HALIPHRON – PREY
LABEL: Listenable Records
RELEASE: March 31st, 2023
AUTHOR: Paul Hutchings
01. Let The World Burn (Intro)
02. The Killing Spree
03. Mother Of All Evil
04. Perfect Existence
06. Human Inferno
07. The Resistance
08. Schizophrenia (CD & Digital Bonus Track)
09. Unidentified Mass
They may be newcomers under their current name, but HALIPHRON’s credentials are anything but new. Formed in 2021, the Dutch outfit draw from ex and active members of God Dethroned, Bleeding Gods and Izegrim. Their music is defined most easily as a blend of symphonic black and death metal. It’s pleasing to the ear with a clear nod to the likes of Dimmu Borgir and other Scandinavian outfits.
It’s an album that carries a simple message. “Prey” is about being the hunter or the fear of being the hunted. It opens with a classic orchestral opening, which sets the scene for seven songs of savage yet classy music. The opening two tracks, “The Killing Spree” and “Mother Of All Evil” are epic in nature and delivery, blast beats and razor-sharp riffs underpinned by soaring synths and orchestral arrangements. All this is enhanced by the demonic vocals of singer Marloes Voskuil, whose range is very much in the lower octaves, with added gruffness. Dramatic, evocative and full of emotion, the delivery is intense in both songs.
“Perfect Existence” focuses on the cult leaders, whose role on Earth is complete. Its sonic soundscapes promise much and the band’s sheer power ensures that these songs fully deliver. There may be an element of singular dimension in their style, but it’s impressive, powerful and ensures that the attention never waivers.
The title track is huge. The sweeping symphonic movements work in tandem with the explosive, driving riffs and drums integral. The song content is drawn from on a 1932 poem by Mary Elizabeth Frey about a teenager whose life is such that he takes his own life, before returning to haunt the bully who made his life hell. The hunter becomes the hunted!
“Prey” is a fantastically solid album. “The Resistance” introduces industrial elements to the band’s sound, expansive and enveloping. The musical combination of broad banks of synths can sometimes be overpowering. Not so here, as HALIPHRON blend them into the overall mix with aplomb. They utilise harmonies and choral effects too, with the introduction to bonus track “Schizophrenia” a superb example.
There’s no filler on this album. It races along but allows time to draw breath and absorb the music. A decent production allows the instruments to share space without domination, which isn’t always the case these days. Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable slab of metal and another band added to the radar.