Aperion - Act of HybrisOriginally released in 2010, Aperion’s debut album “Act of Hybris” has been getting more attention in North America some time after it’s initial appearance. The band, who are based in Slovenia, have a surprisingly full and orchestral sound. With eight full-time members, they are know for layering symphonic and classical elements over a heavy metal backdrop, so that cello caresses aggressive drums and flutes soar above the crackle and rasp of electric guitar.

As the listener begins to dissect “Act of Hybris,” the record’s power metal backbone emerges as the layers of instrumentation are gradually stripped away. The song structures are grand, sweeping numbers with a distinctly romantic feel. The tempo tends to be on the slightly slow, restrained side, allowing for a wistful and wind-swept tone to creep into the narrative.

Aperion do an excellent job of balancing the powerful, muscular qualities of their sound, especially the strong basslines and percussion, with the more delicate trills and flourishes, so that neither aspect takes over completely and both effectively reign each other in.

As much as “Act of Hybris” is characterized by it’s strength, perhaps the most defining feature of the album is the sorrowful quality to it’s mood. The strings, especially the violin and cello, are played with a mournful, tremulous quality. Primary vocalist Zala‘s clear soprano voice is infused with a similar tone of sadness, casting a pall over the brightest passages of the album.

For fans of bands like Nightwish that feature strong, lovely female vocals and full, orchestral sounds, “Act of Hybris” is a fine debut. While their melancholy and soulful gothic rock is hardly ground-breaking, for fans of the genre there are some great tones and textures to enjoy.

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