A bit of instrumental post rock from Switzerland here. From the life and death theme of this album, which revolves around a number of Greek mythological characters, there would seem to be a progressive element. The band itself has drawn comparisons with Sigur Ros and Long Distance Calling. My initial reaction on receiving this was that if the album is half as good as the colourful sleeve artwork, then I was in for a treat.
Appropriately in these virus-ridden times, Hepius was the god of medicine in Greek mythology, and that’s the title of the first of these six pieces. As always with these themed albums and especially the instrumental ones, it’s difficult to relate the theme to the music. It’s probably more of a yardstick to the band. What I would say is that “Hepius” trots along nicely. The patterns are pleasant and colourful. The guitar has softness and melancholy but breaks out and cranks up. It’s possible to bask in this sound. In fact, I must have been doing this as I realised that eight minutes had gone. Where did the time go? Perhaps the theme should have been the passage of time. “Hepius” is nice and thoughtful. Now for the god of wine and festivity. “Dionysus” is not however a representation of riotous festivity. It swims along merrily and calmly, bursting out expansively and reducing the water flow. Curiously about half way through there’s a clumsy and ugly switch to a ramped-up version of the journey we have been embarking on, but serenity returns. In doing so, we spend the last part of “Dionysus” as if becalmed. As we entered “Adonis”, the god of beauty, I was hoping for something more invigorating. My wish was granted. “Adonis” is dreamy, lush and rides on the crest of a luxurious wave. To a soft beat and subtle haze, the guitar plays a sublime and sophisticated tune before breaking open, becoming louder and broader. “Icarus” is a narration about the son of Dedalus who built two pairs of wings to enable them to escape but Icarus flew too close to the sun in spite of warnings. As musical piece, the background waves support the narrative but this is just a spoken track about a known mythological story. “Dedalus” follows and we’re back to ambient and calm melancholy. The progression is powerful. We pass through emotion and reach epic and emotional strength in a fine passage mid-way through this eight-minute piece. “Dedalus” ebbs and flows and provides wonderment in a way that “Dionysus” didn’t. The hero and adventurer Heracles is the subject of the final piece. How do you represent heroism? Well, hubris don’t do that, but engage in a final post rock journey which is full of musical twists and turns. The passage midway through suggests boldness and adventure, but it’s all encapsulated in the familiar delicate guitar strains. “Heracles” is a rich track.
There are so many instrumental post rock bands out there that I am losing count. On the basis of “Metempsychosis”, hubris is one of the better ones. hubris infiltrate the mind through mostly calm and expressive passages which suggest an emotional or physical journey. Sometimes however this journey can be slow. At other times we are transported away from our reality and fly like Icarus and Dedalus.
(7/10 Andrew Doherty)