypervirulence Architecture' out via Profound Lore Records since July 15th, 2022. Formed in 2014 Hissing saw the rise of its sonic standards on the first full-length album 'Permanent Destitution' which already demonstrated the trio's tight musicianship.

Though there is a thin line between the many cavernous styles of death metal, there is a sense of experimentation coursing through the 7 new songs. Still, much of the songwriting leaves one with nothing but the jarring experience of the riffs. Throughout its duration of 38 minutes the drums fire out constant blasting sections, with vocalist/bassist Zach (Eye of Nix) spitting hissing growls, guitarist Joe streaming loud jarring riffs and the forceful drumming of Sam (Forest of Grey) delivering relentless shifts of blast beats. ‘Cells of Nonbeing’ sends consistent rounds of relentless brutality. However, this time the guitar reflects a profound change resulting in a contrast with the bass guitar. The radical shift in songwriting triggers a powerful emphasis on extreme viciousness, resulting in a precise sonic onslaught. ‘Hostile Absurdity’ holds all the features that make Hissing solidly inharmonious. Likewise, the guitars represent a fundamental change, expanding its faculty to extremity.

Hypervirulence Architecture’ emphasizes the defining quality of the trio: the guitars strike with solid accuracy, and often the drumming pace veers into a slower tempo to give a range for the rhythm guitars to swagger. The guitars combine chugging riffs adding to the chaos of the sonic experimentation on ‘Operant Extinction’. The blasting drums trigger a tremendous scale of disorder, bringing torrential floods of blast beats. These methods, however, have expanded beyond the boundaries of the first studio album.

The main feature of the sophomore shows how the trio managed to push beyond the limits. For example, the instrumental track ‘Hypervirulence’ shows the ability to move to ambient territories. The song combines industrial drum beats and a dark soundscape that somehow befits the cover art. Moving to other songs like ‘Intrusion’ Hissing transcends the hybrid concoction of chaotic death metal. Rhythmic guitar chords explore the most frantic tempo whilst the vocals provide the perfect backing for hysterical drumming. The guitars simultaneously have the ability to eject a cacophony of dissonance with many twists and turns. On the band’s second endeavor the guitars offer a way to tackle each track with a different method. Other elements of grindcore and technical death metal are occasionally injected into a pool of pungent dissonance.

Hissing exposes its sonic idiom by varying the scale of brutality. Tightly constructed, the songwriting feels like a mind fuck of puzzling disorder that triggers speed and dissonance into a consistent song structure. You’d soon begin to experience maniacal hallucinations on tracks like ‘Identical to Hunger’ which unleashes a dynamic performance. The song, however, is extremely aggressive and absurdly muddled up with crude guitar riffs ejecting loud metallic noise. Given the exotic nature of the songwriting, this puts Hissing under the category of bands like Portal and Voivod.

In terms of performance, the trio managed to bring jarring and crude technical elements to the composition, balancing off the blackened ferocity and the experimental guitar segment that seems to be the focal emphasis of the music. Hissing has taken considerable effort with the final track ‘Meltdown’  to convey a diversity that includes cold metallic soundscapes. The drums on this track provide filling. Though ‘Hypervirulence Architecture’ is far from being a definite blackened death metal record, the main issue is that the album doesn’t sound convincing enough. Regardless of the chaotic quality of the songs, the sophomore is likely to attract fans with bolder taste. This is still an extraordinary unique album, full of noisy soundscapes and eccentric oddities, full of frenzied rhythms and abrupt transitions.

Hypervirulence Architecture’ was recorded and mixed by Detto and mastered by Dan Lowndes. The album was illustrated with cover and interior art by Sindre Foss Skancke and additional art by Ethan McCarthy.

REVIEW SCORE

  • Music / Songwriting 7/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 7/10
  • Mix / Production 8/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 6/10
  • Originality 7/10
7

Hissing’s sophomore release certainly goes beyond the spectrum of death/black metal, but unfortunately, it has left me with a lesser impression than what the band presented on their first studio album.

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