Hurakan - Via Aeterna
Hurakan is one of those relatively unknown bands that is finally getting more of the attention it deserves. Signing with a new label- Lacerated Enemy Records (well known for their host of deathcore, slam death, and brutal death bands like Vulvodyina or Infecting the Swarm), these French brutal deathcore-ists are in good hands. On their 3rd full length album, “Via Aeterna,” they’ve stepped up their game, adding a more polished sound without sacrificing any brutal moments, adding in guest spots for more of a repertoire, and overall just craft a very solid record that is in the vein of the likes of Brand of Sacrifice or Shadow of Intent. It has the groove, the deep growls but not too gurgling or vomiting, and a mix of blastbeats along with just the slower, building chugs that induce so many breakdowns to headbang to.
Opening right with ‘Imperium’ one can see that Hurakan has slowed down a little with the more mid paced approach to the riffs, but the vocals and drumming haven’t let up. This newer direction though really allows the riffs to sink in rather than completely overwhelm so that is a plus. The more brutal vocals come from the guest spot of the vocalist of Brand of Sacrifice, and the sprinkle of symphonics is just enough to give support but not overtake or take away from the brutal death metal aspects of the group. Other tracks like ‘Void’ are more the standard death metal with strong hooks but not as much of an interesting approach compared to the first track. ‘Abyssal’ features some interesting vocal additions from Humanity’s Last Breath who contribute a thicker sound to make the music more foreboding, along with the symphonic backdrop to make it sound more grandiose and spoken word sections.
‘Charon’ is finally where Hurakan seem to really break ground, offering a track where they stand on their own with no guests. The music is a mix of symphonic deathcore and death metal with plenty of faster and slower moments, but the breakdown riffs at the end along with symphonic humming is what will really draw in attention. Even the guitars seems to have their technical moments rather than being just low rumbling repetitive riffs that tends to populate a lot of more generic deathcore bands these days.
‘Asmodeus’ is where Hurakan showcase some of their more brutal drumming. A little more death metal with melodic riffs than deathcore, the track isn’t quite as interesting as some of the others but the machine gun burst drumming is certainly a highlight for the album. ‘Vagrant’ brings back the symphonic backdrop, but it is a little more restrained compared to a track like ‘Imperium.’ A bit more of a midpaced effort, it rides the line between deathcore and brutal death, so listeners might be unsure as whether to take it with full head banging force or more reserved step moshing. Either way the solo is worth checking out as Hurakan seem to have been a little lacking in that department so far on the album, but here they hit that note on fully.
‘Resurgence’ is back more with the symphonic deathcore, and here they really let it loose with the dramatic keys and slow down the riffs so listeners can actually enjoy it for once. Here we definitely get more of the Shadow of Intent influence/ sound, so this slower churn might make the album seem like its losing full steam, but it is just building momentum for the final effort. ‘Umbra’ slides in right after but feels like more of a continuation of the previous track with its similar tones and pace, though the pounding riffs and scratchy breakdowns definitely lean back towards the Brand of Sacrifice sound. The riffs are dark, evil, and dramatic without relying too much on the symphonic elements to carry them.
Finally comes the title track. Here Hurakan push their boundaries on two levels. For one, it is their longest track they’ve done so far in their career (spanning past seven minutes) and a full on instrumental. However, here they really add the symphonic elements for a grandiose closer that is more on par with the symphonic brutality of a band like Winds of Plague. It is very dramatic, very progressive, and possibly a glimpse at a whole new direction that Huarkan could go. The brutal factor is really toned down in favor of the violin, dramatic sweeping riffs, and just an overall building sensation of crushing drama that is fantastic for atmosphere. But, as a closer it goes out on more of a whimper than a bang, and possibly could have served as a stronger introduction track because it builds so much tension and then when the vocals of ‘Imperium’ hit it would have such a huge effect. Still, it shows that Hurakan can do more than just mid length brutal tracks and demonstrates the musicianship well as the guitars, drums, bass, and violin/ cello all do very well together, and leave potential that they may employ such a sound on future work.
Overall “Via Aeterna” is a fine example of death metal, symphonic metal, and deathcore blended together without one genre saturating the other too much. Hurakan should be proud of the accomplishment they did with this album as it is sure to become a fan favorite for the year 2022.
4 / 5 STARS