This curiously named band from France has been around for nearly a decade releasing a decent debut in 2014 that had a modern death metal style coupled to metalcore very slightly due to the riffing style and vocals. The band’s sophomore continues that theme of blending modern melodic death metal with a metalcore tinge which is only very slight compared to the debut. I really like the album art and the bands logo for this release which begins in earnest with “Warface”, using a gradual fade in that escalates to a half blast. Comparatively this album is denser to the debut, possessing a gnarly guitar sound with multiple vocal styles working with and against each other throughout the album. As the track develops you can hear the tenets of metalcore and even a touch of deathcore with the denser elements.
Without it sounding critical the riffing on the album is very syrupy to the ear, similar to the likes of Mors Principium Est being accomplished and extremely catchy as “Towards Ruin And Oblivion” continues the album and initially the metalcore twiddle is plainly evident before the half blast which works well, a facet that is utilised regularly in the songs. There is cohesion within the album enabling each song to flow smoothly without jarring the listener with too many breakdown riffs which are here but not used as a focus as the bands musicianship is first-rate. “The World Eater” has a gritty guitar sound in places making the song heavier, denser and more intense as the tune dips into a slower riffing style momentarily before a fine lead break.
Contrasting with the earlier part of the album is “The Last Breath of Dying Earth” which has a calmer more gentile riff possessing an aura of melancholy, developing the track slowly and methodically to its finale of lead that smoothly flows into “Premature Burial”. The speed is notched up but still allows the guitarists to show their flair for a good hook and solo, as the rhythm section bolsters the song with dextrous drumming and bass playing. The short breakdown riff quickly fades to reveal a high velocity lead break as I was reminded of recent Destrage material. The title track is possibly the heaviest and fastest song with venomous vocals as a droning riff can be heard in the background which I really liked as it creates an ominous tone to the track. Solemnity beckons on the opening riff to “Harvest Of Humans” which fades in steadily to unveil a consummate lead solo similar to the likes of Scar Symmetry and bands of that ilk. The songs varied approach enables it to stand within death metal in its own right, but after a minute or two the whole track drops into a slower riff and punching beat that is metalcore styled but done appropriately and with considerable skill. The album ends with a rapid track, “Into The Lion’s Den” with a half blasted start and death metal pace. As mentioned this act does not rest solely on one or two riffs to carry the songs through to their end, preferring to splice riffs in vary sequential levels of intensity whether up or downwards.
Bands like Hybrid Sheep often go unnoticed usually because of them being hit with the metalcore tag, which the more narrowminded metal fan dismisses as rubbish and is completely incorrect. The band has recorded a very good album, with deft musicianship, excellent song writing prowess that many bands would kill for. This album is worth tracking down even if you listen to it online before committing as it has the hallmarks of bands like Omnium Gatherum or Insomnium but peppered with a modernised style that Parkway Drive have so successfully done, and if you know that band then you’ll know that they are hugely popular.
(8/10 Martin Harris)