Band: Híbrido | Album: I | Genre: Progressive rock, Heavy psych | Year: 2019
From: Algeciras, Spain | Label: Spinda Records
For fans of: Mastodon, Antemasque, Yes
Spain has thriving progressive/experimental rock and metal scenes, and Spanish bands have been featured on this site multiple times. The Spanish label Spinda Records is a recent discovery of mine, and they’re the sort of label I love. Based just north of the border with Gibraltar, they focus on underground, local acts that play progressive and psychedelic music. This support provides such acts with a valuable link to the outside world.
One act which particularly stood out to me was Híbrido. Híbrido’s music straddles a line between desert rock and more traditional progressive rock, which occasionally veers into the territory of a somewhat light version of post-metal.
The first song on I, “Pensando en un Eco de Instinto Interior” (“Thinking of an Echo of Inner Instinct”) is one of the more openly post-rock cuts on the album. The bassline is a chunky ostinato that maintains momentum under simple, slow guitar lines drenched in echo. This song feels like what Mastodon were aiming for on Emperor of Sand: something less insane than their earlier, frenetic sludge metal roots, but which still bears their distinct footprint.
“Nada, Nadie” (“Nothing, Nobody”) finds itself also wallowing in echo and delay effects, particularly on the vocals. The guitar lines are reminiscent of late ‘90s and early ‘00s alt rock, if that genre were filled with better musicians and songwriters. Nonetheless, this is the weakest track on the album. The melody feels somewhat forced, and a lot of alt rock was awfully forgettable. To top it all off, they could have trimmed this song down by another minute. There’s no reason for this to go on for five-and-a-half minutes.
The next track, though, is more befitting its runtime. “Escarlata” (“Scarlet”) features some very strong vocal harmonies, and the effects are dialed back to more reasonable levels. The underlying riff is intriguing, too; it’s got an irregular rhythm, and the ragged nature of the guitar strumming has a post-punk edge to it. Around the midway point, the song becomes much dreamier, and the bass has a great, Chris Squire-y bite to it.
I closes on its two longest tracks. The 13-minute “Les Pilules Vertes” (French for “The Green Pills”) feels the psych-iest of the tracks. The more modern touches of post-rock and stoner rock are diminished, and the extended instrumental moments recall early Pink Floyd at their most drone-y. This fact does occasionally lead to the band veering off track or meandering, but they’re usually quick to right themselves. “Ente” (“Entity”) opens in similarly cosmic realms, though the verses come crashing back to Earth with metallic intensity. Elsewhere in this song, influences as disparate as math rock, classic prog, and black metal are combined in marvelously creative ways. The song closes with particularly striking Mellotron-heavy prog topped with unclean vocals.
Híbrido’s debut is a strong starting point. I combines bits and pieces from all over the musical spectrum and plugs them into the framework of heavy psych in inventive manners. Certain passages on this album do lose focus on occasion, but that’s an occupational hazard in this realm. I’m excited to see what sort of creative directions this band takes in the future.