HIBRIA - Defying the rules (2004)
1. Intro 01:56
2. Steel Lord on Wheels 03:54
3. Change Your Life Line 04:25
4. Millennium Quest 06:51
5. A Kingdom to Share 05:37
6. Living Under Ice 03:45
7. Defying the Rules 05:49
8. The Faceless in Charge 06:58
9. High Speed Breakout 05:01
10. Stare at Yourself 07:45
Tip: Turn up the volume for best results
The album starts out with an awesome riff on "Steel Lord on Wheels" with soaring vocals and drums hammering down, annihilating everything in sight. The first song itself hints about the things to come. The next song "Change your life line" proceeds in the same vein. "Millenium Quest" has great bass solo in the middle. One thing that stands out beyond the great instrumentation and vocals is the production on the album which is quite brilliant to say the least considering that this their debut album. Every instrument can be clearly heard, even the bass. This is not one of those bands who are ashamed to show their bassist off. Also, the songwriting is exquisite and none of the songs get boring even though most of them hit the 5:00 mark consistently.
Then comes one of the first and I still believe, the best power metal songs to be ever written with a brilliant bass solo to begin and a thunderous and catchy riff which serves as the backbone for the entire song. The guitar solo is also very prominent and the chorus will stick in your head forever. Next comes "Living under Ice" which is a bit ballad-like but Hibria know how to keep it short and effective. The title song "Defying the rules" starts of with cool drum solo and then an ultra fast riff which grabs you by your ... and does not relent till the end, although there is a slow bass/vocal bridge in between. Then come "The Faceless In Charge" (which has the best bass/guitar duel of all) and "High Speed Breakout" which are also equally effective and scream heavy metal from the word go. Hibria wanted to keep their progressive songwriting for the last song "Stare at your Yourself" which has moments of total brilliance with perfect time changes throughout. It is progressive without it being total guitar wankery (DT anyone).
This is one of my favourite power metal albums alongside BG's "Imaginations from the other side", Helloween's "Keeper of the seven keys II", Lost Horizon's "Awakening the world", Kamelot's "Fourth Legacy", Jag Panzer's "Ample Destruction" etc.
People who like keyboards in their daily dosage of metal stay away from this one(stratovarius, sonata arctica anyone).
Best features of the album:
-excellent riffs and leads throughout the album
-cool basslines with occassional bass solos
-great drumming with nice fills and no overuse of double bass.