Despite numerous attempts by others to define Hybrid Nightmares by genre, we have managed to abstain from labeling ourselves. Are we influenced by black metal bands? Yes. Do we admire and respect cross over bands like Dimmu and Satyricon? Certainly. We love these bands and their sound but we have come to appreciate the difference between "sounds like" and "reminds me of". This article is not about genre defining as Ben has covered that subject comprehensively in previous posts. This is a delve into the musicians and their craft that have gone into the melting pot to create our signature sound.
This is my list if the top five songwriters that influence my part in the Hybrid Nightmares writing process:
The bloke is a genius, whether with the incredible Emperor or on his solo work. His free flowing and seemingly effortless ability to make riffs and progressions move from one to another is something I try to capture. He knows when a lead needs to stand out and when vocals or drums should be the center of attention. He is ahead of the curve and I try my darnedest to keep up.
2: Matt Heafy (Trivium)
Matt is also an Ihsahn devotee but as most will know, Trivium is far from black metal. I love Matt's sense of timing and melody, he uses very strange vocal patterns that sometimes defy conventional singing placement. He doesn't pretend to be something he's not, and writes music he enjoys which is Hybrid Nightmares top priority.
3: Rob Flynn (Machine Head)
Rob puts songs together as if he can hear the crowd singing or headbanging along while he's jamming it out. Each verse and prechorus builds the anticipation and he delivers massive choruses that you can't help singing along to. He understands song dynamics and I try to emulate his way of structuring songs.
If you haven't heard 2012's RIITIIR, do it right after reading this and checking out the new merch. That album has been the single biggest influence on my writing for the new Hybrid material. They push boundaries and craft songs using techniques from almost every genre of music. They aren't afraid to try big melodic choruses alongside roots black metal riffs and jazz inspired progressions. I will forever try to capture the incredible atmosphere and uniqueness of these guys without ever tarnishing their music by ripping it off.
5: The Rev Jimmy Sullivan (a7x)
Curve ball. Totally not metal. Not gonna try and tell you they are. But what The Rev was able to do in Avenged was truly remarkable. He took them from metalcore teen panty wetters to the diversified and multi faceted hard rock band we saw on self titled and Nightmare. He fused elements of latino, blues, country, opera and whatever you'd call Mr. Bungle with Avenged's signature duelling guitars and vocal hooks. I know they are fruity as hell, but they are great musicians and I take a lot of my influences from them. The party beat in Thrown to the Wolves is a great example of us using their harmonized guitars and up beat drums to foreshadow the heaviness of the chorus riff. Love 'em or hate 'em, they are a big part of my musical inspiration and Hybrid Nightmares would sound very different if not for their input.
So there you go, for my part in the writing of Hybrid Nightmares material, these are the guys that I make reference to. In case you thought a7x was a one off, I also love and respect HIM, Muse and Katy Perry. No regrets. True Aussie Poser Metal.