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Hypersonic Existentia
Written by Allyson Kenning   
Saturday, 09 July 2016

Hypersonic - CD Review
Existentia

Hypersonic – Existentia 

 

CD Info
2016
Revalve Records
12 Tracks
Mostly English Lyrics
9/10

Oh, Italy, how do I love thee? It seems to me that there is a never ending supply of awesome metal coming out of this country – so much so that metal is almost rivaling pizza as that country’s most famous export. Hypersonic, who call Belpasso, Catania, home is the latest band I have come across to have put out a strong release, and it’s called Existentia. And boy did it ever impress me.

In doing my research, I found that Hypersonic has actually been around for about a decade and Existentia is their second full-length. I am not the only impressed person out there, because they have signed to Revalve Records, one of Italy’s big metal labels. Existentia dropped May 13 and it features a bunch of guest vocalists, most notably Tommy ReinXeed Johansson of Swedish power metal band ReinXeed.

If you’ve been reading my reviews for any amount of time, you’ll know that I place a lot of importance on the first track of any CD because I firmly believe that that first impression is the most key part of the release, and it sets up the expectations, tone, and sound of a band. In the case of Existentia, the first song, “The First Sound of Life (Principum)” has one of the nicest, most epic intros I have heard in a long time. It’s pretty epic, sweeping, and cinematic – worthy of a movie score, to be frank, and it then heads into a pretty headbangable metal tune that has a very catchy chorus. We are introduced to various elements of Hypersonic’s sound. The vocals, performed by Alessia Rapisarda, are obviously the most notable part of the band’s product, and she impresses right off the bat. Additionally, we get a sense of the compositional strengths of the songwriting on the album, especially in the way the instrumental intro transitions seamlessly into metal. It all just works perfectly together to create a great first impression.

Track two, “The Eyes of the Wolf”, shows off the keyboard prowess of Dario Caruso, and I’ll say more about him in a minute. This fast-paced song is a great follow-up to the introductory tune because it gives the listener an idea of the up-tempo capabilities of the band, whose talent for speed and power are showcased here.

The third track and first single, “As An Angel”, is my favourite song on the album. It’s gorgeous. In addition to being a great headbanging tune, it has a full-bodied sound to it with a catchy chorus that is beautifully sung by Alessia. It’s a pretty drum-driven song, but has an amazing piano and guitar duel in it as well, which I totally loved.

Other tracks I really loved were the ballady “Embrace Me”, which again showcased the lovely, sensitive vocals of Alessia. Track seven, “Love is Pain” I liked because it was more aggressive and had some growling in it. “God’s Justice” was another aggressive song; fast and heavy, it featured a duet between Alessia and a male vocalist (the info I got with the press kit didn’t say which guest vocalists appeared on which songs) and a nifty guitar solo, performed my guitarist Emanuele Gangemi. Track 10, “Pilgrim’s Path” was interesting; it’s a short interlude from metal and is a prayer being chanted in what I assume is Italian with some minimal choirs in the background.

If I had one criticism of Existentia it is that I had a hard time figuring out what the lyrics were, as I was not provided with a lyric sheet for any of the songs and I couldn’t find them online. While Alessia is definitely a talented singer, some of her pronunciations and lack of enunciation made the vocal lines in many songs hard to decipher and thus the lyrical themes for me are a little hazy.

My overall assessment of this album is that it is excellent. So much so that I was pretty blown away. The production quality was very good. The music and sound is sophisticated and polished, and the musicianship and compositions were really incredible, showing off how talented the individual musicians are and how capable they are of intricate songwriting.

But the star of this album is the keyboardist, Dario Caruso. His performances on the keys were so well done, so amazing. This is definitely a superior symphonic release, one of the strongest I’ve heard in a long time, mainly because of the talent of this keyboardist. He made this album special and outstanding, with the backing of a very talented band of musicians. Hypersonic is a complete package of superb modern symphonic power metal, and Existentia will no doubt, even this early in the game, be on my top 10 list for 2016. Kudos to them for a brilliant and powerful release!

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