Hoplites - Τρωθησομένη (2023)Release ID: 43777

Hoplites - Τρωθησομένη (2023) Cover
Rexorcist Rexorcist / March 31, 2024 / Comments 0 / 0

Liu Zhenyang takes a new turn with this third project under the name Hoplites, having steered away from the death metal aspects of his previous two efforts and has now gone into crossover territory.  On this album, we have some distinct and powerful levels of blackcore that comntinue to use Zhenyang's excellent sense of crystal-clear production bringing out the best of noisy guitars.  You can hear everything perfectly in this extremely clean and never too-polished production, no matter what rapid pace the beat takes.  There is a punkish feel about it as elements of tech thrash, crossover thrash, metalcore and mathcore find their way in different places.  This sometimes makes certain songs feel shorter than they really are.  I was amazed that the fifth track was four minutes when it felt like two and a half minutes.  Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of variation that can be found in the emotional tone of the album, which was also a problem for the previous album, so while these songs are cool and have strong merits, don't expect the imagination that acts like Burzum and Emperor have achieved.  Still, I'm glad we have a black metal album willing to steer into thrashier and corier territory.  Strangely enough, the thrash aspects do more for the aggression than the dissonant death did on the debut album.  This gives songs like Hektropa a power that overtakes the senses.  So overall, thanks to an improved tone and aggression, this album is a fair improvement over the first album.

UnhinderedbyTalent UnhinderedbyTalent / May 22, 2023 / Comments 0 / 0

I have done countless double-takes on this album purely on the basis that this was all put together by one person.  A Chinese, one man bm project with an output frequency to rival Jute Gyte to boot.  As with Jute, there is a lot going on here.  The difference here is that not all of the content is bm.  As other site members have pointed out there are elements of thrash metal in here and the spazzing delivery of it all definitely smells of mathcore aesthetic (even though there is no such content per se).

Those punishing levels of dissonance do get lost in the swarming chaos overall for me and I find this to come across as being more confused than well fused together.  The variety in the content I sense (if I had the time and/or patience) is not that all far apart in terms of a range or scale of variation, but it is so inaccessibly pitched that I cannot bring myself to take the minutes out of my week to try and map out themes.  Do not get me wrong, for one man to deliver all this is astonishing, even though it doesn't work all that well for me I have to admire the work.  The fact that he is getting this out of a far flung corner of China is only all the more unbelievable.  But this admiration can only go so far when I am largely unable to recall any of the record despite playing it four times this morning.

Too many ideas flung at something is never a good combination for my ears and Τρωθησομένη is no exception I am afraid.

Daniel Daniel / May 06, 2023 / Comments 0 / 0

If there’s one thing the modern black metal scene is good for it’s one-man bands with every man & his dog seemingly having multiple solo projects on the go these days. If there’s another it’s super-dense & heavily compressed production jobs with the emphasis being more on darkness & atmosphere than clarity & precision in 2023. What’s not very common though is the existence of too many quality black metal acts from countries as heavily policed as China is & that’s what we have here. In fact, I’d suggest that Hoplites (who hails from the eastern coastal province of Zheziang) may well be the most significant metal act ever to hail from the land of the red dragon. He also appears to be one of those extreme metal acts who seems to want to release new material every other week which could be regarded as a gift or an affliction depending on your opinion of the artist’s general quality & consistency. Hoplites’ sophomore album “Ψευδομένη” was only released back in January of this year but here we are looking at Liu Zhenyang’s third full-length “Τρωθησομένη” which seems to be taking his reputation to greater heights again.

What we have here is quite a complex & inaccessible record that definitely requires some commitment before it’s true worth can be evaluated as its density can be quite daunting on first listen. I’d describe Hoplites sound as sitting well within the confines of the black metal spectrum with screaming high-pitched vocals, consistently brutal & blasting drum programming & abrasive & dissonant guitar work but there’s a strong thrash metal influence to some of the riffs with Saxy’s Vektor comparison not being all that far from the mark. The artificial nature of the drumming is certainly fairly obvious to the trained ear but I don’t think it’s enough to turn anyone off & would imagine that most untrained listeners probably wouldn’t even pick up on it, especially given that so many extreme metal releases utilize some pretty inorganic drum triggers these days. Liu has no doubt spent a fair bit of time on the programming as it can hardly be described as simplistic with a lot of nuance being put into the cymbal work. There’s an element of chaos to Hoplites’ approach here though which reminds me of the mathcore-infused sound of US black metallers Serpent Column, even though I wouldn’t say that I hear any actual metalcore on the record as such. It’s more the electric energy derived from the tendency to jump around a lot with little warning that draws that comparison. The strong focus on dissonance & experimentation in the guitar work perhaps unsurprisingly brings to mind French black metal gods Deathspell Omega which can’t be a bad thing in my book either.

“Τρωθησομένη” gets off to a splendid start with three of the first four tracks sitting amongst the album highlights. In fact, the A side is very strong indeed but unfortunately the B side sees the quality dropping a bit, admittedly not enough to see me becoming bored or impatient but there can be no denying that I thought I was headed for a higher rating early on. The final track “Θεῖα Δεσμά” was really the deciding factor there as it’s the only one of the ten tracks on offer that I find no enjoyment in. If it’d been replaced or omitted then I feel that a four-star rating was well & truly on the cards but, as it is, this inclusion provided me with just enough incentive to see me reducing my score to that of a respectable but inessential release. “Τρωθησομένη” is a suffocating but inherently record that probably offers more potential than it’s actually delivered  if I’m being honest.

Sonny Sonny / May 02, 2023 / Comments 0 / 0

OK, so a one-man black metal project, releasing their second album of the year only three months after the first, does not bode well too often I would suggest. Well, this time around the album doesn't feel like quite so much of a pummelling as that dealt out by January's Ψευδομένη, even though it is in a very similar vein. I feel the drum machine takes a bit more of a back seat, sounding a bit more pushed down in the mix, allowing the riffs more ear time, especially as the dissonant leadwork seems to be less persistent, a lot of the dissonance being derived from the constantly-shifting rhythms - aided by a more prominent bass sound. The riffs are, may I say, a bit more accessible, even verging on thrash riffs on a number of occasions and the whole affair feels less intense than on the previous album. That said, it still doesn't do a whole lot for me and I continue to struggle with the dissonant elements in the same way as I do with excess technicality - it just doesn't rev my engine to be honest. I can hear what is being striven for here, but it isn't my cup of tea and I don't have enough knowledge of the genre to judge exactly how successful Hoplites has been in his endeavour.


Release info

Release Site Rating

Ratings: 6 | Reviews: 4


Release Clan Rating

Ratings: 4 | Reviews: 3


Cover Site Rating

Ratings: 5


Cover Clan Rating

Ratings: 4

The North
Black Metal

Black Metal (conventional)

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