Hinayana – Death Of The Cosmic – EP Review

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Artist: Hinayana

Album Title: Death Of The Cosmic EP

Label: Napalm Records

Date of Release: 28 August 2020

I can bet that there are not many readers of this website who are already familiar with the name Hinayana, despite the band being alive and well since 2014. Naming themselves after the Sanskrit term literally translated to mean the ‘smaller vehicle’ or ‘lesser path’ to enlightenment, this Texas-based melodic death doom metal band have released a demo and a 2018 full-length album, ‘Order Divine’, which drew them to the attention of Napalm Records. ‘Death Of The Cosmic’ is a five-track debut EP for the heavyweight metal label and, based on the content of the music, should raise the band’s profile considerably.

Beginning life as a one-man band at the hands of Casey Hurd, the band has now swollen to become a five-piece that’s now comprised of guitarist/vocalist Hurd, alongside guitarist Erik Shtaygrud, drummer Daniel Vieira, keyboardist Michael Anstice, and basist Matt Bius. Together, theirs is an intriguing and, if I may say, instantly likeable brand of melodic death doom metal that is dark, atmospheric, weighty and satisfyingly heavy.

From the outset, it is clear that the Americans are not in a hurry; the bulk of the material lumbers along at a muscular, churning, slow-mid tempo. There’s a focus on atmospherics, and colossal strength in the riffing and stately, commanding rhythms, not to mention enormous swathes of keys and some simple yet arresting melodies along the way. If anything, even though it is a heavy, bruising record, there’s a serenity to it as well, as if the music coming from the speakers has been effortlessly hewn from ages-old volcanic rock.

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This is immediately underlined by the opening song, the title track. A delicate melody emerges from the layers of atmospheric synths, before erupting into a crushing riff that supplements rather than destroys that initial melody. After the early burst of power comes an acoustic guitar, whispered vocals and a simple drum/bass combo. As the song builds in intensity again, we hear the impossibly deep and gravelly tones of Hurd, before the pace picks up to deliver brief spurts of faster riffs and drum blasts. All the while, the heaviness is wrapped in the warmth of those abundant synths. The acoustic guitar dips in and out of the song, to demonstrate the softer side of the band, whilst a well-placed solo puts the emphasis on death rather than doom to great effect. The more I listen, the better this composition becomes and has me salivating for the remaining four songs.

Having set their stall out in the first five minutes of this EP, Hinayana offer few surprises as ‘Death Of The Cosmic’ develops. That said, the riffs within ‘Cold Conception’ are excellent, as is the appearance of the late Nature Ganganbaigal of Mongolian folk metal band Tengger Cavalry, which adds a haunting quality to the song. And ‘Yet Here I Wait Forever’ is a stunningly beautiful instrumental piece that more than ably demonstrates the softer, more nuanced side of Hinayana. It features some beautiful, ethereal melodies within its delicate framework.

The final two tracks are entitled ‘In Sacred Delusion’ and ‘Pitch Black Noise’ respectively, and they return to that excellent formula of thunderous power and soothing beauty. ‘In Sacred Delusion’ features a guest appearance from Hanging Garden’s Toni Toivonen but the standout element is the melodic intent of the music, making it very hard to not instantly make an impact. In contrast, ‘Pitch Black Noise’ is a crushing composition right from the word ‘go’. The riffs act like molten lava, the bass thunders, the drums pummel and the synths lace the material with an air of calm contemplation to juxtapose the heaviness elsewhere. And yet, for all its menace, melody remains an important facet, seeing out the EP in a memorable manner.

All too quickly, ‘Death Of The Cosmic’ comes to an end. After nearly 24 minutes to be reasonably precise. However, the time has been spent wisely, with each of the five tracks offering something to get immersed within. And, with a mastering job undertaken by Juho Raiha of Swallow The Sun fame, this self-produced release also benefits from a robust and pleasing sound, allowing the strength of the music to come through and not be lost to a weak, underwhelming sound. I really can’t wait to hear what the Hinayana/Napalm Records partnership offers next; I hope it’s a full-length release because this EP has left me wanting more.

