The Obelisk has deemed me worthy of reviewing a Hybrid Nightmares release twice over, having previously granted me the honour for their debut album ‘Almagest’ back in October 2017. A year and a half later they’ve shown no signs of rest, unleashing the planet-crushing ‘Obelisk’ on us all. It may only be five songs, but it still makes Majin Buu look like a wimp. Like even more of a wimp, I mean…
I’ve introduced Hybrid Nightmares before in my previous review, but just as a reminder: Hybrid Nightmares is a mighty five-man entity displaced from an outer eastern cesspool known as Croydon, who practises the art of extreme and progressive metal. In a few short years they’ve accumulated an extensive discography and unbridled international acclaim under their uniquely tailored belts, and continue to grow more and more powerful every year.
2019’s effort, ‘Obelisk’, is a very addictive aural assault. The cosmic aggression is consistent within each track, which necessitates more than one playthrough just to distinguish one from another. After an initial listen to get to know the songs, it’s time to hit rewind and revel in this 25-minute masterpiece all over again. There are plenty of hours in the day to appreciate ‘Obelisk’ more than once.
A couple of months ago, first track Star Fortress was released to resume the Hybrid Nightmares mythos first established way back in 2011 with their self-titled EP. The songs are different, there are a couple of new members, but the style is still well and truly loyal to their roots. The guitar leads are more groovy and unpredictable than ever and the tremolo riff halfway through Star Fortress is so smooth you could scratch your back with it.
Loki demonstrates his hypnotic ASMR skills on this record with soliloquies that set and warp the mood of the songs; this technique is particularly potent in the second ritual Drink of the Waters, bringing balance with his trademark shrieks. The ending chant “Where is the light?!” accurately and vehemently channels my exasperation of getting up in the middle of the night for a drink of water.
Another memorable lyric lies in the third conjuration Ex Mortis; “Whisper my name in the dark, and I will come”. Add Hybrid Nightmares to the Bloody Mary folklore, along with Candyman and Biggie Smalls. Ex Mortis as a whole has a rather warmongering feel that would suit as a live highlight, gathering a legion of followers to Hybrid Nightmares’ dominant and formidable performance. This darkness is only surpassed by the apocalyptic Portals.
Best track? If I were to personally ask you to choose just one favorite track from ‘Obelisk’, it’s not a test. There are no right or wrong answers. That’s how strong of a record ‘Obelisk’ is, regardless of its duration.
After assimilating Australia and Japan into their orbit, what’s next in Hybrid Nightmares’ warpath? Europe? The United States? Mars? Regardless, with eight releases in less than a decade, expect to hear more from this unyielding tyrant very soon.