So there’s this band from France called HYBRID SHEEP and they’re pretty good. But I have to be honest…I hate the name. Those of you who know me know that when a band’s name sucks it’s really hard to get me to even give them a chance, but in this case I was curious. And I’m kind of glad I pressed PLAY. Free From the Clutches of Gods marks the bands full-length debut album and it will be released on December 2 via Tenacity Music. The record is a potent mix of Death Metal with some “core” elements. And by that I mean metalcore, deathcore, and so on. Now I am VERY picky when it comes to anything metalcore-related just because so much of it is breakdown-filled crap that I wanna gouge out my eyes sometimes. And some of the vocals are worse than a thousand nails on a thousand chalkboards. Luckily, HYBRID SHEEP keeps that stuff to a minimum.
As with many albums there were tunes I really dug and some that I didn’t. Early standouts to me were “Dead Rats Don’t Squeak” and “A Man Chooses…A Slave Obeys”, the latter of which is hands-down the best track on the disc. Closer “Maze of Streets” is another standout, along with “Plague of Locusts”. This is where you really get to see what this band is made of, and admittedly the music is tight and engaging, not just here but for most of the record. “System is Crumbling” shows the band letting the game come to them, and not rushing or hurrying anything. With all that said, there were a couple I wasn’t wild about.
“Liars Promises” and “We Were Giants” kind of just lumbered along and didn’t give me any cause to hit REPEAT, unlike the second half of the album. Plus the core screams are a bit much for me here. Opener “An Illness Called Callousness” and follow-up “Dark Passenger” serve as a great way for this band to introduce themselves and let the world know they mean business. At the end of the day I liked Free From the Clutches of Gods. It’s a solid debut from a band that could seriously go places. They just need to tone down some of the screechy vocals. But other than that you can definitely call me a fan of HYBRID SHEEP, and it will be interesting to see not only how well this record is received but also what they’ll do next. Check them out and see what you think!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “A Man Chooses…A Slave Obeys”, “Dead Rats Don’t Squeak”, “Maze of Streets”, “Plague of Locusts”