HYPNOTIC DRIVE - Road Rage

Hypnotic Drive - Road Rage

12 songs
49:59 minutes
***** **
M & O

Bandpage

Two years after their first album Full Throttle, Parisian stoner rockers Hypnotic Drive are back with their successor Road Rage, which unlike the self-released debut has been released on a record label. Itís obvious quite early on that some progress has been made, especially in matters of production. Where the debut still sounded a little shaky here and there, the band took care to get a powerful sound for the twelve songs on the new record.

Road Rage begins with Warm Up, starting with a vintage car that takes some convincing to get its motor running, before this intro turns into a moody instrumental piece which may have good intentions but at three minutes just takes too long and somehow robs the album of its initial momentum it could have got with the following track Blackwood Child for which the band made a video clip partly filmed at their 2019 show at the Hellfest, the biggest annual festival taking place in France. The vocals sound like a mix between Volbeat and Danzig, and always work best for me when they are harsher and less melodic. The chorus is actually quite good, with a fat groove delivered by the rhythm section and the guitar unleashing quite the deadly riffs. This is followed by the fierce Night Hunters, at a little over two minutes the albumís shortest track that even flirts with some hardcore influences. With Who Am I, Hypnotic Drive show that they are also adept at mid-tempo groove metal with maybe a little hint of doom metal added just for good measure.

The album continues with a mix of mid-tempo groove rockers and faster material, with highlights being The Curse with some good melodies and Promises that towards its end suddenly and surprisingly increases its pace to great effect. But is also must be noted that Road Rage is a good ten minutes longer than the debut, which honestly was just long enough for what the quartet intended to do. After repeatedly listening to the new album, I always end up feeling that two or three songs less would have made this a more striking listening experience.

In the end, Road Rage shows a matured band that still has room to improve though. The better production works definitely in the bandís favour. A little restraint in the future would possibly enable Hypnotic Drive to distil their sound into a more manageable length. Until then, fans of stoner rock that donít mind a certain metal attitude should check out these French guys. Paris may not have a desert, but you will smell the dusty road when listening to Road Rage.

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