|Review: Hanker - Conspiracy of Mass Extinction|
|Conspiracy of Mass Extinction|
Label: Hellion Records
Year released: 2010
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: March 3, 2011
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
for:Conspiracy of Mass Extinction
Rated 4.5/5 (90%) (22 Votes)
After The Dead Ringer, Hanker got a little bit less complex, releasing albums like Snakes and Ladders that were good but conventional, without the kind of transcendental quality that their masterpiece had. Which is why it was such a surprise to hear this album. Folks, this is Conspiracy of Mass Extinction, and I am very happy to say it is fucking awesome.
I mean it is impossible not to like this if you're a fan of old school 80s style metal, as it gives you a heavy metal riff work-out like none you've seen in ages, since Slough Feg's golden age perhaps. Every song is crammed chock full of crunchy, harmonized riffing so energized that it's like they were on speed the whole time. These songs listen something like a more rough-and-tumble Iron Maiden or Judas Priest, with headstrong vocals and powerful, hooky songs that you will remember after one listen. There's no secret as to why this album is good – it just pulls you in and keeps you on the edge of your seat with each exciting twist and turn.
Vocalist Pascal Cliche sings low, with a deep, quirky tone to his voice that will seem at home to fans of Manilla Road, Brocas Helm or the aforementioned Slough Feg, and he also plays guitar along with fellow axe-shredder Patrick Gravel – together these two pretty much rule the album unequivocally. Right from the first riffs of "Beyond the Pale," they never let up on the guitar attack. "Castaway," "Battle Cries," the headstomping ownage of the awesome title track...there are simply no bad songs on here, just ones that you personally like better than others. You'll like different songs on different days – there are many gems to choose from.
And it's surprising just how engaging this is, as the band doesn't change their mode of discourse at all throughout the entire album, barring "The One Among Them," which is slower in tempo (and even that's not a huge diversion from the usual fast tempo the rest of it keeps). These songs are simply excellently constructed; vast, epic tunes with a ton of dynamic and melody to them. Whenever one riff or idea gets old, they introduce another one right away, and the song never suffers. This is really some of the best true metal songwriting you'll hear all year. A lot of bands will just play fast as a way to cover up the fact that they don't have a whole lot of substance in their music. Not Hanker. This album is one of 2010's finest, and any fan of true metal would do well to pick it up right away. Let's hope it's not too long before the next album.
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