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Ten years does a lot to a band. Hell, it does a lot to a person.

In the eleven years of silence that followed their last public outing, 2005's The Noise of Time, Chinese "harrowing" death/doom metal band Hyponic entered their pupal form and remained dormant. Now emerging from their self-induced hibernation after a decade of preparation with a new lineup, Hyponic's form is a unique revitalizing and reconstruction of the now-ages-old funeral doom formula.

For the initiated, this is not the Hyponic you remember. The melodic, crushing funeral doom of The Noise of Time and Black Sun's muscular, deathy doom metal were meditations on perfection in stylistic conservatism, but this is essentially a new band, or at least a shifted lineup with a new puzzle piece. The inclusion of "new" member Wah, who took over guitar and vocal duties in 2006 after former frontman Roy assumed percussion duties, shows this three-piece's music following a similar sort of reshuffling.

Make no mistake, 前行者, which roughly translates to "former monk," is a funeral doom album, but it is an abstraction based on the style's concepts. The music is slow and deliberate, but focuses more on big, cathedral-filling atmosphere instead of the soul-distorting thickness which generally defines the style. The feeling of dread associated with funeral doom is tenderly packaged deep within psychedelic expanse and ambient tension, slowly and steadily building to the few breathtaking, harrowing doom climaxes which explode from spine-breaking pressure. Hyponic's first effort in over a decade is careful, unique, and moves great weight en pointe - with a trained grace and fluidity. Simply put: This is unlike any funeral doom metal you've ever heard, if it could even be considered as such.

前行者 will see an August 10 release on legendary Japanese doom metal label Weird Truth Productions. Scroll below for an exclusive first listen to the tense fruition of eleven years' worth of waiting.

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