By Dr. Abner Mality

Contrary to popular belief, not everything the Good Doctor listens to has a skull and a pentagram on its cover. No doubt that I prefer the more subterranean styles of metal, but here’s a shocking confession: I get bored as shit listening to the same thing all the time. Once in a while, I can make room for something like Hyvmine.

The brainchild of guitar virtuoso Al Joseph, Hyvmine gets compared to Animals As Leaders and The Winery Dogs by PR. I personally hear a lot more of King’s X and a much heavier Living Color in their sound. This is modern hard rock with some progression and yes, touches of the dreaded nu-metal to it. I could easily imagine hearing this on the radio. And its pretty good compared to most of the dreck you hear on modern rock radio.

First, Al Joseph can scorch the strings like a motherfucker. This album is for fans of latter day shredding. The whole band is tight beyond tight. However, I don’t feel they stretch themselves enough on “Earthquake”. It’s a bit too comfortable in spots. The album splits into 2 parts, to my ears. The first four tracks here are very heavy and appealing tunes. Of course the guitar soloing is exquisite but Al’s soulful vocals are also a treat to hear. Definitely nice to hear after all the bellowing and roaring I get exposed to. There’s something also uplifting and soaring about tunes like “Shift” and especially “All of Creation”. Heavy but with a positive vibe.

Then the title track, which you think would be a roof rattler, turns out to be an acoustic ballad and the album loses momentum.  The next few songs are a kind of Sevendust meets Dream Theater heavy radio rock. Not bad at all and the musicianship is great, but its very much what you expect and is kind of nu-metally. To be honest , I think Al and his boys can do more.

I liked the album but the flaws are there. Here’s hoping Hyvmine can expand in the future.