HYSTERIA - Night Closing In
December 23, 2019, a month ago
Despite tons of Def Leppard cover bands using the same moniker, Hysteria are a project featuring hotly touted up & comers: half of Hell Fire (last seen opening Death Angel's North American trek), aka Jake Nunn on vocals and drummer Mike Smith, alongside half of Haunt: guitarist John Tucker and Trevor William Church, usually a vocalist himself (son of Montrose bassist Bill Church), concentrating solely on guitar. Great to see these fledgling, traditional sounding American acts canvassing the world with as many releases as possible. A little more hard rock oriented than either Hell Fire's melodic thrash or Haunt's straight-up metal (since a side-project SHOULD differ from one's day job), but that doesn't mean the eight options don't offer any aggression and/or wild guitars. They do! Witness higher register "Prophets Of The Void". Forced to choose, musically, would give the nod as leaning closer to the energy inherent in Hell Fire, than Haunt.
Gritty, with a bit of speed, "Graveyard" sets the table, with a hint of Maiden-ish twin leads and a smattering of a cappella vocals. Mid-tempo "One Year" recalls Iced Earth. Staccato title track (complete with six-string ear candy) sees Nunn employ a more forceful, shouted lyrical delivery. Smooth, infectious "Look Alive" is a step into unknown territory, sidling up to Twisted Tower Dire gems like "Snow Leopard" and/or "Make It Dark". Rarely lasting 3:30, only two cuts crack four minutes, with lyrically thin "Eyes Open" (at 4:26) being the lengthiest number. Thankfully, much of that "extra" time is devoted to guitar development. Keyboards (the only such inclusion) to introduce "Soldiers Of Tribulation" finale. Regardless of your opinion on Hysteria, make sure to also investigate Hell Fire and Haunt, part of the vanguard for the Next Wave.