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FanTastic! - 99%

MikeyC, November 20th, 2010

It wasn’t until their fourth album Cold Dark Matter that Red Harvest started gaining any mainstream popularity, and it’s this album that I consider one of their weakest. It was this reason that I wasn’t keen on going any further backwards in their career. However, I sampled the opening track “Mazturnation” on their MySpace, enjoyed it, ordered HyBreed, and this is now one of my favourite albums in my ever-growing collection.

As a whole, HyBreed doesn’t reach many high speeds. A lot of the album is played at a slow tempo and some songs, even the longer ones, remain the same tempo throughout. The shorter songs, such as “Mazturnation” and “Mutant,” are a little faster. Most of the songs have a similar theme, too, sticking with the one idea from beginning to end.

That’s where the albums strength, or flaw, comes into play: its repetition. Basically every song has a main riff, or a main idea, and doesn’t deviate at all. The song “On Sacred Ground,” for example, begins with a melodic riff with a slow drum beat over the top of it, and pretty much retains that for the entire song. Keep in mind that this song is over 6 minutes in length (the last two or so minutes are a segue to the next track), so that’s quite a risk for any band that’s not doom metal to take. “The Lone Walk” is very long, at 10 minutes, and uses two main ideas: a drum pattern for the verses and a main riff for the choruses. That’s it. Now imagine this unrelenting repetition over the course of 11 songs at 78 minutes. Is this a flaw? To some, perhaps. To me, absolutely not. In fact, this sort of repetitiveness is the exact reason why HyBreed appeals to me so much. While most of the tracks have a single idea and not a lot of progression, the main meat of the songs are just really damn catchy. Red Harvest managed to create something brilliant out of less than two dozen riffs, I’m sure.

A lot of the songs here are absolute genius, mind you. “The Lone Walk” has a nice main tom pattern on the drums before giving way to an epic chorus section, which occurs several times in the song. “Mutant” contains a lovely bouncy riff with some great guitar sounds in the background and some lovely double kick. “Ozrham” is a 9-minute industrial filler track that never gets boring and reaches some lovely heights at the end, before segueing with the same water-like noises you’ll hear at the opening of the album A Greater Darkness. “On Sacred Ground” is probably the most melodic track, slow and almost doom-like. “Monumental” continues that melody in ways you have to hear to believe, and this song contains the single best use of a splash cymbal I’ve ever heard. One of my favourite songs from this band by a long shot.

My description of the album, saying it’s very repetitive, isn’t going to sway many people to hear this. The fact that it’s 78 minutes won’t help, either. However, for me, this is THE Red Harvest album that has basically ruined me for the rest of their discography. It’s melodic, yet not too melodic, it’s got a lot of industrial breaks and sounds all through it, and the songs they’ve written, while stylistically simple, will hook you in and keep you interested until the final sound fades out. Very, very highly recommended for anyone into Red Harvest or industrial metal.