HYBORIAN Premiere New Song “Driven by Hunger” via Metal Injection
Kansas City sludge metal outfit HYBORIAN will release their sophomore effort, aptly titled ‘Volume II,’ on March 20, 2020! The band has partnered with Metal Injection to premiere the official music video for the band’s latest single, “Driven By Hunger.” The video can be seen at THIS LOCATION.
The conceptual record picks up where the band’s debut record left off and is accompanied by a 224-page sci-fi novel, ‘The Traveller,’ which was penned entirely by HYBORIAN guitarist/vocalist Martin Bush.
A summary of the book is as follows:
“The universe is filled with beginnings. Life springs anew in a constant cycle of birth and rebirth, billions upon billions of beginnings, intrinsically linked, each influencing the beginnings that will come after. Every ending is in and of itself a new beginning; what once was, by the very act of ending, becomes the beginning of what is to follow. This particular beginning begins at the end; the end of everything. The universe is dying. It is in the final stages of passing out of existence, which is a beginning as well, the beginning of what comes after. The cycle continues, cascading in an unending series of births and deaths, all linked, each one shaped by the beginnings that preceded it.
“The universe is dying, but it will begin again.”
‘Volume II’ is available for pre-order HERE.
To celebrate the release, HYBORIAN will be performing an album release show on March 20 at The Riot Room in their hometown of Kansas City, MO, in which they will be supported by label-mates THE LION’S DAUGHTER. The event will be sponsored by 98.9 FM.
The album cover and further information about ‘Hyborian Vol II’ can be found below.
1. Driven by Hunger (LISTEN HERE) (05:11)
2. Stormbound (04:18)
3. Sanctuary (05:28)
4. Planet Destructor (04:40) (LISTEN HERE)
5. The Entity (03:55)
6. Expanse (03:40) (LISTEN HERE)
7. Portal (04:43)
8. In the Hall of the Travellers (08:10)
The still-unfolding story of Kansas City’s newest metal heroes, Hyborian, is one that is as uncommon as it is familiar. It’s a tale that’s rife with encouragement and demonstrative of how good things come to those willing to put their noses to the grindstone and risk scraping the skin off their faces.
Like hundreds of thousands of musicians from the past, present and future to come, vocalists/guitarists Martin Bush and Ryan Bates and drummer Justin Rippeto had, for years, played in a variety of bands. Most of those outfits generated interest somewhere along a continuum bookended by minor regional success and utter indifference. Curiously, during the period they were struggling in mid-western musical purgatory, the trio did everything together: hanging out, attending shows, trading music, consuming adult beverages… everything, that is, except playing in a band!
“The three of us have known each other most of our adult lives,” explains Bush. “We’ve always been friends, but we’d always been in other projects. We really only started playing together because we all happened to be ending projects at the same time and had a chance to start something new. It was that happy time when you’ve been a musician for 20 years, busting your ass with people you don’t like very much and all of a sudden you get a chance to play with your friends.”
It was 2015 when the three mates saw the forest for the trees and finally got in a room to jam. Once they did, everything seemed to click and ignited a forward-moving firestorm fueled by a metallic enormity that continues to grow. And nowhere is this prodigious growth more evident than on their second and latest album, Volume II. It would be foolish to think that Hyborian’s upward trajectory was charmed and that good fortune smiled down on them immediately after those initial rehearsals. The first set of songs the band wrote were scrapped because they weren’t up to scratch. “They were good and heavy, but not good and heavy enough,” asserts Bush. The decision to wipe the slate clean was followed by an intensive six months of writing which begat 2017’s Hyborian: Vol. 1. The creation of the album saw the band taking the unlikely and ambitious step of building their own studio in order to track the record’s six songs before hiring Justin Mantooth (Bummer, God Maker) and Nick Zampiello (Isis, Pelican, Torche) to mix and master, respectively. Once the debut was released on local Kansas City label, The Company, the band took to viewing its hometown through their van’s rear view mirror, embarking upon copious amounts of DIY touring which led them to being discovered by Season of Mist.
“I honestly don’t know how they found us,” laughs Bush. “We just got a message on Facebook Messenger one day from [label owner] Michael Berberian at like four in the morning. I got a call from Justin telling me, ‘You gotta wake up, right now! You gotta wake up! Right now!’ I saw it and was like, ‘Nah, that can’t be real.’ I took my time, gathered myself and took a shower before I responded. By the end of the day, we were on the phone with U.S. A&R, in a few months we signed contracts and the reissue was released almost a year to the day after its original release.”
Once becoming part of the Season of Mist roster, the band shooed away whatever laurels there were to rest on in order to dig deeper and “keep doing what we were going to be doing anyway.”
“Signing to Season of Mist made more resources available. It allowed us to get a booking agent, for instance, and there has been a very large uptick in attendance at shows with people who’d check us out simply because we’re on the label. But we’re such a new band that it’s hard to know what’s been caused by what. It’s been such a whirlwind.”
