Well, this certainly looks like a match made in …. hm… (heavy metal) heaven? Hysteria is not a new band, but a thrash project of drummer Mike Smith and vocalist and guitarist Jake Nunn (both from Hell Fire), which has self-released two albums so far, the last one of which – as far back as 2010. Fast forward 9 years and now things look so much more exciting, because the band is actually reincarnated with the addition of Haunt members Trevor Church (on bass) and John Tucker (on guitars). The style is now much more classic heavy metal than thrash and third album Night Closing In sounds like an amazing new start for the band.
The album came out digitally on October 31st via Church Recordings, with physical formats to be released early in 2020. Opener Graveyard is a total hymn, with fantastic rhythm guitars in the best Metal Church tradition, killer chorus that sticks in the mind immediately and a tasty harmony solo. Some of the choruses in the following songs (with the frequent use of layered background vocals) really bring classic Iced Earth to mind, but Hysteria sound more “working-class” and deliberately basic, stripping each and every song to a very “live” feeling. The production is really organic, with an effect of the band playing in the room next door, but very balanced and warm at the same time. The title track and Look Alive are very forceful, dynamic and once again with amazing rhythm guitars and choruses. One Year and Eyes Open are also immediate winners, in the vein of Graveyard, with catchy verses, backed by the ever so strong guitars of Tucker and Nunn.
One of the most interesting tracks is the closing one – Soldiers Of Tribulation, with some unexpected tempo-changes and hypnotic, forceful chorus. It is a song which hints at the potential this band has. Night Closing In is definitely the most pleasant surprise for me this year and while both of the new Haunt and Hell Fire albums are better, I think that Hysteria, with the forces of these two amazing bands combined, will be a force to reckon with in the years to come. Finally, I just cannot miss to say a few good words about the beautiful cover artwork with a totally old school attitude. Check this band out and support them, because they love what they do and it shows.