I work at a stoner rock label, manage stoner rock bands, book stoner rock tours, and listen to a LOT of stoner rock and what I always say is that as much as stoner rock is a great genre; it's an easy genre to play poorly. In other words, there are a lot of boring records that come across my desk on a daily basis. This is a huge part of what makes the debut from Hyborian such a thrilling listen for me personally. This record is a masterpiece—a statement to all about what this music can be—pushing towards grander futures.
It's the sort of potent hard rock hallelujah that we have needed for a long time to inject new life into a genre so full of imitators. Where many stoner rock bands come off as generic or overplayed; Hyborian brings a new sense of hunger to the genre and their explosive sounds can't help but fascinate. This is the sort of music that got me into the genre in the first place. What sets Hyborian Vol. 1 apart from the pack is the band's ability to fuse riff upon riff with top-notch songwriting. These tracks are put together almost scientifically.
Listening to any individual Hyborian track is an adventure from start to finish. It's thrilling to get to sink your teeth into some of these songs as they revel in the murk and force you out into the light. There is a sense of fun with these songs; their high powered beats and major key riffing are simply undeniable. If you don't find your first pumping as you bop along to some of these tracks, maybe stoner rock just isn't for you.
Despite the generally upbeat quality of the music, don't think that this is merely good times party rock. There is a lot of depth here that serves to make this release endlessly fascinating—begging you to sink your teeth into even the darkest moments. As polished and put together as Hyborian might be, they still are aware of the importance of the almighty Black Sabbath lying at the heart of their genre. There is something inherently mesmerizing about this release. The monolithic riffs on tracks like "Blood For Blood" are defined by thrilling and over the top energies that blast through your speakers and into your soul. The decimating might of the down-tuned guitar shares center stage only with some of the best tone I have heard on a stoner rock record in a long time.
Again, I live and breathe this stuff, but so much of it is boring. Fortunately, Hyborian cut the fat that usually accompanies stoner rock; instead focusing on massive hooks, powerful vocals, and the type of tunes that will get your heart pumping. This is stoner rock for the modern age that enthralls and overwhelms—pushing you into a brave new world of pure rock and roll absolution. Get ready to crush a beer, these guys aren't gonna wait for you!