Krepuskul – Hybrid (2017)

If you like the sounds of melodic death metal mixed in with the groove-heavy nature of Lamb Of God and a touch of clean vocal long before Randy Blythe starting doing it, then you’ll enjoy this record from Transylvania’s Krepuskul. While looking up the band’s name and album on a recent Google search, I seem to find several glaring reviews including a 5/5 review from Andy Phelps.

Really, Andy? Were we listening to the same album? I’ve always respected the man as a reviewer before, but I can’t honestly see how he thought this disc a paragon of perfection on the level of such classics as Ride The Lightning and Scream Bloody Gore for example. In other words, “it’s good; but it ain’t that good.” Sure, Hybrid comes off strong – it features a hefty mix between the melodic death metal of acts like Dark Tranquillity and In Flames along with a touch of classic Swedish death here and there, but it seemed to be too influenced by Lamb Of God for it’s own good. The frontman practically did his best to emulate Blythe, rather than do his own thing, which became awful boring by about the last cut on the disc. While it was quite interesting in the beginning, I found that I had heard all the disc had to offer by about the sixth song, wondering when it was going to end. When I have to look up from my cell to see where I’m at in the current listening process of an album, then you can already guess my thoughts on it.

I think Hybrid wore out it’s welcome around that time, but I also blame the 128k quality promo for killing a lot of the flavor (it was a bit fuzzy, which can make it very hard to judge) that would have been kept in a 320k version of the disc. The whole time I was listening, I knew that something had been off which is when I noticed that the quality was downgraded heavily. I honestly don’t know why bands/labels do this. The sites that host album downloads and the Youtube pages that upload full albums are still going to post those records, regardless of quality. Instead of giving reviewers low-quality sound, it would be much better to give at least a VBR or 320 copy of the album, so that I may be able to give it a proper review.

At any rate, the band did their best and it was a strong enough album for Lamb Of God fans looking for a more finessed approach to that sound, but it just wasn’t the level of quality that I would have hoped in a promo. Now that Haulix has finally updated their mobile site (after nine months of my bitching and complaining) I might be able to download proper quality promos again.

Despite these technical issues, (which I feel are valid and a sort of cautionary tales for bands/labels looking to submit material for review) I feel that these gentlemen do have talent and would like to see this formula more refined. There are just too many tracks on this record that feel similar to Lamb Of God, and while I grew up with and have always enjoyed their modern “Pantera with a little bit of Acid Bath thrown into the mix” kind of sound, I don’t think that it is very original or unique to copy it with just a few slight bells and whistles. Krepuskul need more bells and whistles, they need to dig out from beneath the shadows of band emulation and become something that would really help them to stand out. Of course, I apparently know nothing compared to other more “seasoned” reviewers that I would recommend undergo a lobotomy.

An honest opinion is what Krepuskul wanted, so that’s what I’ve given them. They don’t have to agree, but they can accept that these words are what I literally felt from the album after giving it a few good listens. I’ll admit that there’s some promise and the frontman’s clean vocals sound much better than Randy Blythe’s clean attempts, but other than that it ends up as a solid release that I don’t feel will revolutionize the genre in such astouding ways as I’m seeing posted online. So I ask again reviewers, are we listening to the same album?

(9 Tracks, 44:00)

8/10

Available November 1st!

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