For this outing, Swiss post-rock act Hubris explore the cycle of life and death, but most importantly, the press release notes, ‘as its name suggests, reincarnation and rebirth’. The album is built around half a dozen quite lengthy compositions, which draw their inspiration from Greek mythology. The intention is to invite the listener on ‘a musical journey through the tales of Hepius, Dionysus, Icarus and his father Dedalus, Adonis and Heracles and to reflect on how their stories may mirror your own’.
The endurance of classical mythologies lies in the way they do resonate through the ages and engage with the human condition, the very core of what makes us human, and for grand philosophies, that reach deep, their merits are indisputable. Is it a bit pretentious, a bit high art for mass consumption? Not when we’re in the domain of post-rock, and if ever a contemporary genre was suited to convey grand themes via the medium of music, it’s post-rock, and Hubris have definitely got the chops for it, and manage to convey a vast range of moods and sensations instrumentally.
For the most part, ‘Metempsychosis’ is very much in the vein of the acts they incite comparisons to: Russian Circles, Sigur Ros, This Will Destroy You, Pelican. The post-rock greats, in short.
Chiming guitars ripple and interweave, rising in ever-increasing layers through gentle passages, gradually transforming into shimmering peaks.
‘Dionysus’ locks into an electro dance groove with stammering synths and rolling piano that’s a bit enigma, a bit The Beloved at first but builds into something altogether proggier after a couple of minutes before coming to an abrupt halt and reverting to form of spacious, reverby guitars, picked and delicate. It takes a while to build back up through a succession of surging, sustained crescendos, and it’s followed by the relentlessly muscular drive of ‘Adonis’, which in turns contrasts with the sparse ‘Icarus’ with its sampled narrative track.
It's on the closer ‘Heracles’ that everything comes together perfectly: they cut loose for an explosive climax around the mid-point.
Conceptually, ‘Metempsychosis’ is epic in every sense, including the most literal, and in their musical interpretation, Hubris do it justice.