Wednesday 3 May 2023



Salt Lake City, Utah quartet Hibernaut are not some new kids on the block attempting to find their way around the music business for the first time, these guys are seasoned musicians who have earned their spurs playing in bands with real pedigree such as Oldtimer, Dwellers, Oxcross and Subrosa. The band, consisting of Josh Dupree (bass); Dave Jones (vocals/rhythm guitar); Zach Hatsis (drums) and Joey Toscano (lead guitar), jam a groove that blends heavy sludge and stonerized metal with elements of heavy psych and doom and while that may not seem an unusual mixture, in a scene choc a block full of bands jamming similar dynamics, it is this bands execution of those dynamics that elevates them above the herd, something you will find out for yourselves when giving their debut "Ingress" a spin.

You could not ask for a more impactful opener than "Stygian Nectar" and considering the word "stygian" is often used in Greek to describe something murky and gloomy seems quite apt choice to start off an album mired in those atmospherics. The song boasts some seriously impressive lyrical imagery with Jones giving gritty voice to a grim travelogue, describing "Stone seracs, sentinels on the barren plain" and asking us to bear witness to "Stone conduits eating electric light", against a backdrop of gnarled doom tinted metal that although devastatingly heavy is thankfully shy of being brutal. For next track "Summoner" Jones, Hatsis and Dupree lay down a circular slightly left of centre groove that not so much crunches as whirls, we were reminded of an old washing machine on its last legs attempting to complete its final spin cycle here, Jones delivers over this groove an impassioned lay-preacher like vocal drenched in rage and anger, strangely it is against this backdrop of whirling off-kilter groove and vocal furiosity that lead guitarist Toscano decides to lay down his most melodic and bluesy solo of the album and just as strangely makes it work. By reading thus far you have probably got a handle on what Hibernaut are all about and being that "Ingress" is an album made up of eleven tracks we are not going to do a full break down of each and every track, what we will do however is point you in the direction of a few of what, we believe, are some of its remaining highlights. The first of those highlights is, for us, the excellent "Nor'easter" a stunning tome that finds the band toying with elements of experimental heavy psych on a song that tells, in big bold throaty tones, of the aftermath of an extreme weather event, big horns should go to Dupree here his bass intro and his anchoring of the songs groove to Hatsis' busy tight rhythms is on another level but then so is the six string interplay that Toscano and Jones bring to the table. The second highlight is "Kaleidoscope" a heavy full on assault on the senses driven by some incredible drumming from Hatsis, this has a groove that picks you up and slams you around like a rag doll to the point that you will be checking yourself for bruises the minute its last beat subsides. The last of our picks has to go to the furious final track "Spherical", imagine Hawkwind dumping their synths and electronics and upping their tempos to a thrash like meter and you might just get your heads around this one. Those tracks we mentioned in this review are Desert Psychlist's favourites but you might find your own and in truth there is not a single duff track to be found among the eleven on this album and how many albums can you honestly say that about?

Big bold and brash riffage, twinned with thick grumbling bass and pummelling percussion are the tools Hibernaut bring to bear on "Ingress" along with piercing guitar solos and powerful gruff vocals, it is a sound not entirely original or genre-defining but it is nevertheless a great sound and one that you will find yourself returning to over and over again.
Check 'em out ...

© 2023 Frazer Jones

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