The Score of Much Metal: 85%

Check out my reviews from 2020 right here:

Oceans Of Slumber – Oceans Of Slumber
Okyr – Premorbid Intelligence
Manticora – To Live To Kill To Live
Pain Of Salvation – Panther
Vanishing Point – Dead Elysium
Unleash The Archers – Abyss
Veonity – Sorrows
Nyktophobia – What Lasts Forever
Ages – Uncrown
Awake By Design – Awake By Design
Black Crown Initiate – Violent Portraits Of Doomed Escape
Gaerea – Limbo
Buried Realm – Embodiment Of The Divine
Navian – Reset
Selenseas – The Outer Limits
Quantum – The Next Breath Of Air
Ensiferum – Thalassic
Long Distance Calling – How Do We Want To Live?
Airbag – A Day At The Beach
Re-Armed – Ignis Aeternum
Atavist – III: Absolution
Frost* – Others EP
Darker Half – If You Only Knew
Atavistia – The Winter Way
Astralborne – Eternity’s End
Centinex – Death In Pieces
Haken – Virus
Pile Of Priests – Pile Of Priests
Sorcerer – Lamenting Of The Innocent
Lesoir – Mosaic
Temnein – Tales: Of Humanity And Greed
Caligula’s Horse – Rise Radiant
…And Oceans – Cosmic World Mother
Vader – Solitude In Madness
Shrapnel – Palace For The Insane
Sinisthra – The Broad And Beaten Way
Paradise Lost – Obsidian
Naglfar – Cerecloth
Forgotten Tomb – Nihilistic Estrangement
Winterfylleth – The Reckoning Dawn
Firewind – Firewind
An Autumn For Crippled Children – All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet
Havok – V
Helfró – Helfró
Victoria K – Essentia
Cryptex – Once Upon A Time
Thy Despair – The Song Of Desolation
Cirith Ungol – Forever Black
Igorrr – Spirituality and Distortion
Nightwish – Human. II: Nature.
Katatonia – City Burials
Wolfheart – Wolves Of Karelia
Asenblut – Die Wilde Jagd
Nicumo – Inertia
The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous
Omega Infinity – Solar Spectre
Symbolik – Emergence
Pure Reason Revolution – Eupnea
Irist – Order Of The Mind
Testament – Titans Of Creation
Ilium – Carcinogeist
Dawn Of Ouroboros – The Art Of Morphology
Torchia – The Coven
Novena – Eleventh Hour
Ashes Of Life – Seasons Within
Dynazty – The Dark Delight
Sutrah – Aletheia EP
Welicoruss – Siberian Heathen Horde
Myth Of I – Myth Of I
My Dying Bride – The Ghost Of Orion
Infirmum – Walls Of Sorrow
Inno – The Rain Under
Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre
Mindtech – Omnipresence
Dark Fortress – Spectres From The Old World
The Oneira – Injection
Night Crowned – Impius Viam
Dead Serenity – Beginnings EP
The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic
Deadrisen – Deadrisen
Blaze Of Perdition – The Harrowing Of Hearts
Godsticks – Inescapable
Isle Of The Cross – Excelsis
Demons & Wizards – III
Vredehammer – Viperous
H.E.A.T – H.E.A.T II
Psychotic Waltz – The God-Shaped Void
Into The Open – Destination Eternity
Lunarsea – Earthling/Terrestre
Pure Wrath – The Forlorn Soldier EP
Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering
Sepultura – Quadra
Dyscordia – Delete / Rewrite
Godthrymm – Reflections
On Thorns I Lay – Threnos
God Dethroned – Illuminati
Fragment Soul – A Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies
Mariana Semkina – Sleepwalking
Mini Album Reviews: Moloken, The Driftwood Sign & Midnight
Serenity – The Last Knight
Ihsahn – Telemark EP
Temperance – Viridian
Blasphemer – The Sixth Hour
Deathwhite – Grave Image
Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart
SWMM – Trail Of The Fallen
Into Pandemonium – Darkest Rise EP
Bonded – Rest In Violence
Serious Black – Suite 226
Darktribe – Voici L’Homme
Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga
A Life Divided – Echoes
Thoughts Factory – Elements

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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