Hypersonic – “Kaosmogonia”


Italy’s Hypersonic has a real masterwork here that should catapult them into the fray of the big names of symphonic metal. Not just because it is a great blend of symphonic and metal elements, but how they stretch their sound with dissonant moments and extreme metal influences to land between the extreme and the melodic.

Hypersonic was founded in 2006 by drummer Salvo Grasso (Metatrone) and guitarist Emanuele Gangemi. They landed on a solid lineup by 2008 with twin brothers Dario and Francesco Caruso on keyboards and bass respectively and Alessia Rapisarda as their lead female vocalist. They released two full length albums with this lineup: “Fallen Melodies” in 2011 and “Existentia” in 2016. In 2019, Alessia left the band and Eleonora Russo took up the banner as the lead vocalist. They recently played at Elements of Rock in Uster Switzerland this year, so they are a viable live act as well.

The marketing of this album points to a sea change in the approach to writing and their sound. They mention doing a lot more listening and composition studies before taking on this new album. I was quite intrigued with the concept of the album in that it juxtaposes “kaos” and “cosmos” to explore the often inharmonious tendencies within the human person. This ticks a lot of boxes for me personally: intellectually stimulating concept album driven by the emotions of being human.

The album opens with a full on apocalyptic orchestral track with a backing choir. It is quite intense, setting the stage well for the rest of the album. Unlike most other symphonic metal bands that thrive on the consonance of the symphonic elements to contrast the harsh metal elements, Hypersonic employs more dissonance within the orchestra, which makes the music rather unsettling.

This is the first album with the new lead lady Eleonora on the mic and she does a great job. There are times that I would have wanted a little more grit to her delivery, but others she nails the theatrical elements of the music beautifully. Her timbre and pitch are similar to Alessia, keeping their female lead sound more or less consistent with their previous recordings.

They wield a mean orchestra to augment the power metal underpinnings of the songs. The tempos for the most part are pretty quick with fast double pedal bass drums and guitar riffs with palm-muted sixteenth notes. For the faster aggressive parts, we hear the orchestra with brass accenting hits, strings running scales and atmospheric choirs creating a densely intense vocal texture. To contrast, there are lighter moments with piano and softer sustained strings, but there is so much that is going on it is hard to catch everything the first time. It is best to just let the music flow over you to hear the bigger symphony unfolding. Each fresh listen reveals something new.

The songwriting is dynamic and deep. There is a melancholic undertone to the album with emotional flare-ups that show up in the ramping up and down of the orchestral elements. There is a more aggressive feel to Hypersonic this go around compared to “Existentia.” Death growls are sprinkled about and the guitars and drums are a little meaner. There seems to be more interest in conveying emotions than delivering6 melody. That isn’t to say that there aren’t memorable melodies, but there was a trade of sweet melody for a truly real human experience through music.

I get the feeling that they are trying to maximize the material in every song where some editing down may have improved the result. That said, the dense and dynamic textures of the music are quite captivating and engaging. There is a tendency to take time in development of musical ideas that I think works well for symphonic metal, but leads to longer songs, where the entire album is over an hour long. There seems to be an underlying story given the narration on many of the songs, which I think adds to the grandeur of the release.

To pull one song out as a hit would be to lose sight of the complete artistic work in this case. A few songs though I think help illustrate what they are about, starting with “Angels & Demons” that give a clear example of power metal with epic symphony supporting. The chorus of this song has one of the best melodic hooks on the album, showing that it is not all drama. “Veil of Insanity” showcases some eastern modes and the first song with death growls. The dynamics on this song are purely cinematic and so enjoyable. “My Sacrifice” shows how they use different melodic themes together over the course of the song demonstrating some of that chaos/order juxtaposition alluded to before. “Alone” is the lone ballad on the album with Eleonora supported by the orchestra, providing a breather in the midst of the high energy music. “Anima” is a truly unique track as it is not metal per se, but rather a late 19th century/early 20th century expressionist piano work that drips with melancholy. That said, it is heavier than most metal out there. It is a rather unsettling last track before the bonus orchestral instrumental version of “Mother Earth.”

“Kaosmogonia” is something unique and out of the ordinary not only for Hypersonic but for the genre of symphonic metal. They are adding in extreme metal influences and extended tonality from modern music theory to create this incredible inward-focused musical journey. For me, this is what music should be, not just sounding good but taking me places emotionally. It sounds like there was a lot of soul-searching in the development of this album and the result shows. I definitely recommend everyone checking this release out, even if you don’t think you like symphonic metal.

Rating: 9.0/10

Written by Sean Bailey

1 – Apeiron
2 – Angels & Demons
3 – Veil of Insanity
4 – Mother Earth
5 – You Bastard
6 – My Sacrifice
7 – Alone
8 – Path of Salvation
9 – Against Myself
10 – Revelation
11 – Burning Inside
12 – Anima
13 – Mother Earth (Orchestral Version)

Hypersonic is:
Eleonora Russo – vocals
Salvo Grasso – drums, vocals & arrangements
Emanuele Gangemi – guitars
Francesco Caruso – bass
Dario Caruso – keyboards

Mark Jansen (Epica)
Francesco Paoli (Fleshgod Apocalypse)
Francesco Ferrini (Fleshgod Apocalypse)
Emma Zoldan (Sirenia)
Nils Coubaron (Sirenia)
Male Choir from Teatro Massimo Bellini

Release Date: April 12, 2024

Record Label: Rockshots Records

Inspiration is Transpiration (EP) (2008)
Fallen Melodies (2011)
Existentia (2016)
Kaosmogonia (2024)

Social Media: Facebook | Instagram | Spotify

Video for ‘Mother Earth’

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