HIRAES – Dormant (Album Review)

Hiraes: Dormant. Album Cover. Out January 26 On Napalm Records!
Hiraes: Dormant. Album Cover. Out January 26 On Napalm Records!

Standing Out From The Crowd

Hiraes comes from the Welsh “hiraeth” which is a word that signifies either a sense of nostalgia or a yearning for places lost or a home that never existed! That is a lot of meaning for one word. The next line folks might expect that haven’t heard of this band before will be… “the band from Wales”… however that is not the case as the band are actually from Germany!

Dormant is their second album and the first to be recorded after playing gigs seeing as how they formed in the famous missing year of 2020 so they recorded an album having played no gigs (the first being Solitary). The band are melodic death metal and feature Britta Görtz on vocals, two guitarists in Lukas Kerk and Oliver Kirchner, and the rhythm section of Christian Wösten on bass and finally Mathias Blässe  on drums.

There are so many melodic death metal bands around so for me it was great to hear one that stands out from the crowd. The inclusion of some keys and electronica adding a little extra to the sound. The album has 10 songs the shortest being just under 2 minutes and the longest just under 7. The album was mixed and mastered by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Pain Of SalvationAmon AmarthKatatonia amongst others) with the assistance of Ricardo Borges (also OpethDevinSepulturaArch Enemy among others) on mixing.

There Be Melody Here

There is actually plenty of melody on show throughout with the guitars often providing that side of things whilst the bass and drums pound like 10-ton hammers giving the death metal, heavier edge. The guitar tones at time are so sweet, for instance on “Chance To Fail” they sound quite beautiful yet the song itself is very intense. I think it could be my favourite track having a very strong chorus saying “I will not surrrender“. It has an accessibility about it. There is a mix of harsh and clean vocals, as far as I am aware all supplied by Britta who has quite a soulful voice especially on “Undercurrent“.

Keeping Things Fresh Or Interesting

About Lies” is another I really like with the keys or synths sounding like Morse code rhythm wise, (I don’t think it is actual Morse but if I am wrong then happy to be corrected) even the drumming has a bit of something that sounds like code (sort of like what Neil Peart did at the start of “YYZ“), in fact some of the drumming here is particularly good. The song does drop down a little at one point allowing for more clean vocals. Being the longest song it allows more changes of tempo and mood during it. The quieter section around the 4 to 5 minute mark has an air of darkness and creepiness about it.

Red Soil” has an electronic start before a fast or frantic riff comes in. The vocals are at points quieter adding a tense atmosphere to the piece. This is a song that is perhaps more proggy in nature, it is definitely an outlier sound wise which is great as it keeps the album interesting. The chugging section where the word “Why” is repeated again and again adding another texture. I found the song was a grower, it slowly drew me into itself and is another real highlight on a very good album.

Hiraes: The Band (Photo By Lisa Ulferts)
Hiraes: The Band (Photo By Lisa Ulferts)

Mellow To Brutal

The album flows nicely with all the extra sound effects and changes of pace and emotion absolutely helping to hold the listeners attention through its roughly 44-minute running time. Some tracks link together as well. the shortest piece “Come Alive” which uses loads of synths with the guitar notes being held at length becomes part of the theme for the next track “Ocean Child” which in itself has a slight folk sound.

They end on the title track “Dormant” which uses keys (not sure who is responsible for those) goes from mellow to brutal and finishes with the lyrics (if I have picked them up correctly) “here in my silent place I remain” before fading out on piano lilting away.

Standing Out In A Packed Field

Melodic death metal is a scene that is huge with hundreds if not thousands of bands. For me it is always exciting when one comes along that has something a little extra or different. Yes, there are the usual elements you would expect for the style, but with the additions of keys/synths and a touch of progressive thinking or indeed prog rock to me as a listener of so much music can stand out from the pack. Anyone into melodic death will enjoy this but I feel that due to their writing and composition they should also appeal to those into metal in general. I look forward to seeing or hearing what they do next as I dig this album a lot. Good work all round!

Album Out Jan 26 On Napalm Records!

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