Hyboid always works best best when going for bombast and epic scale, and Terrör of the Üniverse opens impressively in exactly this style, with a sweeping synth epic filled with neon harmonics and glittering fanfares.
Remember Astro Chicken? You know… that sadly short-lived label from 2010-11 with a penchant for obscure eighties computer game and sci-fi references that released a Hyboid mini-album in special “alien slime” packaging that eventually turned into gloopy yellow goo and leaked all over the adjacent records in your collection? What’s that? You haven’t checked your copy in a while? Off you go then… we’ll wait here. Hah! Only kidding. It just dried up didn’t it?
Or perhaps you recall the label’s final farewell release, also by Hyboid that included a “funeral invitation card”? Well 2016 sees the exhumation of this eccentric label with the warped sense of humor in what is hopefully the first of many new releases, Terrör of the Üniverse.
Hyboid always works best best when going for bombast and epic scale, and Terrör of the Üniverse opens impressively in exactly this style, with a sweeping synth epic filled with neon harmonics and glittering fanfares. The hi-NRG “Kingdom of the Laser Dwarves” follows and is easily the most killer track on show here. Hi-gloss arpeggios, pumping bass rhythms and tremolo heavy keys follow a bleep-bloop intro, but it’s all over far too soon. The combination of all these elements are heard for an all too brief moment at the tracks triumphant conclusion.
“Marauder Joe’s Adventures in Space” features lush pads, woozy theremin melodies and fantastically retro snares, there’s Popcorn keys in “Toxic Avenger Vs. Marshmallow Man” and a glitzy, seventies disco funk workout in “High Gloss Universe”. There’s excess aplenty on Terrör of the Üniverse too, as “The Loneliness Of The Turbo Racer” takes oscillations to hilarious, warbling extremes, “Cosmo Speedrun” ups the BPM to ludicrous speed and a “Vohaul’s Funhouse” spirals into burping, spring-loaded, 8-bit bleeptronic nonsense.
The only places where the album doesn’t quite work is when Hyboid tries to slow things to mid-tempo, which is a shame as the album closes with two such tracks. As pretty as the sound-palette on “Starfighter Romance” and “Lament For My Eta Carinae” is, the melodies are just a little off, and they just don’t quite engage in quite the same way, ending the album in atypical and slightly disaffecting fashion.
Nevertheless, Hyboid has most definitely leveled up countless times since those last Astro Chicken releases in 2011, and Terrör of the Üniverse is easily the most complete, expansive and glossily produced Hyboid record to date.
Hubert has always chosen to go the vinyl route, which makes sense given the analog and/or 80’s tinged output the label curates, and Terrör of the Üniverse is no exception appearing on double 180g purple vinyl. The sci-fi and computer game references extend to the full-color sleeve artwork featuring an image with heavily over-gradient filled text and 80’s outer-space grids and laser blasts which is also reproduced in the package on a giant A1 poster.
Terrör of the Üniverse is available on Astro Chicken.