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Hiraes - Solitary review

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Band: Hiraes
Album: Solitary
Release date: June 2021

01. Shadows Break
02. Under Fire
03. Grain Of Sand
04. 1000 Lights
05. Eyes Over Black
06. Outshine
07. Solitary
08. Strangers
09. Running Out Of Time

Like the phoenix reborn, Hiraes emerges from the ashes of Dawn Of Disease. Under this new name, the German combo have altered their musical direction from less doom-oriented to more melodeath-engineered. With the help of a new frontman, or should I say frontwoman, and a renewed sense of energy and purpose, Hiraes drops their first opus entitled Solitary. If you miss Angela Gossow's era Arch Enemy, look no further.

So, what gives? Well, besides the more accessible songwriting from guitarist Lukas Kerk, the major novelty is frontwoman/singer/growler Britta Görtz (Critical Mess, ex-Cripper). Her vocal presence is stamped all over the new material and sets those new songs apart from anything these guys had done as Dawn Of Disease. Many shades of current melodeath greats can be heard here: Insomnium, At The Gates, Arch Enemy, Aephanemer and Omnium Gatherum come to mind easily. But do not let that fool you, Hiraes still retain their own identity by bringing a thrash-like intensity to everything they do.

There might be hints of keyboards in the background but the pounding and the shredding is the real focal point here. Technically and emotionally this is full-proof. The field is littered with bands trying to sound half as good as Hiraes. All this to say that writing quality melodic death metal that stands out is not an easy task, but they have achieved just that on Solitary. It is hard to pick a standout track as the record is rather meaty and monolithic, which attests to the songwriting quality. However it ends up being also its main drawback. There is not a whole of variation and only repeated listens will allow you to recognize a specific track out of the lot in the middle of the album. The one notable exception is the excellent finisher "Running Out Of Time" with its grand intro and constant pace change.

Solitary will definitely strike a chord for fans of Arch Enemy era Angela Gossow as well as fans of Insomnium who wished they could crank the melo-dial a notch more brutal. The change of musical direction and re-branding from Dawn Of Disease to Hiraes was a gutsy but smart move that can only pay off. It does not reinvent the genre but Solitary is an interesting proposition. I hope this band can be sustained for the long run through a decent amount of commercial success. So please support them if you enjoy their music.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8

Written on 05.07.2021 by Bringing you reviews of quality music and interesting questions such as:

"A picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is a song worth?"

I have only got so much patience and skills, you do the math.

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