Reviewed: April 1, 2022
Released: April 22, 2022, Cruz del Sur Music
Reviewer: The Elitist Metalhead
American metal has come along way in the last decade or so. With the New Wave of Traditionally Heavy Metal taking hold from all parts of the globe and with most of the significant bands being from Europe, it’s really cool when a band from the States releases something that brings a really fresh take on heavy metal. Chicago’s FER DE LANCE does just that. They take traditional metal, add some epic Viking era BATHORY atmospheres and top it off with acoustic and atmospheric parts that remind me of very early OPETH. Their debut full length, The Hyperborean, is quite possibly one of the most unique and fresh albums to be released in a long time.
Ocean sounds, winds, and acoustic guitars begin what is quite an interesting musical journey. I usually skip the intros, especially after hearing it a few times but “Aurora Borealis” I do not skip. After the first listen I knew that to really absorb this album completely one must consume this album in it’s entirety, including the intro. “The Mariner” bursts out immediately after the intro and the riffs and the tempo really have that Viking BATHORY feel. Those acoustic guitars are right in the front of the mix and adds so much atmosphere. Halfway through this epic opener it slows down to more of that early OPETH acoustic guitars then building to add some exceptionally brilliant shredding solos….and the technicality and the tone of that solo takes it to another level. Those acoustic guitars are brought to you by another member of Chi-town metal royalty, former Satan’s Hallow and current Midnight Dice vocalist Mandy Martillo. She also provides some backing vocals as well. The vocals on this album remind me of German power metal with that slight Chris Boltendahlesque grit.
Have I mentioned how epic this album is? Aside from the aforementioned intro, the remainder of the songs on the album are no less than seven minutes in length with the title track and closer slightly surpassing the ten minute mark. It’s how they use that time is what really makes this band stand out. Songs like “Sirens,” where those vocals are actually mesmerizing and fit with the story of how The Sirens were able to manipulate men to their deaths. Or the absolute epic brilliance of “Northern Skies” where those acoustics along with the vocal layers completely elevate this to the next level. But it’s the closer I mentioned earlier that really takes this album to the next level. Those acoustic guitars that drive the early part of the song adds to the anticipation of when they kick it up a notch….and they do. The atmosphere created by this song actually reminds me of German band ATLANTEAN KODEX. There’s even some guttural death metal growls through this song. This song just builds and builds adding more layers then the godly solos just carry you to the shores…where the winds and the ocean sounds fade and the journey ends.
I’ve not stop listening to this album since I got the promo. It’s not every day a band comes along and adds something different that makes them stand out. The sound and execution of this album reminds me of a lot of other albums but sounds nothing like any album I’ve heard. If you want a truly unique metal experience, THE HYPERBOREAN is exactly that. Enjoy!