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What comes to mind when you think of Kansas City? Possibly the Chiefs -- they're going to the Super Bowl, as it turns out. Or barbecue sauce, perhaps, as the city can claim the most popular form of the condiment. Likely not Kansas City stoner metal, though, which is locally atypical with just a handful of bands laying claim to the title. One such disciple Hyborian is here to carry that banner into territories often uncharted by even the genre as a whole: while their stoner metal peers tend to garb themselves in mystifying layers of fuzz and walk in a smoky haze, Hyborian leads a furious vanguard into the halls of progressive metal and thrash alike. The industrious trio, envisioning a three-album story in total, has now parlayed their original fantasy and sci-fi concept into two hard-driving stoner metal albums. They unveil an offering from the second album today, a record dedicated to the last days of the universe. Watch the new video for their the track "Expanse" below, from their upcoming full-length Volume II.

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Flaunting a curiously addictive cadence and memorable vocal melodies, "Expanse" showcases Hyborian's white-knuckled approach to stoner metal, with razor-sharp production eliminating any possible distractions between the listener and the riffs. The guts of the song demand attention with exactingly precise patterning and clever fills, but the vocals are a strong contender to steal it away -- while Hyborian writing nifty songs is nothing new, the band's dual-voiced roar is freshly polished on Volume II and a boon to the material.

I've seen Hyborian live before, although it required braving the tail end of a snowstorm on a frosty Monday evening to see them play to a venue rendered tragically barren by the circumstances. With that experience, I can attest that while "Expanse" is certainly more polished-sounding than their last record's material, it derives from the same furious onslaught that I saw them deal out live -- only now their steely edge is forged into a stronger alloy than ever.

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Volume II releases on March 20th via Season of Mist.

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