Poland's Praespe may trace their roots back to 1996, but "Hybrid Creation" is only their 3rd full-length release. For you see, from 1996 to 2002 they were known as Ars Moriendi and they were playing this black/death form of metal. Well, they are actually still incorporating some black and death metal into their sound, but we're getting ahead of ourselves. Their Facebook page mentions that early on (when they were still known as Ars Moriendi) they were influenced by all sorts of things from the usual (death/black/doom/thrash) to the not-so-usual (progressive rock/industrial/jazz-classical/movie soundtracks). In 2002 came the name change with a demo, "Pretentious Circle", following shortly thereafter. Why the name change? We can only guess. Anyway, following another set of demos, 2003's "Dance Of Eternal Madness" and 2005's "B Dead - Bizzare", the band finally issued a debut album in 2006. The oddly named "NGC 2632 v M44" set the stage for this Polish act and now, finally I know, we wrap our way back around to "Hybrid Creation". When the band formed back in 1996 they were a black/death metal outfit and now, with a little stream-lining (and the added addition of progressive and dark metal elements), they've achieved a nice balance between gnarly death metal and melodic/technical thrash. "Hybrid Creation", which was recorded in London and mixed & mastered in Poland by Widek (http://widekrecords.com/), is highlighted by the unholy vocals of Przemysław Kajnat (Eternal Deformity) who, in addition to unearthing these raw and sinister demonic growls, handles bass**. The rest of the line-up is filled out by guitarist Andrzej Komarek, guitarist Dominik Gryzbon (Themgoroth), drummer Balcer and guitarist Konrad. Studio guest musicians were as follows:
Destroyer - solo guitar in "Weakness"
Marcin - midi drums arrangements & programming
Paweł Kucyper - special sound effects
Vraath - bass
With 8 tracks total, and a run-time of 48:02 (per the Metal Archives), "Hybrid Creation" proved to a great way to start up my morning. On cassette you get a slightly gritty vibe which makes this release sound like an underground recording from the long-gone (and sadly missed) days of tape-trading. Whether one chooses to call this band progressive death metal, dark metal or a hybrid of death/black and progressive metal the tag doesn't really matter. What matters most is that this "little of this and little of that" Polish band is carrying on the fine tradition already established by so many of their fellow countrymen. Poland is well-known for having some of the best black and death metal acts out there and now, thanks to this cool little LP, everyone is able to see that the talent level there won't be drying up anytime soon!
*Cassette version released on Tridroid Records
** The Facebook page lists Przemysław Kajnat as Praesepe's vocalist/bassist while the tape I have just has him listed as vocals & arrangements. My best guess is that he handles both live while on this album Vraath actually did the bass work.