Hyperion
Seraphical Euphony

I’m a big fan of symphonic black metal, but the genre has been in a bit of a dry spell. The only decent recent release I can recall is Diabolus Arcanium or Raphuemet’s Well, but those are a little ‘different’.  I am craving something more Scandinavian, melodic and grandiose like the scene on the ’90s (Lothlorien, Embracing  etc). Well, whaddayaknow, along with the Ukrainians Elderbrood, here is Swedish youngsters Hyperion barging in to serve a fix with their first full-length album — after six years and a few demo/live releases.

Driven by three guitarists and majestic keyboards,  Seraphical Euphony is a sheer delight. It’s rooted in the likes of Dissection and such, with a firm grasp of melody and energy that reminded me of 2014’s Solace by Norway’s Vinterbris, but with a heavy orchestral sheen. And then the mix master from Diabolical/Demonical/Centinex‘s  vocalist/guitarist Sverker Vidgren puts everything together; the guitars have plenty of bite amid the sweeping keyboards and chorals (2000-2005 Centinex is also a solid comparison when it comes to the riffs and pacing of the material).

Intro “Remnants of the Fallen” delivers the expected mood setting, atmospheric start to the album before “Novus Ordo Seclorum” explodes from the speakers with tremolo picked fury. The blast/symphonic refrain from about 2:52 is a pure joy, and a classic throw back to the early ’90s sound. The song’s last minute delivers a very nice moody outro. “Flagellum Dei” switches things up with a more death metal approach with less keys but when they do kick in around 2 minutes in or so, it’s intense and regal.

And many such moments litter the album such as a minute and 5:40 into the title track or the slower melodic chug of “Moral Invasion”. “Primal Cosmic Ascendancy” jars with a sudden symphonic eruption after a lull inducing start and the fantastic little bridge in “Zephyr of Grace”… or how about the cool little melodic trot on “Empyrean Yearning”. Everything about Hyperion‘s delivery of the style is on point. The keyboards swell and rouse, the riffs are razor sharp and the vocals are a vicious rasp.

As with the classics, the best is saved for last with the 8-minute closure, “Blood of the Ancients”, that even deploys some clean vocals. The track delivers everything from fierce, yet majestic blasts, delicate acoustics, a very cool riff at 5:05 and the requisite atmospheric, mellow fade out and track/album ending. It ends things on a nice exhale, readying the listener to hit play again on one of the better symphonic melodic black metal albums of the last few years.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
May 31st, 2016

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