Huntsmen - Mandala Of Fear

27 Mar 2020 - Thorsten

Progressive-Metal | Prosthetic Records | Release date: 27 Mar 2020

Facebook Bandcamp Shop

Storytelling class for progressive metal bands, Advanced Level: Endgame

There are bands who like singing about literature – Maximo Park; there are bands who like storytelling – Mastodon; and there are bands who create complete worlds and setting for their stories which then again is the basis for their music – Coheed and Cambria; or Huntsmen from Chicago. The difference between the latter two categories is simple: Storytelling often goes for one record only – you may also compare Bowie’s different records each based on one individual plotline – be it Ziggy or be it Nathan. Creating whole settings, characters, plot lines and everything that transcend one record and encompass all that the band tries to release is a very difficult task (especially if you are developing the story yourself and not using a story out there). Nevertheless, Huntsmen seem to stand the test of musical relevance and literary conciseness and inner-plot-logic.

The story they set out to bring to the world is about a post-apocalyptic, post-war wasteland (whose precise location is yet not given) where the audience follows the former soldier who must find her way through barren landscape after a failed mission and who is joined on that odyssey by a man who first (among others) rescued her from a bunch of “pirates”. On that journey they find not only some obstacles and solutions but also …

Oh this already got you? Then go on and listen to the album which musically is as diverse as one could imagine a progressive alternative metal to be. Progressive because the now-quintet (after former help Aimee Bueno is now a full-time member providing the voice for the soldier. Alternative because the band definitely has a knack for writing very well-tuned melodies, but never frightening with proggish scales and interludes, licks or solos. They deliver 13 songs in 78 minutes (spread out across two vinyls) and very often the basis of that is a good balance between 90s-style, grunge-influenced alternative metal (a bit similar to Intronaut but without the jazz elements) and well-interwoven metal riffs that give the sound enough depth with their small details (a short drum blast, a swirling synth in the background, an upscaling guitar element). The most remarkable thing are the vocals, shared by Bueno and Chris Kang, which turn these duets into real conversations that can leave you spellbound.