HYPNO5E bring the haunting tones of their unique brand of avant-garde progressive metal up close with the physical release of A Distant Dark Source Experience, a streaming concert recorded earlier this year, consisting of a full performance of their latest studio album. Arising from the arid soil of pandemic times, this performance of A Distance (Dark) Source (2019, Pelagic Records) portrays the band at their most powerful and proficient, creating a visceral tribute to the darkness inside each of us that is even more gripping than the original studio recording.
Consisting of a double vinyl, a DVD and HD download, A Distance Dark Source Experience is a most complete physical manifestation of the original live-stream, which was recorded at the Paloma in Nîmes, an 1800-seat theatre venue featuring 360° video equipment. The visual feels like a natural continuation of the music video of “On The Dry Lake”. A three-dimensional experience of the band playing live that comes as close to watching the band play for real as it can be. With just the four musicians in the band playing, the lack of layering makes the melodies come out even better, yet the band seems to lose nothing of their ferocity.
Not only is this live experience a lasting testimony of Emmanuel Jessua’s proficiency as a songwriter, but also of his incredible technical ability as a singer, being able to consistently cover the chugging guitars and fierce drumming in a hazy shroud of thick growls throughout the record. As strong as the band is in their loudness, it is in the quiet parts of A Distant Dark Source that HYPNO5E truly shines. In playing along with them (rather than layering them over the instrumentals) the distinctive spoken word parts become even more of an instrumental as opposed to a human voice. Where, on the studio album, they already signified a glimpse of a deeper layer of meaning – to those unfamiliar with the French language – on this record their meaning is transformed further into something unintelligible, yet all the more tangible. The way the guitars hang on to them during the quiet parts, it transforms this cinematic experience into something fragile and real. In a way it makes the darkness less supernatural, and more human.
A Distant Dark Source Experience is a fitting tribute the cinematic qualities of this band and a most definitive rendition of the material from their latest studio record. Transforming the violence of (human) nature to a murmur beyond a melody, the soft passages of spoken words and clean finger-picked guitars form a cadence from which Hypno5e rebuild their tribute to the darkness inside our souls. For those who have watched the live stream, this is an incredible memory, and for those who have missed it, an incredible testimony to this band’s visceral artistry.