Reviewed: December 2020
Released: 2020, self-released
Reviewer: Kieron Hayes
Chicago-based duo Hypervolume are just about to release their debut full-length, Conceive, and it’s an absolutely solid slab of stoner doom swagger.
For their first offering, Hypervolume present us with an album dominated by confident, rumbling bluster and thick, catchy groove. The instrumentation is at the forefront, and leads the listener along with deliciously effective riffs and refrains, while A. Human’s gruff vocal bellows fit in snugly, every bit as forceful and driven as the instrumentation surrounding them. It consistently calls Karma to Burn to mind, with that same heady blend of psychedelic groove alongside energetic gallops. Album opener “Fire” can’t help but harken back to Arch Stanton with its steady, smoky rise giving way suddenly to explosive drive.
While the album is a short piece overall, clocking in under half an hour, it has plenty of other treats buried within. “Wicked” builds up to a particularly fearsome cacophony, with a vibe not dissimilar to some of Bathory’s epic Viking strides. “Tide” shows a somewhat thrashier side to the band, merging with the thick, fuzzy sound to bring King Gizzard’s “Infest the Rats’ Nest” to mind. “Sea” is a viciously angry number about how much we continue to screw up our world: “Fill the fucking world up, with our excess seed, no reason or purpose, we just blindly fucking breed!” “Sun” has some of the most fun and catchy headbanging sections of the entire album, and makes good use of its position as the longest track on the album, using that time to become something all the more effective. The second half DEMANDS to be cranked to full volume.
If there’s any issue with the album, it’s that short length. While the tracks do blur the line a little, some do feel more like interlude/prolonged intros than fully-fledged songs of their own. They’re still enjoyable, but the album is best experienced as one whole package, and it can leave the feeling that there’s room for more.
Conceive is a great first impression, and the only thing holding it back is just that: it feels like an impression, a boisterous but also somewhat tentative first offering, a teaser platter of what these guys can do. If they can expand this into something more fleshed out next time, it could be something fantastic.