Hypno5e formed back in 2003 in their native France and released a demo and an EP prior to this, their full-length debut. The album first appeared back in 2007, but it is only now that I have gotten my hands on it.
It's not like I was out scouring stores for it, I just hadn't heard of them to know to look for them. Now that I have it in my hands, I have to wonder why I had not stumbled upon them earlier. Simply put, this is a phenomenal release that is heavy as all get out and quite the challenging listen.
I was not sure what to expect at first. I must admit I am not exactly a fan of the band name, how exactly do you say it? Is the 5 pronounced? Fortunately, band names do not matter nearly as much as the quality of the music. Was the music going to be any good? What would they sound like? Would there be any flavoring of fellow Frenchmen, and great act, Gojira be found within? I sort of hoped their would be, but not too much, I mean who needs a Gojira clone. It took a couple of minutes, but once it hit, I knew I had a winner on my hands.
The opening track, "Maintained Relevance of Destruction Pt. 1," began. The opening notes were soft, almost like a lullabye, with some spoken word over it. Before long it broke into a post-hardcore riff before going back into a little acoustic guitar. Then the song truly kicked into gear and it was heavy, it was different, and I wanted more. The song runs more than seven minutes and is paired by an equally distinctive part 2 that runs another four and a half minutes. Yes, indeed. This is something that is going to require a few run throughs.
Can someone tell me what it is about the French? For all of the jokes that are out there about them and their stereotypical dislike of Americans (neither of which I buy into), and history of artistically driven film (to the point of having their own wave) they certainly know how to make some great music and horror films. Surprisingly edgy and hardcore for a culture known for wine and cheese. Again, I do not wish to make any generalizations, but it is interesting to see these edgier releases develop. Take a look at films like Frontiers, Martyrs, and Inside, there are some hardcore films! Then take a look at metal acts like the previously mentioned Gojira along it Eryn Non Dae, and Hacride. Now you can add Hypno5e to the list.
Des Deux L'une Est L'autre is dark, heavy, brutal, and very challenging. You have to pay attention if you don't want to be left behind. Hypno5e employ odd time signatures, syncopated riffing, and bipolar mood swings as they combine death metal, electronica, progressive, hardcore, and ambient styles into one cohesive unit. I know, it sounds impossible, but give them a listen and be surprised by how well their wide ranging experimentation comes together.
What else can be said? This album came as a complete surprise. It is the creation of an artistic collective that does not care about what the audience wants. They have crafted music that challenges their own creativity, defying them to make it work. What could have been one big mess instead formed something that is greater than the sum of its parts. That is something when the parts are pretty impressive on their own. Guitars crush, wail, soar, and stop on a moments notice while drums bash away in odd rhythms leading the bizarre time changes, bass chugs along adding a formidable low end, all while vocals scream and wail with moments of quiet spoken word. Wow.
Bottomline. This is a definite keeper. If you like metal to take chances, get away from the norm, and transcend the genre, Hypno5e is a band to pay attention to. I am just sorry it took me so long to catch up. Hopefully the word will get out as this is a band with big things ahead of it.
Video: "Daybreak at Slaughter-House"