HINAYANA - Shatter And Fall / Digisleeve CD
After releasing just one demo EP, Austin, Texas based melodic death metal up-and-comers HINAYANA turned heads in 2018 with their self-released debut, Order Divine. After ensnaring the ears of Napalm Records A&R shortly after, they released their label debut, the Death Of The Cosmic EP, only months into the pandemic. Now, the band returns with their long-anticipated sophomore full-length, Shatter and Fall, out November 10, 2023 via Napalm Records - and it proves well worth the wait. Produced by frontman Casey Hurd and Kevin Butler with mastering by Dan Swanö at Unisound, the album serves as a darker, more solemn work in comparison to their debut, yet superior without question in songwriting, technicality and cohesiveness. Setting them apart from genre greats like Insomnium, Amorphis and Swallow the Sun, HINAYANA incorporate more modern, accessible elements, emerging as a fresh entry in this year’s most unmissable metal offerings.
Floating on a frigid breeze of clean guitar leads suddenly met with cavernous rhythm guitars, introductory track “Slowly Light Collides” opens the heavy gates of Shatter and Fall without hesitation, setting the stage for its impending intensity with a potent mixture of headbang-inducing heaviness and hair-raising melodies and harmonies. Second track “Mind Is A Shadow”, featuring guest vocals from Vincent Jackson Jones of Napalm Records labelmates and fellow American melodic death metal frontrunners Aether Realm, hits equally hard with a gripping, chunky verse riff and searing chorus. Frontman Casey Hurd’s deep growls juxtapose effortlessly with Jones’s skyscraper screams before a seizing solo from Erik Shtaygrud marks the track’s apex. Anthems like “How Many Dreams”, “The Answer” and enthralling groove machine “Reverse The Code” - the latter boasting one of the album’s most flourishing closer passages - march further into the icy depths with catchy chorus progressions, engaging verses and technical aptitude - proving Shatter and Fall as a multifaceted melodeath record blending progressive touches with punishing extremity. Powerful “Spirit And Matter” and somber yet essential, spine-tingling “Triptych Visions” feature some of the album’s most melancholic and introspective moments, traversing expansive peaks and valleys of deep metallic intensity and some of the album’s most delicate, acoustic-driven moments. The implementation of diverse styles, showcased by the varied instrumentation and intensity of songs like touching interlude “From Our Darkest Moments”, versus massive, crushing sonic saga “Lost To Flame”, poise the band for undeniable recognition. All-consuming single “A Tide Unturning”, featuring guest vocal contributions from labelmate Tuomas Saukkonen of Finnish melodic death icons Wolfheart, shines as the most desolate summit of Shatter and Fall, serving as one of the most brutalizing yet pensive ballads of 2023. The album ends on the grimmest note of all with blackened closer “Taken”, a re-recorded, renewed look back at a track originally released on the band’s 2014 demo Endless - marking an apt finish to an contemplative, emotional album tangling with themes of fate, grief and inevitable consequence.
Shatter and Fall not only proves itself as an impressive sophomore entry for HINAYANA, but a benchmark in the annals of American melodic death metal history!
1. Slowly Light Collides
2. Mind Is A Shadow feat. Vincent Jackson Jones
3. How Many Dreams
4. Spirit And Matter
5. From Our Darkest Moments
6. Reverse The Code
7. Lost To Flame
8. The Answer
9. Triptych Visions
10. A Tide Unturning feat. Tuomas Saukkonen
11. Taken (Re-Recorded)