Even with the sometimes prejudice inherent in the industry, music usually offers a level playing field for both sexes. Hysterica, the all female metal band from Sweden, can certainly hold their own against their male peers in the traditional metal scene. This is once more evident in their sophomore release, The Art of Metal.
Musically, the girls in Hysterica are basically staying the course. The Art of Metal is packed with very good traditional melodic heavy metal, more often on the power metal side, sometimes, as on Message, a slower almost doom side. Fighters of the Century, Live or Die, the pure metal of Force, and the short yet frisky Heels are top notch classic heavy metal songs. But, and you were probably sensing there was going to be an objection, Hysterica has added something else, something not necessarily becoming to their great heavy metal.
It seems vocalist Ani De Vil is, hopefully, at the very best, only experimenting with gruff death vocals on this album. Frankly, she's actually good at them, notably on Fighters of the Century. At the very worst, one hopes that this isn't for current commercial appeal or that it will continue. Simply speaking, De Vil has an excellent heavy metal vocal style, especially as a clean singer. Ultimately, then, this makes The Art of Metal a lingering disappointment to this listener.
Nevertheless, despite these reservations, on The Art of Metal, Hysterica still brings solid and entertaining traditional heavy metal, with even greater maturity. If you can suck it up and bear the harsh vocals, you'll like this album.
Despite my reservations with the inclusion of harsh/death vocals, on The Art of Metal, Hysterica still brings solid and entertaining traditional heavy metal, with even greater maturity. If you bear the harsh vocals, you'll like this album.