Swiss band HUBRIS. trace the beginnings of their endeavors back to 2014, and from the starting point and until today the band have released two studio albums. Following what the band describes as a restructure they now return with their third album “Metempsychosis”, which is set for a March 2020 release through Australian label Art As Catharsis.
Hubris. is a post-rock band. They describe themselves in that manner, and they live up to the expectations one has with this style of music as well. Instruments are used and applied as textures on a regular basis, and the compositions have that fine movement and gradual development that is something of a trope with post-rock bands. This alongside with the occasional more sudden twists of events that adds a stronger nerve to the proceedings. And while mostly instrumental, this album actually has the odd track that features if not vocals then at least spoken words. The song in question is called ‘Icarus’, and the contents of the spoken words here is, pretty much, a retelling of the ancient Greek myth of said person here given a musical backdrop.
Exceptions aside, post-rock fans should feel right at home with this album. The specialty of this band, at least on this album, appears to be the use of echoing and reverberating guitar notes, which we are given liberal amounts of, especially in the calmer sections of the compositions as well as the ambient-oriented interludes which is another characteristic feature of the band. The compositions develop in part by subtly adding layers and developing supporting layers of sound to form arrangements that in their full development are either majestic or energetic, depending on pace as well as the intensity of the individual instruments. Variation comes in the shape of harder, tighter section at the midpoint or in the final third of the songs, with the bass becoming more prominent and underlying guitar riffs forming a harder and heavier core foundation for those parts. Often with floating keyboards overlays, gentler plucked guitar overlays or a combination of both. The more fully developed or the harder edged sections then has a tendency to segue over to the aforementioned more delicate, ambient interludes, which then either gradually build up to more layered affairs that lasts out the song’s length or returns to an earlier and more beefed out section again.
The songs flow smooth and fine, sometimes more playful, sometimes more melancholic, sometimes more energetic. The differences between the songs can be rather subtle, apart from the odd one out ‘Icarus’ as described earlier, and the mix and production is excellent throughout as well. The instruments are finely balanced, and a shimmering beauty is something of a trademark for this production.
For my sake the only problem I have with this album is that it doesn’t engage me on a deeper level. The moods and atmospheres are elegant and beautiful, the compositions are well crafted and developed, but for my taste in music the totality just doesn’t manage to captivate my attention. That being said, I can recognize a good thing when I encounter it, so while this album isn’t one I’ll be all that passionate about on a personal level, I’m rather certain that fans of post-rock in general and those with a taste for the more tranquil and elegant varieties of the style in particular should find a lot to enjoy on this album.
My rating: 60/100