Hibakusha - Prophet of Numbers - (8.5/10)
Published on May 19, 2018
Genre:Djent / Progressive Metal / Groove
There’s no reason to delay the inevitable—Dutch djentlemen Hibakusha sound alarmingly similar to Swedish godfathers Meshuggah. This aping, copycatting, genuflecting, or whatever you wish to deem it will likely dissuade the more finicky groove-head (if there is such a type) from ever listening to Prophet of Numbers, the band’s stunningly mature full-length debut. And that’s fine, because those with a hankering for all the odd-timed bang and bluster redolent of a Meshuggah record will have this one spinning with constancy.
Released some two-and-a-half years after their debut EP, the five-track Incarnation, the band’s premiere long-player exudes professionalism and no shortage of thoughtfulness in its embroidery of pummeling drums and quasi-melodic, ever-intense riff-play. The atmosphere is expectedly mechanical, otherworldly, but the record’s steady heartbeat of pulsating groove lends a sentience to the otherwise sterilized and fantastic production. The instruments are given equal screen time here, with a punchy, omnipresent bass adding sagely to the robustness of Prophet of Numbers, and vocalist Twan, very much akin to Jens Kidman, wields an impressively defiant roar that he routinely stretches into a skin-tearing screech.
It’s first and foremost an adrenalizing listen, but the album is not without its more fragile moments, as can be found on the gentle “Wanderers,” the ominous closer “Mundus Vult Decipi,” or in the open terrain of tracks like “Entropy” or the monstrous “Chasm.” But the album’s burliness and contagious grooves are of course the selling point here, and I’d be remiss to not mention the hard-driving “Infrequently Vile” or the uber-dense fist-slammer “Fractals.” Hibakusha—which means a survivor of the atomic blasts that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki—have delivered a tremendous first full-length effort that, yes, sounds like Meshuggah, but also quickly constructs its own cairn atop the djent mountain-top with a strikingly well-balanced performance.