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Hyvmine - Earthquake

Label: Seek & Strike
Format: download
Released: 2018
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 8/10

Some of the trappings of Prog Metal - - the speedy guitar and keyboard solos - - wrapped up in a package of Alternative Metal/Bro Metal/Nu Metal. Hyvmine is led by the insane talents of vocalist/guitarist, Al Joseph, whose voice recalls Dug Pinnick of King’s X and Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust, while his shredding style sounds informed a little bit by Dave Mustaine, Marty Friedman, and John Petrucci. The song styles also recall Sevendust, Pillar, Fishbone’s Metal material, and not necessarily Alice in Chains or 90s Metallica, but the bands that followed in their wake, like Godsmack, Hoobastank, and so on. Maybe(?) throw in a pinch of Dokken or Muse too.


It’s fascinating to hear these digestible-sized, under-5-minute, catchy, radio-friendly tunes detour into 10,000-note-per-second, harmonized, keys and guitar soloing, only to veer back into mainstream-ish lanes. The songs employ a number of different guitar tones, riffs, and chord types, plus a few synth sounds. Even with these differences, though, they’re all poured from the same mold, and therefore can blend together a little bit.. “Earthquake” is a 90s-Candlebox-sounding ballad, but good in spite of itself. “Shogun” and “Cliffhanger” are set to be the singles, and sound like it. They’re fine, but I think “Shift” and “All of Creation” are the best on the album.
As allergic as I am to commercially-aimed music, the formula works for Hyvmine. So yes, those guys with the hair gel and tanks tops who want to pound Coors Lights and Red Bulls will enjoy this, but don’t let that put you off - - it’s not really intended for them. Al Joseph can really, really, really play with skill, finesse, and taste, and he’s the rare virtuoso who also has a truly great singing voice.

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