I need a court stenographer-type person to go back through older posts to see if I already declared something else as our favorite Metal record of the year because I don’t wanna stick my foot in my mouth when I declare that HIPPOTRAKTOR is that fresh kind of Metal that we constantly yearn for that’s heady, heavy, underivative, and, yep, kind of our current favorite record in that aforementioned genre starting with a capital “M”.
Mastodon and Gojira keep getting brought up in regards to the HIPPOTRAKTOR convo but, and not to be dismissive of those other two artists, the Belgium quintet is kind of on another level already and Meridian is the proverbial proof in the pudding. But if we are going to go the comparison route for a moment then count artists like Irist and Spiritbox as definite contemporaries and if you want an “old school” outfit then try none other than the mighty Meshuggah. I was wholly ready to call HIPPOTRAKTOR the next Meshuggah but upon further, repeated listens to their latest this band resides in a completely different realm of heavy excellence.
Take opener “Manifest The Mountain” which is a transcendent slab of equilibrium-stimulating heaviness through and through that immediately ascends to the upper echelons of Metal. Vocal lines from Stefan De Graef and Sander Rom are simultaneously ascendant and apocalyptic with a perpetual pummeling from Jakob Fiszer’s bass and Lander De Nyn’s drums which percolate during a Middle Eastern-tinged breakdown before unleashing a torrent of thunderous hits alongside the furious flurry of riffage from Rom and Chiaran Verheyden. “Mover Of Skies” just sounds MASSIVE with glistening vocals while “Sons of Amesha” gets a little more technical with pronounced polyrhythmic runs and vocals switching between broad and bestial.
“God Is In The Slumber” is behemothic in aural intent and all around a heavens-reign-down kind of cosmic event with “Juncture” acting as sort of this sonic cleansing which soars and screams and then somehow transmorgifies into a full-fledged jam sesh. And we’re talking in The Mars Volta meets Santana kinda way. And still it rules. As does the rest of what’s to come on Meridian. Like “Beacons” which gets its’ Indie Rawk on bringing to mind Codeseven with the way HIPPOTRAKTOR build a musical palette and the harmonies within until “A Final Animation” brings on the Tool/Meshuggah amalgamation we didn’t know we needed to cataclysmically conclude this glorious gargantuan record.
Meridian unleashes on October 15th through Pelagic Records. You can get yer pre-order on now by heading here or here and for the latest on HIPPOTRAKTOR, follow them on the socials by clicking here or here.