The kinetic power of Hyborian: Vol. 1 had seeds planted by the octane-coated stoner metal of High on Fire, the progressive thunder of early Baroness and Mastodon and the manner in which NWOBHM was twisted into thrash metal’s salad days by pimply young Californians. For Volume II, the band knew they wanted to expand upon the foundation laid by the debut. This meant moving out of their home-built studio – local condo developers forced that hand, anyway – and doing something different to bring their already immense sound to the next level. An opportunity arose to block a month of time at a new, multi-million dollar state-of-the-art studio facility in Kansas City called B-24. Studio co-owner and producer Josh Barber (Norma Jean, Hit the Lights) believed in the band and the new material so strongly that he waived the regular house rate which allowed Hyborian to record at his spot, with him behind the board and stay within budget.
“Josh is used to producing the crap out of things, but we did this record as organically as possible, staying out of ProTools as much as we could, using a board mix with really good performances on really nice gear. We basically recorded it as if it were a live record and ended up with one of the more sonically impressive sounding records I’ve heard. Josh just crushed it. Recording there wasn’t our initial plan – it just fell in our lap – but it ended up being a fantastic decision.”
Whether it’s the self-confidence the trio has that allows them to scrap songs at first sign of stagnation and morbidity, incorporate strict song writing rules (“You can bring a riff to practice, but you can’t bring two riffs that go together to practice”) and forego the most basic of “majority rules” mandates (“If there’s a riff two people are super into but one person isn’t, it’s gone. Everybody has to like everything.”), the collaborative gelling of Hyborian’s writing process has resulted in Volume II being a heavier batch of songs that shake off the shackles of stoner metal with Kill ‘Em All wailing and The New Order’s high-end ferocity. Additionally, there exists an anthemic and angelic vocal comingling and an attention to musical detail which, while involved and progressive, never forgets that a song’s strength comes with the listener having something to hang their hat on.
The album starts off with “Driven by Hunger,” a hip-shaking, head nodding shuffler of a riff and a power chord driven chorus energetically injected by overlapping dual voices. “Stormbound” and “Sanctuary” employ massive lurching chord progressions and vintage Hetfield-esque palm muting and down picking in their battalions-over-the-horizon march. A track like “The Entity” inserts tremendous swaths of guitar and propulsive rhythms into traditional song structure and repetition to earworm impact. And then there’s “Expanse,” a tune rife with sickeningly catchy melodies, intricate guitar work and daring vocal harmonies that, together, make the potential for play on commercial hard rock radio a reality.
“In our mind, we’ve always come from a place where we felt we write proggier Motorhead songs,” confesses Bush with a laugh. “We like their dirt, grime and rhythmic pacing and our drummer doesn’t use a double kick pedal, everything is single kick. We’re a rock ‘n’ roll band that also listens to King Crimson and weird conceptual bands.”
Conceptually is where Hyborian truly distinguish themselves, standing head and shoulders above other bands who would dabble in the worlds of fantasy and swords ‘n’ sorcery. Their two albums are conjoined by fictional tales concerning The Traveller, the shadowy, cloaked figure appearing on the cover of Volume 1. Demonstrating how deep the storyline and concept runs, Bush actually wrote a novel (The Traveller: A Hyborian Tale) that chronicles the origin of the central character (and band mascot) while acting as companion piece to Volume II.
“The original idea when we started planning out what Hyborian was going to be was to have three records; the first one was going to be stories from the beginning of time and early humanity before the advent of the written word and that’s where the name comes from – author Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian Age. The second album, which is what ended up happening on Volume II, takes place during the very last days of the existence of the universe and the third record will be about the modern industrial age.
“The book is a short read, but a very convoluted plot. It’s very fantasy and sci-fi based – that’s mostly me more than anyone else in the band. The new record follows the book chronologically. It’s like The Wizard of Oz and Pink Floyd, only way more direct. If you read the lyrics of songs in order it basically tells the exact same story as the book, just way more in-depth.”
Since their formation, Hyborian has been an all-consuming entity. It’s the place where Bush, Bates and Rippeto (the bass position remains vacant, a rotating cast of friends fill in on tours) direct most of their creative energy, visionary thinking, musical ideas and technical focus, at times to the detriment of other areas of their lives. But, as Bukowski once said “find what you love and let it kill you.” Hyborian is what these three men love and want to do and they’re going to do it.
“We’re a really hard working band,” concludes Bush. “I know that’s a tired narrative, but I recently got divorced because of how much time and energy I put into the band. Basically, my ex-wife got sick of how hard we would work on this and was like, ‘You have to stop playing or you gotta git.’ It’s only really been two-and-a-half years since we formed, we haven’t stopped since we started and haven’t scratched the surface of this band yet.”
Martin Bush – Vocals, Guitar, Synths
Ryan Bates – Guitar, Vocals, Bass
Justin Rippeto – Drums
Production / Mixing / Sound Engineer:
CD – Drew Lavyne
Vinyl, cassette, streaming, and digital – Nick Zampiello at New Alliance East
Ettore del Vigo
Biography: Kevin Stewart-Panko