I don’t want to say I was prepared to be let down by Hypnos 69‘s maybe-final LP, Legacy, when it was released earlier this year on Elektrohasch Schallplatten, but basically I was. Nothing against the Belgian classic proggers, but in my mind, an album of the same quality as 2006′s The Eclectic Measure just wasn’t a fair expectation to put on a band. I mean, The Eclectic Measure was a landmark, a thing of beauty. A once-in-a-career achievement.
Spoiler alert for anyone who doesn’t yet know: They did it. Legacy is a better album than The Eclectic Measure. It’s more developed in every way — guitarist/vocalist Steve Houtmeyers proving to be as talented a singer as he is a songwriter and a soloist — and although even as I gushed all over the record in my review, I wasn’t sure if the songs therein would prove as memorable as those from The Eclectic Measure, Legacy has proven strong in this regard as well. I’m just as likely to hum a flute part as I am to sing a lyric. The blend of elements on a track like the 18-plus-minute closer “The Great Work” is nothing short of majestic.
It’s not that they’re genre-less, or not completely aware of the context in which they’re making music. It’s simply that Hypnos 69 are in a class of their own. Legacy is a staggering collection of songs. There are days when I feel like I’m too tired to listen to it because I won’t have the energy to fully enjoy the experience, but my own worthiness aside, the growing and morphing appeal of Legacy‘s rich melodies and complex arrangements only means that the pleasure in listening is going to increase with age. One of the year’s best and then some.
Tags: Belgium, Elektrohasch, Hypnos 69, Top 20 of 2010