Moments. Hyperborea is driven by moments. But it the awesome solo on Elegies, or the wonderful intro and outro ambient tracks, this album has lots of great moments that captivate the listener. But that’s also the problem. It’s just moments, not a complete album. There are a lot of parts of this record that really make me think of this as a upper tier black metal release this year, but for the other larger majority, it’s anything but special.
The majority of this album is complete generic melodic black metal, albeit done quite well. Sure, it has some fantastic heavy metal-esque solos, some wonderful synth work at times (something I value highly as it’s so rarely done right), and a generally appropriate and valuable use of 7th chords. But again, those come in moments. There is never an entire track where Ancestors Blood puts it all together into a complete performance. The band clearly shows that they have the ability to make great music in this record, but the way they do so makes it seem like they’re doing it by accident. Either that or they’re choosing to make this record average, which is even worse.
Hyperborea is absolutely not bad, it’s so far my favorite black metal record this year (not that that’s saying much). But I would’ve liked to have seen something that wasn’t just a high quality generic record. Listening to this record feels like eating at Olive Garden. Sure, it tastes good for how popular the restaurant is, but you know you would’ve had a better meal had you gone to an actual high quality italian restaurant.