Distributor/label: Melancholia Records
Buy Album: http://www.melancholia-records.com/product/hazpiq-cepheid-limited-digipak-edition
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/hazpiq/
Lylian Szpira – Drums
Joseph Levy – Bass Guitar
Siméon Nowotny – Guitar & Vocals
Imen Gardouh – Vocals (Album)
Manuel Rovaretti – Guitar
Mélody Denève – Vocals
2. From Dust
6. To Nothing
8. Mécaniques Célestes
9. Theory Of Everything
10. Cepheid (Radio Edit)
11. From Dust (Radio Edit)
A question for you, dear reader. How would you react to either reading or guessing a band’s influences, and then hearing them over the course of digesting their music? Validated? Bothered? Pleased for your newfound sense of purpose? It’s something that can be encountered when giving HAZPIQ’s latest “Cepheid” a spin, as their influences are patently not a mystery, and there are notable comparisons that can be made. But is it a bad thing?
Having formed in those young, carefree days of 2015, HAZPIQ’s “Cepheid” is the culmination of four years’ work. Boasting five official members (four of which recorded the album under scrutiny here), their musical leanings are said to be far-reaching and varied, thus offering “character” and “strength”, so sayeth the PR notes. But, unusually, this carries more weight than your standard accompanying guff. There are certain flavours and delicacies that can be found when sampling the album, but it’s the balance that offers a surprise.
The band lists, among others, TOOL, GOJIRA and OPETH as three of their influences, and you can certainly hear little bits of each throughout. Imagine a poncy wine-tasting session, where everyone sips their chosen adult grape juice, considers the various notes and flavour profiles before spitting into a bucket (in a flagrant and positively criminal demonstration of a waste of good alcohol). Now consider doing the same with “Cepheid” – our true curtain-raiser in “From Dust” bears some of the riffage in its opening throes of a “Watershed”-era OPETH, but metered by TOOL’s penchant for the off-kilter. Where the GOJIRA rears its head is in the heavier, screaming-led moments of the likes of “Epacte”: the drawn-out finale bawling and howling ferociously, giving such slight hints to the Brothers Duplantier et al.
The clean, ethereal passages of “Aphelion” and the album’s title track are amongst the album’s best works, gracing ambient territories whilst toeing the line of psychedelia somewhat. The variety that these chiming, arpeggiated sections with jazz-like bass lines offers the album is rather a testament to the band’s creativity and nous. The soaring vocals also hark to British prog metallers TO-MERA in their pomp which, when considering the jazz and worldly influences they used, gives another glimpse at HAZPIQ’s well-constructed sound.
“Cepheid” is rather a lengthy album, with only intro “Trailokya” clocking in under five minutes, so it’ll be a bit of a long one. Brevity is not something that must have crossed the band’s minds when writing for the album and, in places, that’s no bad thing. There are moments where proceedings struggle to get going (i.e. the intro to “Saros”), or wear on that bit too long (“Mécaniques Célestes”), but these could be considered almost youthful lapses in concentration. Let’s not forget, though, that debuts rarely smash things out of the ballpark, so HAZPIQ’s bow cannot be expected to get everything right.
That being said, there’s a lot that they do get right. So if you’re well into some progressive metal that has a pleasant DIY-sound and have thought to yourself, “Hey, I’d love to wrap my earballs around a band that has compiled some of the sweetest bits of TOOL, GOJIRA and OPETH”, then pull up a chair and assault those earballs. HAZPIQ have made their introductions felt with “Cepheid”, and while it isn’t perfect, it’s a welcome entrance to the metal world.