Written by Kep
Hyperdontia – Hideous Entity
Death metal from Denmark/Turkey
Releasing November 12 via Dark Descent Records
Let’s try a little exercise. I want you to think of your favorite straight-ahead death metal outfit. Not techdeath, progdeath, dissodeath, blackened death, or death/doom—just killer riffs and roars. Picture the cover of their best album, play one of those riffs that you love in your head, the kind that sends you plunging straight into the pit. Got a band in your mind’s eye? Okay, good. Now I want you to consider something:
Whatever band you’re picturing, Hyperdontia is better.
Okay, fine, if you were thinking of Immolation you can have a pass. But that’s the only one I’m giving!
I’ve covered some fantastic death metal this year. I gave high marks to Malformity and Devoid of Thought and enjoyed the hell out of Grand Cadaver’s debut. There have been some badass albums I didn’t cover, too: Cerebral Rot, Gosudar, Helslave, Cannibal Corpse, Noroth, and Revulsion come to mind. Hideous Entity is better than all of them. Hell, it’s head and shoulders above their 2018 effort Nexus of Teeth, and that record is essential listening for modern death metal fans.
If you think I might be exaggerating, think again. It’s evident from the first massive chord and the deliberate, ponderous opening riff of lead single and album starter “Snakes of Innards” that something particularly grisly is on the horizon. The guitars of Mustafa Gürcalioğlu and Mathias Friborg fill the speakers with a tone about as substantial and foreboding as you’ll ever hear, providing the colossal bricks of a cyclopian wall of sound. A large part of Hyperdontia’s claim to fame in the death metal world is their beastly full-bore approach to riffing, and those compelling riffs are still here in copious amounts, but the band’s sound has ascended to a new plane on this album, led by the two axemen.
Hyperdontia have pulled exactly zero punches here. There’s not a track within Hideous Entity’s 39-minute runtime that doesn’t connect with devastating effect, and the listening experience is an addictive one. There are songs that will take your head off through sheer aggression and filthy, grinding riffs that snatch the lungs right from your chest instead of letting you breathe, like “Trapped in the Void” and “Wretched Mockery of Creation”. “Wretched Mockery” charges out of the gates with a muscular figure from the guitars and a heavily snare-driven rhythm from drummer Tuna before settling into a sort of breathless groove. That song also features another example of Hyperdontia’s elite musicianship: their effortless ability to shift tempos and rhythmic patterns on a dime without ever losing the “narrative” of the song. The transition into the first solo section is flawless, and the pieces of the track are fit so perfectly together that you might not even notice that before they return to the faster opening tempo, they subtly shift from 4/4 to 3/4 in the slower one.
That’s far from the only way that Hideous Entity showcases the industry-leading songwriting of this four-piece, though. Every track is chock full of nuance, which is not a word frequently associated with death metal. Take “Beast Within”, for example: it opens with a majestic angular riff in 7/4 in one guitar, which is joined by the second guitar in dissonant harmony and then the drums and Malik Çamlıca’s bass, gradually and then rapidly widening and increasing the depth of sound until the first entrance of Friborg’s monstrous roar coincides with the full force of the band. They morph seamlessly through a number of crushing riff styles, tempos, and meters, including a standout solo that mutates mid-passage like a goddamn video game boss, and though the angular opening riff never returns, the song all manages to maintain the spirit of it all the way through to its eerie end. There are also two of the album’s best features, which is a new aspect in Hyperdontia’s oeuvre: a bass solo. You’ll find these in several tracks, including rippers “Coils of Wrath” and “Lacerated and Bursting”, and every single one is magnificent. It’s one of those little extra somethings that helps to push the album to the very top of this year’s releases.
It’s hard for me to overstate just how well everything works on this record. Whether it’s one of the breakneck chugging grooves with blast beats, a stately solo guitar line with a surprising amount of plaintive nuance like at the beginning of “Impervious Veil”, a pseudo-melodeath riff replete with quick tremolo-picking and flavored with filthy pinches like in “Grinding Teeth”, or any one of the outstandingly gruesome guitar solos, Hyperdontia utterly nails every moment. All four members deliver elite performances and the ensemble is even better than the sum of the parts. A special tip of the hat is required for Greg Wilkinson, who handled production. He’s done fantastic work in the past, including for Body Void, Decrepisy, Ripped to Shreds, and High on Fire, but this might be his masterpiece. You won’t hear a more cavernous, more monstrous, more impeccably mixed death metal record anytime soon.
THE BOTTOM LINE
I probably don’t need to say it at this point, but Hideous Entity is my favorite death metal album this year. Hyperdontia will punch you straight in the mouth and knock your teeth with this record, whether you have the standard 32 teeth, a couple extra, or you’ve spent a bit too much time in the pit and are missing a few already. They’ve proved wrong anyone who might’ve been worried that they couldn’t follow up 2018’s Nexus of Teeth with a satisfying effort—this album is better than that classic by a long shot.
Favorite track: “Beast Within”