Lying dormant since their 2021 release of Solitary, the Hiraes volcano has erupted and darkened the skies with melodic death metal ash.
Dormant explores the themes of struggling for resilience in today’s society and learning how to focus on your inner strengths. ‘Through the Storm’ shines a light on how living in denial is nothing but a disguise instead of overcoming your challenges “You can cover up the stain, But make-believe won’t numb the pain” while ‘We Owe No One’ highlights the need to let go of the past and find a new path to rebuild “Don’t hold on, let go, This is where the journey starts”.
‘Through the storm’ sounds like you’re caught in the middle of an EF5 tornado which will chew you up and spit you out in tatters. With no time to waste, Hiraes won’t play nice so you’d better prepare yourself for the ultimate battering. The track starts off as a muffled intro before exploding into life with wild drumming, complex solos, nasty riffs and booming vocals. The fight continues with ‘We Owe No One’ keeping up the pace of the album to indicate that Dormant isn’t going to ease off anytime soon.
Despite the record’s aggressive sound where many things happen simultaneously, there is an intriguing bit of spaciousness seeping through as if it wants to take you somewhere into the unknown. The contrast is more noticeable when the guitars go clean and dynamics reduced but you can still feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. By listening to ‘Undercurrent’, you can imagine being carried by a mysterious maelstrom, not knowing where you might end up.
Britta Görtz neatly stretches her elastic vocal range throughout the record. With fierce screams as powerful as jet blasts blowing people over at St Maarten, she makes full use of what that scary throat of hers possesses by belting a ton of different harsh techniques from fry screams to pig squeals. There are even short bursts of clean vocals in certain songs, adding extra layers of musicality to an already rich-sounding album.
Mathias Blässe lets his phenomenal drumming abilities take over, making simplicity a forbidden word in his book of tricks. The double kick and blast beats sound faultless without an ounce of fatigue. When combined with the dual sweet harmonies of Oliver Kirchner and Lukas Klerk on guitars, it creates a beautiful cacophony that unearths the competing forces within Dormant.
The album cover depicts a reflection of a bleak mountain on a lake in which the mirrored image containing a ray of light suggests that there is room for hope hence the connection with resilience to overcome hidden dangers and traps that life throws at you. The line of the water levels where the title lies gives an illusionary feeling that all is calm. However, once you dive into your own self, not only will there be troubled waters but mainly the inner strength to resurface and fight on.
Following the instrumental interlude, some listeners might get puzzled as Dormant takes a sudden twist before returning to its original course. Tracks like ‘Nightflight’ and ‘Red Soil’ contain elements of thrash and sci-fi sound effects which could feel out of place. The complex meaning with its underlying layers might require more than one listen to be fully appreciated.
Hiraes have picked up right where they left off and are certainly evolving as a group with albums of such quality as this one. It’s then only a matter of time before other countries come calling for them to showcase their talent.
Dormant was released January 26th via Napalm Records.