Brazil’s heavy metal titans Hibria are creating a lot of buzz in the world of metal with the release of their 5th self-titled studio album on August 7th on Power Prog Records. At the time this review is being written the band is currently on tour in Japan and will return to tour the U.S. in September with Canadian Power Metallers Unleash the Archers, highlighted with an appearance at the world renown ProgPower USA festival in Atlanta, Georgia.
For metal fans who are not yet familiar with the Hibria, they are a Brazilian Metal band created in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul / Brazil, in 1996 and is comprised of Iuri Sanson (Vocals) Abel Camargo (Guitars) Renato Osorio (Guitars) Benhur Lima (Bass) Eduardo Baldo (Drums). Hibria’s style is a mix of classic metal, thrash, prog, power, and even funk. This is not a band that is afraid to experiment with new sounds and styles. Case in point, the album features a brass section on the first track titled Pain and on track seven, Ashamed. For an old school metal fan like myself, the addition of a horn section to a metal band is nothing new for a power metal band. Riot added Tower of Power to their song On Your Knees from the Privilege of Power album, and Savatage raised eyebrows when they added a brass section to the now classic Jesus Saves off of the Streets album. So even the most hardened old school metal fan should not be surprised by their inclusion here.
Vocalist Luri has a powerful, melodic, and aggressive style that compliments each song perfectly. The rhythm section of Baldo and Lima are locked in and keep the songs tight and precise while the guitar tandem of Camargo and Osorio combine technical precision and melodic harmonies that recall classic Maiden. The one-two punch of Pain and second track Abyss start the album on a power metal tip with blazing guitars and power metal drumming. The chorus on Abyss is ridiculously catchy and filled with melodic harmony vocals.
The third track Tightrope is a thrash fest of chugging guitar rhythms and Baldo pounding the skins like a man possessed. Luri’s powerful vocals bring the song’s energy level up a notch with its catchy melody. The albums fourth track Life has more of a deliberate mid-tempo pace, yet still features some aggressive guitar playing and an impressive orchestral arrangement that brings out the songs melodies.
Ghosts is another grinding mid-tempo metal monster that has a killer groove and some jaw-dropping shredding from Camargo and Osorio. The harmony-laden chorus is another winner with a European power metal sensibility.
Legacy is a heavier song with Luri using a more aggressive vocal style in certain parts, which adds a different dimension to this song when combined with his more power driven style, as opposed to the previous songs. As I already indicated, Ashamed makes great use of a brass section and shout-a-long chorus that should go over extremely well in a live setting. Church is another power metal barnburner with a fast and furious pacing and Luri using his upper register to great effect with some high notes that would make Rob Halford proud.
Another song with a Pantera-esque power groove is the crushing Fame. Luri’s vocals take on a subdued tone here with a killer guest vocal from Mia Coldheart from Crucified Barbara. Luri and Mia’s vocal tones blend extremely well together to create a great duet. One has to wonder if Unleash the Archers singer Brittney Slayes will join Luri onstage for this one when the band are on tour together ( hint, hint guys!). The guitar shredding is taken up a notch here as well with some impressive shredding throughout the song.
The album closes with one last thrash fest with Words, another powerful metal anthem with impressive playing from the band, the guitar solo sections are particularly impressive showcasing Camargo and Osorio’s abilities to play straight up blues metal and then turn on a dime to shred with the best of them. The chorus is a bit of a disappointment, as it is nowhere near as catchy as the other songs on the album, but this is a minor complaint. The bonus track is an orchestral version of the song Life, unfortunately the addition of an orchestral arrangement doesn’t really add a lot to the song, which sounded much better without the string section.
With an impressive new album, a U.S. tour, and a potentially show-stopping performance at ProgPower USA, this might be the year that Hibria breaks away from the pack of underground heavy power metal. Only time will tell.