Black Rabbit - Hypnosomnia
Black Rabbit are a Death Thrash band that formed back in 2014 but have been pretty quiet up until 2020 when they unleashed their first EP. Now 3 years later they hit hard with their 12 track debut full of music that is full of aggression and groove. Listeners might be happy to know that this five piece from the Netherlands do not take the convention route of following the sound of the likes of Vader or Slayer, but rather go almost a Groove Metal mixed with Death Metal that would make the ones who like anything from Darkane to Legion of the Damned to Bolt Thrower very proud. It is an interesting mix that while the core sound is pretty similar between songs, the entire album is still engaging and it is very hard to find any track that doesn’t sound like it fits right in. Aside from the symphonic intro, track after track hits the right spot whether it is the anthemic ‘Neverending’ or the churning more upbeat ‘Fake Blood.’ “Hypnosomnia” tends to stay in rather the middle of the pool of pace- not quite going slow or fast, so don’t expect much in the way of hyper riffs or solos. There is a lot of chunky riffs, but again plenty of groove to enjoy.
Some of the tracks are a little slower like ‘Delta Waves’ or ‘Parasite of Minds’ and stand out compared to the others a bit more with the more Morbid Angel/ Bolt Thrower churn and little less Thrash in it. Drumming and bass are especially prominent here, though due to decent production almost every track really features the drums well, and they have that thick, thundering percussive slam to them. Chunky groove and sound is the name of the game. Vocally, the album might seem to be a little flat with the rather monotone snarl or roar that is very discernable, but listeners might get a little bored just hearing the one tone, even when it is layered such as on a track like ‘Delta Waves.’ The vocalist does change things up here and there momentarily such as adding in spoken word parts like on ‘Delta Waves,’ but they seem almost a like a filler or interlude moment rather than part of the song. ‘Parasite…’ doesn’t feature any clean vocals and rather some limited riffs, but the chorus is still driving and the guitar style is even a bit more melodic during the solos rather than ‘riff bursting.’ Then there are the symphonic edges brought back from the intro into ‘Paradoxical Sleep’ which, despite being a faster track than some of the others, kind of has that harsh but soft touch much like very early Vital Remains did. In just these three tracks though, despite a similar Death Thrash sound, again Black Rabbit prove how they can add subtleties to make them very enjoyable and different in some way.
The most melodic track on the album would have to be ‘Descending.’ Venturing almost into Melodeath territory, the riffs and song structure feel almost along the lines of a band like Demonoid, stepping away from almost any Thrash influence, touched of course again by Morbid Angel with some of the faster parts. At the same time though, with these faster parts, the melody is lost and the track comes off as more generic Death Metal rather than Groove or Thrash infused, but still listeners will enjoy it for the guitar solo for sure. Overall, Black Rabbit have hit the ground running with their work, and while lots of great tracks from “Hypnosomnia” were teased as singles earlier this year, the hype was well worth it as the whole album is just solid, headbanging Death Thrash that stands out on its own. Solid drumming, solid vocals, solid guitar and bass work; very hard to find a real complaint aside from maybe a few random moments in some of the songs that don’t fit with the quirk that Industrial Metal or Experimental Metal has. Black Rabbit are anything but that; they are straightforward and to the point, but with style rather than blunt force. Anyone who likes Metal to be mid paced and meaty, and yet with a crisp sound will find themselves moshing to Black Rabbit soon enough.
4 / 5 STARS
May 15, 2023