Hyponic began their musical journey in Hong Kong when it was still a sovereign state of the United Kingdom. It was only a year later that ownership of the famous port was handed over to the People’s Republic of China, or was it the Chinese Peoples’ Republic? Anyway during the political upheaval they wrote their first album Black Sun. It was released in 2001 and after two singles their second and final album The Noise of Time was pressed to come out in 2005. It was their last album. Until now.
Twenty years since the bands’ initial conception Hyponic return with their third album 前行者 (Translated: Antecedent,) and with it comes a fine line between art and noise.
Unbalanced and unfettered this album is to black metal as wolves are to heritage. You’ll get the gist. Playing with trademarked genre techniques Hyponic make beautiful and worrisome elegies that’ll leave you feeling bewildered and emotional. Experimenting with frequencies in a fashion that embodies the mournful transition of time.
These compositions are imposing and ghostly, inspiring dread and horror but they also manage to capture beauty evenly within those cacophonous moments. Setting the scene for an end of sorts and that a part of what makes it an interesting album. With many techniques utilised in the composition on this album, building up to climax at an operatic scale, even if they seem simple at first their application implicates towards a greater metal orientated classical form.
With howling guitars broken and distorted in their quest to finalise the album (hint: the last track, it’s a Virus cover that resets the clock) it’s with their clean parts to offer a ladder back into sanity. Where their humble chords arpeggio to edge a psychedelic route on their path through haunting anamorphic melodies. 前行者 offers a decisively unique tale. It’s ambient noise effects and influences are spine chillingly unsettling in helping to build tension up into moments of crescendo. Only releasing their paralytic grip on you with a final dying breath replayed in slow motion. These guitar parts inflect more tone than any singer which is both gruesome and transfixing.
Over ten years in the making 前行者 is heartfelt closure to twenty years of designing infernal music. Hyponic’s diligence in exploring new themes and practices in a genre over saturated with a lazy attitude is commendable in itself but doing it inventively makes this an unexpected and liberating treat to behold.