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Kayo Dot - Hubardo CD (album) cover


Kayo Dot



3.98 | 127 ratings

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5 stars Following the highly impressive Coyote seems like it would be a daunting effort, but I don't think anyone would have anticipated that this massive double album would be the result. The only thing that makes this listener hesitate to proclaim this album as Toby Driver's masterpiece is that his work just keeps getting better with every release. That being said, Hubardo seems to represent a culmination of all the styles Driver has experimented with throughout the years, both with maudlin of the Well and Kayo Dot. It offers a seamless blend of dark, bleak black and death metal, progressive rock, jazz-rock, and post-rock elements. The listener is introduced to the experience through the slow build up of "The Black Stone", with Jason Byron's vocals set against a sparse, bleak sonic canopy, which then explodes in a furious manner. The next four tracks feature some of the most technically jaw-dropping display of instrumentation you'll hear anywhere, from the wild metal and organ-driven ride of "Thief" to the precise, unrelenting "Zlida Caosgi". The album offers respite from the onslaught with "The First Matter" and "The Second Operation", tracks that are designated as the end of the first and beginning of the second disc, respectively. "The First Matter" offers spacey, Floyd-like textures as the backdrop to a quiet, slightly droning vocal. Mia Matsumiya makes her brief yet indelible contribution on the "The Second Operation", where Driver has managed to really deliver a poignant sadness with his vocals and the harmonies he wrote. From this one is led to the unmitigated brutality of "Floodgate", featuring death vocals and among the best drumming from Keith Abrams, who throughout the album delivers one of the most stellar performances in modern music. The album winds down with the excellent crafted, post-rock inspired "And He Built Him a Boat" and "Passing the River", which starts quietly, builds up to a fierce crescendo, and gently ends with one of the most powerful moments of the entire record: the vocal of "he gave himself to the river" is goosebump enducing. Before concluding, also want to give massive kudos to guitarist Ron Varod for executing this vision so wonderfully with his playing. The record ends with an oddly whimsical, almost Canterbury-esque track, "The Wait of the World".

This is one of those albums that will stay with me for many, many years. One of those rare instances where I don't have to hesitate one second about awarding 5 stars, for me this is easily a masterpiece of progressive rock, a masterpiece of metal, and perhaps the masterpiece of Toby Driver's incredible and illustrious body of work.

Padraic | 5/5 |


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