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Andreas Kisser - "Hubris I & II" (CD)

Andreas Kisser - "Hubris I & II" CD cover image

"Hubris I & II" track listing:

CD 1
1. Protest!
2. Euphoria / Desperation
3. Eu Humano
4. The Forum
5. Virgulandia
6. God’s Laugh
7. R.H.E.T.
8. Em Busca Do Ouro
9. Lava Sky
10. A Million Judas Iscariotes

CD 2
1. Sad Soil
2. Worlds Apart
3. Breast Feeding
4. Page
5. Domenicana
6. Vivaldi
7. 0120
8. Armonia
9. Hubris
10. Mythos
11. O Mais Querido

Reviewed by on November 16, 2009

"While inconsistent and probably an average record in a vacuum, the expectations of pounding samba metal crushes this album before it even gets going."

The weight of expectation almost always plays a hand in common perception, and fairly or unfairly, Andreas Kisser has been caught by his past. Guitarist for Brazilian metal beasts Sepultura, Kisser has struck out on his own and released “Hubris I & II.” While inconsistent and probably an average record in a vacuum, the expectations of pounding samba metal crushes this album before it even gets going.

When opening the digi-pack, it is clear the Kisser hasn’t helped himself with the notes. The listener is greeted with the following: “Excessive pride, wanton violence, insolent attitude. Magnificent. Untamed. Fearless.” Coming from a Sepultura guitarist, that is really promising something fantastic. And unfortunately it’s clear from the get-go that this album isn’t going to deliver.

“Protest!” is an odd combination of dissonant guitar notes, and “Euphoria/Desperation” has an eastern, almost introspective quality to it, despite the distorted riffs. These songs would be a better fit in Steve Vai outtakes than an album containing “wanton violence.” The odd fits continue, as “Virgulandia,” “Fod’s Laugh,” “R.H.E.T.” and “Em Busca Do Ouro” all play like Pearl Jam filler songs from their navel gazing days. But there are a couple sweeps arpeggios hidden in there, just to make sure you remember that the insolent attitude is still intact.

The second acoustic disc is better than the electric first disc. Despite the fact the “Sad Soil” features an electric guitar solo above a simple acoustic scale, this song offers something that the first disc did not – personality. While “Sad Soil” may not be the most groundbreaking thing ever, it is clear that Kisser wrote the song from scratch, instead of assembling some eclectic instrumental parts and slapping them together.

The second disc proceeds nicely. Not trying to be bombastic or live up to the previous claims, the second disc takes time to relax and breath, and Kisser’s musicality comes to the fore. “Worlds Apart” has such a simple melodic theme that it is enchanting. “Page” gets a little more zest going but can still sit comfortably around the campfire, and “Armonia” is an awkward and beautiful little piece. All is not excellent on the second disc however, as “Hubris” is a total misfire, and “Vivaldi” is a classical Spanish-style guitar piece that is better left to Rodrigo y Gabriela.

After a long and complex journey through 21 original songs, it is clear that Kisser does his best solo work when he plays without pretense. Instead of using his background as a point of reference for listeners, a clean departure from his past would have been best. This would have allowed him to focus on his innate musicality, and maybe his editing skills as well.

Highs: Some of the acoustic pieces are gorgeous – “Worlds Apart” and “Armonia” are particularly fantastic.

Lows: Kisser can’t find his solo identity on the electric pieces, and most are bad, boring, or both.

Bottom line: Sepultura’s guitarist shows his good and bad sides on this ambitious double disc.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)