Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
Last month, the alternative indie rock outfit, Hidden History, released ‘Mysterion,’ a lengthy studio effort that was the result of over six years of tireless work. The namesake of the album is biblical in nature, referring to ‘divine mystery,’ or the long-awaited revelation of what God has planned for mankind. Right off the bat, I should make an important distinction: even though the group’s faith is a driving force behind their passion, this music is still pretty secular in nature. (Think Muse, Linkin Park, Incubus, etc.)
Touching first on the production of ‘Mysterion,’ I found a very well-organized effort. The mixes are perfectly mastered and every element of these rather complex songs feels articulate and meticulate. Overlapping string sections mash elegantly with distorted rock and roll and gritty lyricism and vocals. ‘Paradise’ is an excellent entry-way into that style. In fact, that track is a pretty good gauge of the band’s style. If ‘Paradise’ is far from something you dig, than you probably aren’t hopping in the right boat.
With that said, ‘Paradise’ isn’t the best track of the bunch, though it does stand defiantly as an intriguing number that truly exhibits what Hidden History is toying around with. ‘Black & Blue’ is a fantastic track as well, though I’d argue that ‘Cold Of Apathy’ is a beautiful culmination of what makes Hidden History a solid group. That intensified rocker is well-written, magnificently well-performed, and sonically compelling.
If there’s any major fault within ‘Mysterion,’ it’s that it doesn’t stand well as a full entity. Once Hidden History establishes their sound, they don’t deviate too far from the formula. (Hence why tracks like ‘Cold Of Apathy’ and the experimental ‘Mirror’ will feel like a breath of fresh air.) Many indie bands struggle with this, and I don’t count it against Hidden History too heavily. In future efforts, though, they need to focus more on creating different landscapes in these songs. Some of the tracks blur together and you lose track of what’s what - That’s never a good thing.
Hidden History is chock-full of potential. It’s not my choice of genre, but I can acknowledge when a band is doing it properly. I know plenty of indie music fans that would eat this up. (Mostly women, actually.) In any case, ‘Mysterion’ is an admirable effort worth checking out. In the future, I hope the group breaks themselves out of the box they’ve put themselves in. It’s a great place to be... for now. The next effort will be the true test of their longevity. Or lack thereof. We’ll have to wait and see.