Imagine a world where your vote doesn’t count, rock concerts and dancing are forbidden, and cultural expression is repressed. Imagine if your president banned all Western music from state-run airwaves and where playing rock music could lead to fines, imprisonment, or even public flogging. This is the reality facing young people in Iran and the setting from which one of the strongest rock bands in years has emerged. Unlike the star that they are named after, Hypernova is in no danger of collapsing anytime soon.
Hypernova is a four-piece band originally hailing from Tehran, Iran made up of vocalist Raam, Kodi on guitar, Kami on drums, and Jam on bass. The band were regulars in the underground music scene in Iran and played numerous secret gigs before making an exodus to the United States. Now based in New York, their explosive gigs have been gaining attention and their debut album Through The Chaos has been released this week.
It is difficult to pin down Hypernova’s sound as it moves through a variety of styles and deals with themes ranging from the repression in Iran to songs about love. Hypernova describe their sound as "a futuristic version of Joy Division meets the Chameleons with a little bit of Che Guevara". At times, there is a definite old school gothic sound to some of their music, reminding me of Paradise Lost and The Sisters of Mercy and in fact, Hypernova opened for the latter on their tour of the US in 2008. Other songs have a more indie rock feel to them and Raam’s distinctive voice puts me in mind of Interpol and Editors.
Whatever their influences and however you define their sound, Hypernova are a solid rock band with an energetic and distinctive sound. The band members are acutely aware of how much they have sacrificed to be where they are but the album is not all about politics and social commentary as Raam explains: “There are a number of things that we touch upon in this album, whether it be social and political themes or just songs about love. Mostly the songs are about our own lives and all the stuff we've been through to make it here to the States. It all started from a dream we had back in the underground to one day come and play just one show in New York. We faced so many difficulties to get here but never gave up and always stood strong in the face of adversity.”